On Thursday 17th February, 2022, the Police Force through its Fraud Investigation Unit opened a swift probe into alleged D155 million mutilated Banki notes cash deposited at the Central Bank with further allegation of D11.1 million bribe scandal paid to named Central Bank staff.
The premises of the above allegation is informed by a letter dated 10th feb. 2021 addressed to one Abdou Ceesay working with the Central Bank.
The letter among other things alleged that D155 million was given to one Abdou Ceesay of the Central Bank by one Pa Ceesay to swap into new dalasi notes.
The letter further alleged that D11.1 million was paid as bribe money to Abdou Ceesay and a list of other enablers within and outside the bank.
Contrary to content of the report followed by subsequent social media publication going viral in the public domain, preliminary police investigation uncovered the following:
1. In early 2021, Ansumana Bah and others had an encounter with an organized criminal group who encouraged them to form up a charitable organization in order for them to access funding from certain unnamed philanthropist from outside the country.
2. To avoid missing the opportunity, they quickly formed “Jamma Charitable Foundation”
3. Apparently, they were made to believe by the fraudsters that the Charitable Organization had secured funding amounting to £2.5 million from a philanthropist in UK to commence charitable operation in the Gambia.
4. The fraudsters claimed that the said funds were smuggled into the country and put in boxes and kept safely in one of the houses of the partners turned scammers for a long period.
5. The foundation members were informed by the fraudsters that the pounds were converted into local currencies equivalent to D155 million partly mutilated which needed to be changed to new notes at the Central Bank.
6. The fraudsters further made them to believe without seeing that changing or swapping the funds required payment of a certain amount as bribe money to some role players at the bank through one Abdou Ceesay.
7. They [ Ansumana and co.] were further lured into paying D11.1 million as bribe money to fast track the alleged swapping
8. They were promised a returned of good chunk of the money if they succeed with the swap deal at Central Bank.
9. The scammers provided some names of Central Bank staff including Abdou Ceesay to Ansumana and co. as part of the beneficiaries to the claimed bribe money.
10. Preliminary police investigation discovered that all the above revelations were false and deliberately made to lure Ansumana and co. to pay monies to the scammers in relations to their ill-intended scam.
11. It was established that the fraudsters succeeded in convincing Ansumana and co. in establishing a foundation called “Jamma Charitable Foundation” purposely to extort money from its members.
12. Ansumana Bah claimed that during the period, he and his colleagues raised about D4 million as their contribution towards the bribe money.
13. He raised his funds through the sales of his landed property, assets and credit from families and friends to meet cost of the swap as requested by the fraudsters.
14. Furthermore, they were made to believe that the other party (scammers) were going to contribute towards the payment of the bribe money.
15. Neither Ansumana nor other foundation members did visit the Central Bank during the period of the transaction.
16. It was also established that Ansumana Bah and the foundation members never interacted with any of the named Central Bank staff.
17. However, investigation revealed that some of these scammers were the same people posing as bank staff to win the minds of the foundation members.
18. The police are currently perusing all possible clues to expose the truth and nab those responsible for these dubious activities.
19. It is clear from facts gathered that neither Ansumana nor any of the foundation members had seen the £ 2.5 million nor the D155 million during the course of the entire transaction.
20. Rather, they were only banking on statements made by the scammers.
21. On the other hand, peddling unfounded claims as given above are common attributes of fraudsters principally meant to entice their targeted victim.
22. Meanwhile, it is worth mentioning that Ansumana Bah is cooperating in helping the police to get to the bottom of the case.
23. The office of the Inspector General of police wishes to once again assure the general public of its open door policy.
24. Members of the media fraternity are also encouraged to always verify matters with the Press and Public Relations Unit for ease of clarity.