By Amadou Jadama
A former branch manager of Zenith Bank in Serekunda has told a high court that Lawyer Sheriff Tambadou asked her to open a bank account for his client Banta Keita in 2016 in his (Keita’s) absence.
Aminata Bah was testifying as 10th prosecution witness before Justice ZN Mboob at the high court in Mile 7 in the ongoing criminal trial of Banta Keita and Sheriff Njie.
Asked by State Counsel Muhammed B Sowe if she remembered when Banta Keita opened an account, the witness replied: “In January 2016, I received a call from uncle, Lawyer Sheriff Tambadou, to open an account for Banta and I took a form to his office in Banjul and I left it there. Later, he called me to go and collect the form. While I was in his office, I asked him about Banta Keita; whether he was here and he replied in the affirmative. Thereafter, I told him that I wanted to see him and he responded that it would not be a problem.”
She continued: “He gave me all the required documents – ID card, TIN certificate, two passport size photos and a reference and the form was signed by Lawyer Sheriff Tambadou. He told me to open an account and the money will be fixed there. The account was opened. So later, the deposits were made at our branch in Banjul. First one was D2.4 million; second one was D1.3 million; third one D2.3 million; fourth one was D420,000; and the last deposit was D50,000. These happened in January 2016 on the 8th, 11th, 12th and 15th.”
Ms Bah told the court that the total deposits were D6.5 million for the year.
“[Later on] we received an instruction from Uncle Sheriff to move the money from Banta’s account to his account,” she told the court.
Lawyer MB Sowe further quizzed her whether she knew Banta. The witness replied in negative, saying that she has never met him.
The counsel further put it to her that the rules of the Central Bank of The Gambia stated that before a banker opens an account for someone, the banker must see the person.
Ms Bah concurred, stating: “Yes, you must see the person and that was why I went to Uncle Sheriff and I trusted him because he is a lawyer and he told me that Banta was his client,” the witness told the court.
The case has been adjourned to 20th and 21st December for continuation of testimonies.