The Director General of The Gambia Revenue Authority Yankuba Darboe says no money was stolen during the break-in, which occurred at the GRA offices this past Thursday in Banjul. “As far we know, we do not keep money in the safe. At our level, officers don’t deal with money. The structure with GRA is such that we have the Department called Department of Finance and Accounting and Department of Finance and Accounting deals with the money issues, the cash that are received, and in addition to that, we have MOU with a lot of commercial banks, we have four banks that are here within the GRA building, so any cash that is collected is taken to the commercial banks and these monies are transferred to the Central Bank,” DG Darboe told Freedom Newspaper in a phone interview.
“Maybe those who are trying to break GRA’s office, they maybe trying to look for money, they attacked the wrong place because in this day and age, we will not use our offices to keep revenue money here. Like I said, we have an MOU with a lot of commercial banks that are here, most of these banks have their offices inside the GRA here, so, the payment happened, they collect these monies and they don’t spend the night here. So, the information I have whoever is coming over, or intend to come to look for money, you are going for the wrong place because we don’t keep money in the offices here,” he added.
His Deputy’s office Essa Jallow was burglarized. His television set, desktop computer, plus the safe that is in the office for his personal items were all stolen by the thieves.
DG Darboe said it was raining when the thieves broke into the GRA office. He said PIU officers and the security guards were on duty when the thieves entered the building through and broke into the window of one of the offices. He added that the thieves entered the building unnoticed by the guards on duty.
“It was raining when they entered the building through the back. They broke one of the windows. A knife with a blood stain was left behind. They also left a bag behind. I don’t know how the blood stains came from,” Darboe remarked.
When asked what kind of information was stored in the stolen computer, Darboe said the stolen desktop had taxpayers database.
“This is the software we have; we are using it to do the collections. It contains taxpayers information,” Darboe remarked. He said the police are helping them to track down the alleged thieves.
Darboe said he and his management have been interviewed by the police. “I was the one, who reported the matter to the IGP. The investigations are ongoing. The guards who were on duty have been interviewed by the police.”
He has denied that the break-in was an inside job. He says the thieves responsible for the theft are on the police’s radar.
Mr. Darboe has thanked the Freedom Editor for contacting his Department to get their own side of the story. “This is what we expect from any responsible journalist. We are preparing a press release, which would be sent to you as well,” he said.