The Central Bank of The Gambia has written to commercials banks in the country instructing them to transfer all unclaimed funds to it effective May 31. According to sources at the bank, a new account was created there (Central Bank) in May for this purpose. The account name and number those sources have confirmed are: Deposit Insurance Scheme-Unclaimed and 2101000475 respectively.
This account was opened following a directive from The Gambian Dictator Yahya Jammeh Faturadio has gathered.
A dormant or an unclaimed account is an account that has shown no activity for ten years. According to sources, the current rules are that after this period, the commercial bank in which the account is held can recognize the funds as its own income after securing an approval from Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs through The Central bank. This new directive therefore undoes the provision that makes the commercial banks the custodians of these accounts and instead transfers that ownership to the Central Bank. Here is the kicker – because this is a huge income base for the commercial banks, observers have opined that it will have huge financial implications for them. It will in essence represent a huge financial loss. It is therefore no surprise that these commercial banks are quietly grumbling and crying foul.
What the Gambia Government is engaging in here is called “escheating” an account, which is the process in which banks are required to turn over funds of the inactive accounts to the state treasury. Once the account is sent to the state, the funds are held as unclaimed property. Observers have noted that this whole exercise will prove interesting and expose itself for what it is – yet another scheme by Yaya Jammeh to fleece and rob innocent Gambians of their hard earned moneys, when the actual owner of an account comes forward to claim his/her money. That process it is observed has been purposely left unclear and the Central Bank would only say that it can be done by submitting a claim form along with the necessary identification from the account holder or their next of kin. That is suspect because if that were the case, why make that process cumbersome by taking it through the Central Bank and not leave it to commercial banks as they have always done. The goal it seems is to frustrate the process so as to give the government an excuse to keep the money for when Yaya Jammeh needs it for his personal use. As broke as Yaya is these days, and as criminal as he is, this will come as no surprise to Gambians. The broad day light robbery of The Gambians continues. Below we produce the letter sent to commercial banks.