By Tabora Bojang
The governor of the Central Bank has said he will resign if claims that over D155 million of mutilated notes had surreptitiously entered the bank, are found to be true.
A letter from barrister Lamin Ceesay of Solie Chambers to Abdou Ceesay, a staff of the bank, which surfaced online last weekend, alleged that one Ansumana Bah had handed over D155 million to Mr Ceesay in exchange for new notes.
The lawyer’s letter which was shared with the governor, demanded Ceesay return the money as well as an D11 million bribe paid to him for distribution among the bank staff involved in the supposed illicit exchange.
Earlier this week, police issued a statement claiming the allegations were part of an elaborate scam.
Governor Buah Saidy told journalists yesterday that the reputation of the bank at is stake.
He stated: “Our reputation is our biggest asset. If people come to know that this bank is not trustworthy, no one will come near us. Whether Abdou [Ceesay] is our staff or not is immaterial to us. It is the soul of the Central Bank that is at stake and this is why we are taking the allegations seriously and anyone found wanting will face the full force of the law.
“This bank has undergone different troubles. The bank was dragged through the Janneh Commission and we cleaned its name. There was an incident during the governorship of Momodou Clark Bajo when line managers were all dismissed and the bank went through that hurdle and cleansed its name and now this unfortunate thing is coming but we know the bank is innocent. I am a responsible person and my integrity matters to me. If D155 million as alleged has entered CBG, I will resign from my job as a practising Muslim, billahi wallahi, tallahi. I am not desperate for this job and I have my principles. People who know me know that I have principles. If it turns out that Abdou is not in this, we will fight to clear our name at the courts and if he [Abdou] is innocent and these people were only accusing the Central Bank to stain it, we will take action against them.”
He revealed that the CBG board has sent Abdou Ceesay on an administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Ceesay was a former deputy director at the forex department before he was moved to the currency management department as officer-in-charge.
According to Governor Saidy, he was out of town when the letter and a flash drive were sent from Solie Chambers to CBG on 10th February.
He explained that following his resumption at work on 14th February he convened an emergency meeting the following day in line with the bank’s service rules.
“We called Abdou and asked him about the allegation and he categorically denied it. We also wrote to him to explain everything he knows and he responded. After that we issued a press statement and sent the flash drive and the letter to the IGP to investigate,” he added.
He disclosed that the board also directed for a committee to be set up in the bank to further investigate the matter.
According to him the flash drive allegedly contained audios and other alleged evidences claimed by the complainant.
Governor Saidy further claimed that the bank’s internal monetary security measures were fully in place and that it would be “mind boggling” for anyone to change D155 million into new notes without anybody knowing about it for about a year.
IGP Abdoulie Sanyang who attended the press briefing said the police have listened to several audios contained in the flash drive but could not establish that the voices were Abdou Ceesay’s.
He insisted that preliminary investigations by the police revealed that the allegations are a scam. He has however failed to provide the names and identities of the alleged scammers.