Gambia: Former CBG Governor Amadou Colley Banned From Holding Public Office for Life

The Gambia Government Friday morning accepted the Janneh Commission recommendation for former Governor of the Central Bank Amadou Colley to be banned from holding public office for the remainder of his life.

This decision by the Barrow Administration is contained in the Government's White Paper which was released to the media on Friday.

The Government said: "Government accepts the Commission's recommendation that Mr Amadou Colley should not serve in any public office again or be appointed as Director for any State Owned Enterprise for at least ten (10) years. Mr Amadou Colley is hereby banned from holding public office for the remainder of his life. He is also banned from holding any director positions in any State-Owned Enterprises in The Gambia for twenty (20) years from the date of publication of this White Paper. The monies shall be recovered from the assets of former President Jammeh."

Mr. Amadou Colley started his career at the Gambia Commercial and Development Bank as a Junior Officer until 1985. He was appointed auditor at the National Audit Office in 1989; Office Account at the Central Bank in 1992; Assistant Director in December 2005; Director of Banking Department in 2006; and then Governor of the Central Bank from December 2010 to May 2017.

The Central Bank is the sole banker of the Government and the principal depository bank for all the funds raised for or on behalf of Government.

According to the Commission, the Governor is responsible for managing the Affairs of the Bank. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors; adding the Board is responsible for the observance of the objects of the Bank and its general administration and formulates policies necessary for the achievement of the objects of the Bank. The Commission noted that by Section 161 (5) of the 1997 Constitution, the Central Bank shall ensure that all withdrawals from the various accounts are properly authorized in accordance with the Constitution and any Act of the National Assembly. As the Governor of the Bank, Mr. Colley's primary duty was to uphold and enforce the provisions of the Constitution.

The Commission found, inter alia, that former President Jammeh operated 18 accounts at the Central Bank. The Commission also found that Mr. Colley, as Governor, presided over a Central Bank that allowed it to become involved in financial dealings of former President Jammeh to the extent where he facilitated direct access to Government funds in the custody of the Bank.

The Commission found that former President Jammeh was allowed by Mr Colley to withdraw cash without following any procedure.

The Commission said: "He allowed monies to be withdrawn from accounts at the Bank sometimes without receiving any direct authorization from former President Jammeh. Many of the demands for payment were by SMS text messages sent to Mr Colley's cell phone to facilitate withdrawals for General Sulayman Badjie who was allowed to withdraw millions of Dollars from accounts without any authorization from the signatories. "

According to the Commission, some instructions to the Central Bank were written on plain paper requesting for cash payments to be made purportedly on the order of former President Jammeh. Headings stating "Request for Payment" or "Payment Certificate" were indicated on the plain paper, signed by the recipient of the physical cash and a Bank official. Individuals were paid monies using this practice of writing on plain paper, the Commission said.

The Commission also found that Mr. Amadou Colley was in constant touch with General Saul Badjie over withdrawals of monies and text messages indicate that they had a close relationship. "In one of the messages, Mr Colley was expressing appreciation to General Saul Bajie for his support on his reappointment as Governor."

The Government said in the White Paper that it has accepted the findings of the Commission in so far as they relate to Mr Amadou Colley. Accordingly, the Government accepted the recommendations of the Commission that Mr Amadou Colley is jointly and severally liable for all the monies withdrawn by or on the instruction of former President Jammeh and General Sulayman Badjie in breach of the Bank's procedures.

The Government noted that Mr Colley's actions and behaviour fell far short of the standards expected of the most senior member of the Central Bank of The Gambia. as the person ultimately in charge of the Bank, he showed no resistance to the incessant demands for money from former President Jammeh and this might have actually encouraged more demands from the latter.

" Mr Colley's conduct was utterly despicable and an economic crime of the most heinous type. His conduct allowed former President Jammeh to rob this country off monies that could have been used for vital social services."

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