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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Ex-Access bank staff accused of stealing over D21 million testifies

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By Binta A Bah

Former Access Bank Gambia Limited employee, who is accused of stealing over twenty-one million dalasi alongside a co-worker, has told a high court judge that he was nominated by the bank to attend a training in Dakar only to be arrested by the Senegalese police on allegations of theft.

Momodou Jallow, who was giving evidence in his defence, said he and the 1st accused Sarjo Corr were arrested in a hostel in Dakar by security officers who were escorted by one Pape Yama Jobe, a driver with the Access Bank.

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The two men, who were working at the bank’s branch in Barra, were arrested in Senegal and put on trial at the high court in Banjul on 18 charges of money laundering, fraudulent accounting and destroying evidence. The 1st accused had already given evidence in his defence.

According to Jallow, he got a confirmation letter from Depo Adeppoji, chief operating officer at the Access bank to attend a training in Dakar, adding that it was given to him by Omar Sonko, a cash collector from the Kairaba branch who was at the Barra branch to collect cash.

On that particular, he said cash was taken out of the vault which was later confirmed by Omar before it was put in cash shipment bags later packed into a waiting vehicle. He said since it was on a Friday Corr joined Omar and the escorting police officer to the Kombos.

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Jallow said on the following Monday, he met Corr at the border in Karan while he was on his way to Dakar to attend the training scheduled to take place between the 31st August to the 4th September. He said they stayed in the same room when they arrived in Dakar but Corr informed him in the morning that the training has been postponed.

“At night, while I was asleep, the 1st accused woke me up informing me that he was stepping down to buy credit. He told me that he will lock the door from the outside because he wouldn’t want to disturb me when he returned,” Jallow told the court.

“In the following morning, 1st accused told me he has been communicating with Depo and they were coming to pick us from the hostel. Few minutes later, I saw the 1st accused waving from the balcony and informed me they were here. When I attempted to go down the stairs to welcome them, he said he has already given them the room number,” he said adding that when he opened the door, the Bank’s driver, Pape Yama and some officers including Senegalese and Gambian police officers marched into the room.

He said he enquired what was going on but Pape Yama told him ‘don’t be stupid’. He alleged the officers searched his bag but no money was found but to his surprise, some US dollar and CFA note were found in Corr’s bag. He said Corr at that point informed him that he got the money from Pape Yama the previous night he stepped out to buy credit.

According to Jallow, they were then handcuffed and taken to Senegalese police headquarters. He said there was no search in the room while they were all there. Later in the night he said they were taken to the Senegalese police center to spend the night and were escorted to the Karan border on the following day where he met Depo who took his confirmation letter from the fraud officer that helped the Senegalese officers to arrest them.

However, Jallow said he had taken a photo of the confirmation letter and it’s stored in his phone seized by the fraud officers at the time of his arrest.

He accused officers of the fraud office of asking him to withdraw his statement. He said the officers told him that it was favorable to them telling him to write what they dictate to him.

Trial continues

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