Since 2011, Guaranty Trust Bank has been receiving payment of taxes and custom duties on behalf of GRA and in turn will pay the cash collected to the Central Bank cashiers. This is not the first time that Yahya Jammhe’s government diverted government revenues to Guaranty Trust Bank where Mr. Amadou Samba is the Chairman and Jammeh is reportedly one of the shareholders (obviously hiding behind his business partner).
In 2004, Jammeh’s government entered into agreement with the Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to collect on its behalf Airport Development Levy fees that were billed in foreign currencies. This gave GT Bank a window of opportunity to make as much as profit as possible in the forex trading.
It is not surprising therefore that by making GT Bank agent of revenue collection for GRA, its operating profits was significantly increased given that the monthly revenues GRA generates in respect of taxes and custom duties can be in excess of D700 million per month. After 3 years of exclusively according the GT Bank this facility, GRA started bringing in other commercial banks to legitimize this illegal financial arrangement.
Apart from the accounting challenges of diverting GRA revenues away from the government accounts at the Central Bank, the need for a clean and accurate reconciliation exercise is always a problem with the staff at the accounting unit. Also, the timing of recognizing government revenues at the material time is proving a disaster. As at today, most of the revenues received at the end of the 2016 year, is still not yet paid to the central bank and therefore not yet posted in the accounting books of the government.
It is hope that with the appointment of a new experienced Finance Minister, this bad financial agreement will be discarded immediately and very soon government will start to realize significant boost in its tax and custom duty revenues. Not only that but what would stop the commercial banks to receive these moneys and lending it back to government as loans through the buying of Treasury Bills? No wonder that today GT Bank has become one of the largest and most profitable banks in the country since it started operation in 2002.
So when Mr. Amadou Samba said that he ‘manages Jammeh’ many people were confused as to how a prominent businessman can manage the president of the Republic. Well, I believe those with informed opinion would now know what Mr. Samba was really talking about.
Written By An Insider