By Mustapha Jallow
Detectives of the Serious Crime Unit (SCU) of the Gambia Police Force (GPF) have commenced investigations into an alleged fraud involving internal staff of Vista Bank and Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), the Deputy Spokesperson of the police said on Monday.
“I can confirm this story as true. There is a suspected fraud case involving officials of GPA and Vista Bank, and there is ongoing investigation into this case,’’ remarked Cadet/ASP Muhammed Y. Darboe, the Deputy Spokesperson of the police.
The police confirmation arose when a source very familiar with the matter told Foroyaa that officials of the GPA were recently invited for questioning by police investigators at the police headquarters in Banjul.
At least six (6) Vista Bank cheques seen by this paper show that the withdrawals were D610,000, D160,00, D621,000, D600,000, D300,000, D300,000, which is totalling to an amount of D2,591,000. These withdrawals were made on different dates through alleged forged signatures of GPA officials.
According to the source, the alleged fraud was carried out by staff who had allegedly forged both signatures of GPA’s Finance Director and the Deputy Director to cash-out over two million five hundred and ninety-one thousand dalasi (D2,591,000).
Narrating how it all started, the source said GPA had a Current Account with Vista Bank, formerly known as FIB, from which the GPA pays their suppliers and make other miscellaneous payments. During the reconciliation from April 2022, the source added, the GPA officials noticed that there were certain dubious transactions, which did not emanate from GPA and were debited from the account, adding that this was noticed through the GPA Bank Statement.
According to the source, the matter was reported to the office of the GPA’s Managing Director. Subsequently, it said the matter was further reported to the Vista-Bank itself.
“They (Vista-Bank) came to the GPA, where they met with the Managing Director of GPA and the Finance Director. After their mission to GPA, the bank decided to report the matter to the police,’’ said the source.
However, when the matter was reported at the Serious Crime Unit of the Police, the source added that both the Finance Director at GPA and his Deputy were invited for questioning.
“Police investigators were able to obtain statements from both the Director of Finance and his Deputy. The Cashier Manager of GPA was also questioned by investigators,’’ the source explained.
According to the source, the Cash Manager was detained by investigators after questioning him and was held for 3 days before being granted bail and asked to be reporting on bail.
Meanwhile, the source further disclosed that the alleged bank staff involved were arrested by the police. However, the source could not confirm whether the staff of the bank are still in custody or not.
As investigations continue, Foroyaa will speak to Vista Bank to hear from their side of the story.