Gambia’s apex bank assures commercial banks will not be harmed by the implementation of Janneh Commission recommendation.
The Gambian authorities have placed a temporary restriction on assets of private banks including Guaranty Trust Bank and Trust Bank Limited for their alleged complicity in the looting of state resources by former president Yahya Jammeh.
The Commission of inquiry that investigated the financial transactions of the Jammeh and his associates said the private banks have overlooked banking regulations and they have “aided” and “abetted” Jammeh’s grant theft.
Both banks denied any wrong doing. The Guaranty Trust Bank has issued a statement on Monday calling the finding of the Commission “erroneous”. The Bank assured its customers that businesses will not be disrupted because of the lien placed on their properties by the authorities.
The Trust Bank also issued a statement saying it will challenge the decision of the Commission in court. “It is important to point out that the indictment of Trust Bank in the Janneh Commission report is more or less an allegation which we intend to challenge vigorously before a competent court. It would therefore be unprofessional to comment on the matter at this time prior to a decision being made,” said the Trust Bank.
“A lien shall be immediately placed on the properties of the following persons until further notice: Amadou Samba; Tarek Musa; Fadi Mazegi; Illija Reymond; Martin Keller; Nicolae Buziainu; Dragos Buziainu; Ali Youssef Sharara; Woreh Njie Ceesay; Tony Ghattas; Feryale Diab Ghanem; Trust Bank Ltd; Guaranty Trust Bank (Gambia) Ltd and M.A. Kharafi and Sons,” said Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou last week.
A lien is a form of security interest granted over an item of property to secure the payment of a debt or performance of some other obligation. The Government released it plan of action with the investigation report last week Monday.
“The Central Bank of the Gambia is hereby requested to calculate all income earned by GTB from these accounts and refund same to the State. Additionally, the Central Bank is requested to impose punitive fines against GTB for failure to comply with anti-money laundering legislation, in addition to a fine of D1, 000, 000 imposed by the Commission for the bank charges and other benefits they derived from these illegal transactions,” stated the Government White Paper.
The Trust Bank faces similar charges. Also fined to pay one million dalasis is Skype Bank. These fines were to be implemented by the central Bank.
After the release of the Government report, many analysts worry that the fines against the banks many cause a banking panic.
“Volume 9 of the report mandates the Central Bank of The Gambia to implement recommendations relating to the banking sector. The implementation of the said recommendations would not adversely affect the strong financial position of the banks,” said the Central Bank.
“The Central Bank wishes to inform the general public that the banking sector is well capitalized and adequately profitable.
“The Bank assures the general public and bank customers in particular that their funds are safe.
“The banking sector remains safe, sound and stable. There is no cause for alarm. Customers are urged to continue their normal banking transactions as usual.”