By Mustapha Jallow
Muhammad Njie, the Managing Director of National Food Security Processing and Marketing Corporation formerly Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC), on Thursday said the money stolen from a secco by armed robbers is not significant.
The armed robbery took place at Bakalaar secco in Upper Nuimi District, North Bank Region (NBR) on Tuesday night of December 21, 2021 and fled with cash.
He made this statement while clarifying issues surrounding the D700, 000, which reports claimed to have been robbed by armed men on Tuesday night.
“I know you have seen conflicting reports about the robbery. But D700, 000 was initially deposited and most of it has been spent. So, I think what was taken so far is not significant enough. I don’t want to go into figures because the police are investigating,” GGC boss said this at his office in Banjul, after reporters engaged him on the recent attack of a secco.
“Now we have given it (D700, 000) to AGIB (Arab Gambia Islamic Bank). It is also AGIB’s responsibility to recover the stolen money,” Mr Njie told the press.
According to him, the reason GGC partnered with AGIB was to facilitate payment to farmers. He said the attack was an eye-opener for them, saying they will discuss with AGIB officials in terms of security so that they can engage the security apparatus to help in securing the seccos.
“But I also know that each secco has a security personnel that is paid by AGIB or secco managers,” Njie said. “So far, what we have deposited in the bank is almost D159, 000, 000 this year.”
Njie further said the bank has to provide logistics at all times when transporting cash, saying it is risky to move huge amounts of money because there are security implications. He said the bank has provided savers where the monies are stored, but usually, they do not keep huge amounts of money in the seccos.
“They go with only limited [money] that they can use to buy the nuts on a daily basis. If there is any balance, they are kept in the savers until the next day,” Njie explained.
Meanwhile, Njie said the 2021 trade season farm gate price for a ton is pegged at D28, 000. This was described by farmers as a welcome move from the government.
Nonetheless, an AGIB representative, president of the secco and a watchman are presently under police custody, according to a recent report of this paper.