By Baba Sillah
Amadou Colley, the former governor of Central Bank yesterday appeared before the Janneh Commission to give evidence with regard to the accounts that were opened and controlled by the office of the president at the Bank.
According to him, the Accountant General will normally make request for the opening of government accounts since the bank does not have a policy as how accounts should be opened and apart from the request from Accountant General, they do receive request from Ministry of Finance on some occasions.
He said the current policy of the bank does not comply with the old policies due to technology which has taken over the manual procedures.
Mr Colley however added that most of the accounts opened were based on the request from the Accountant General.
When asked about the opening of the sand mining account, he explained that the account was opened following a request from the office of the president to the bank which he said is irregular but because of the political situation at the time, their hands were tied and certain procedures were not followed in respect of the opening of the accounts requested by the office of the president without proper procedures.
“These procedures have been going on even before I was appointed. It is irrelevant to the CBG to ask for the purpose of the account opening request by the Accountant General since it falls within the realm of the government,” he explained, noting that payment should not be done without proper documentation.
He however acknowledged that he would authorise for payments and later make a follow up for proper documentation after receiving memos.
Mr Colley was asked to provide the commission with documents to substantiate his claims that withdrawals were based on instruction from certain individual from the office of the president without approval from the signatory to the account which he said has been in existence before his tenure. He however intimated to the counsel that he would not have access to such documents since he is no more the governor but the Counsel said the commission will provide access for him.
“For the past three years I was not able to meet the former President with regard to the withdrawals from these accounts without his approval. I was aware of the situation and I have been contemplating to resign but I did not write to the Minister of Finance because the situation at the time was abnormal and the interference of the former President,” Mr Colley told the commission.
Basirou Njie, former deputy governor Central Bank and Oumie Savage-Samba, the former second deputy governor also appeared before the commission
Karamo Jawara, principal banking officer, Central Bank of The Gambia re-appeared and gave final testimony on the accounts of Special Security, First Lady and Green Industries and Denomination Accounts respectively.