Tens of millions of dollars have been withdrawn from the Gambia’s Central Bank by former President Yahya Jammeh and his top aides without proper signatures, the Commission of Inquiry has found.
Jammeh and his former chiefs of staff, protocol officers, military generals and permanent secretaries were writing instructions for the withdrawals of millions on papers without even letterheads.
The handwritten notes were tendered to senior officials at the Central Bank, who immediately execute orders to give Jammeh’s minions tens of millions of dollars at a time.
The Commission of Inquiry is now trying to find out if all the monies that were withdrawn on hand written notes actually went to the ex-leader or were diverted by his aides.
The power vacuum left by Jammeh after his departure was exploited to withdraw the last of millions in the Central Bank with the help of his powerful associates in the government, some of whom are still serving the Barrow administration.
Commission of Inquiry is now probing to determine the people that took part in the withdrawal of millions on January 21, the morning before Jammeh left and on January 23, just two days after he reached his safe haven in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow has fired the Governor of the Central Bank, Amadou Colley, and three other senior bank officials in May.
Barrow is yet to comment on the reasons behind the firings of Mr. Colley, his two deputies and the bank’s director of finance. He is trying to replace Jammeh’s men in many institutions, where their presence can still be felt.
Commissioners at the Janneh Commission have expressed concerns about the lack of due diligence on the part of the Central Bank, the body responsible for ensuring that commercial banks follow financial regulations.
Commercial banks were Jammeh hid taxpayers’ monies are found not to have followed withdrawal procedures. Jammeh’s associates were allowed to withdraw millions from the banks in cash and walk out.