The Director General of The Gambia Revenue Authority Yankuba Darboe, on Thursday made a disturbing revelation before the Commission of Inquiry probing into the dictator Yahya Jammeh’s former government financial activities by testifying that it was not normal for GRA collected taxes to be deposited to two leading private banks: Trust Bank Gambia Limited, and the Guaranty Trust Bank. Mr. Darboe, who was led into evidence by Commission member Amie Bensouda said, he as the GRA boss was not involved in the opening of the two accounts. He also said he doesn’t know the signatories of the Trust Bank and Guaranty Bank accounts. Neither did he know the people who made withdrawals from the said accounts.
Mr. Darboe said the State House under dictator Yahya Jammeh came with the idea to divert GRA collected tax funds to the accounts at the Trust Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank. He said his Department had no involvement in the opening of the said accounts.
“ GRA was not involved in the opening of the accounts and their operations, or withdrawals. We do not know who the signatories associated with the accounts were,” Darboe said.
” It is not normal. Any revenue we collect we have an account at the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG). If it is international trade, an account has been opened at the CBG, in the name of the Commissioner General. There is also a domestic account at the CBG for the GRA. Any other account open outside the CBG is not normal,” he added.
The GRA Director General said some of the local banks had a memorandum of understanding with the nation’s main tax administration to allow tax payers to deposit monies owed to the GRA, to said banks, for upward transfer to the GRA accounts at the Central Bank. He said the bank transfers normally take less than a week for the CBG to receive the deposited funds.
Commissioner Amie Bensouda, who was onetime indicted by the Tax Commission for owing over D6 million dalasis in taxes to the state, confronted Mr. Darboe to shed light on the tax commission initiated by the former Jammeh government. The Chairman of the Commission Suharate Janneh, was also indicted by the Tax Commission report referenced by Ms. Bensouda.
In response, Mr. Darboe said, the findings of the said commission was disputed by some of the defaulters, which led to the revisiting of the commission’s findings. He said a tax force was set up by the Ministry of Justice to revisit the commission’s findings. He said his office had nothing to do with the government’s instruction for tax defaulters to make payments at Trust Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank.
“We have no hands to do with that. It was set up by the office of the president and the AG Chambers. Due to the complains of the people who were called to the commission, the ministry of justice ordered for a review. My office was asked to provide expertise. Malick Yabo was appointed to lead the task force. We were informed that an account was open for tax defaulters to pay. An account was open at GTB. We were never involved in the opening of the two accounts. We do not know the signatories associated with the accounts,” he said.
Written By A Staff Writer