Banker narrates incident involving finance director
Abdoulie Saidykhan, a branch manager of Vista Bank Brikama Branch, yesterday testified before the Local Government Commission of Inquiry (LGCI) at the Djembe Hotel in Bijilo. Mr Saidykhan narrated an incident involving Basse Area Council’s financial director.
His hearing session commenced with the admission of his written statement into evidence by the Commission.
In his evidence, he said he knows Basse Area Council’s Director of Finance Lamin Suso Saidykhan, before he proceeded to narrate two incidents where the latter came to the Vista Bank Branch to carry out financial transactions for the Basse Area Council.
On the first transaction, the witness said Lamin Suso withdrew D141,000 from the Basse Area Council account. On the second transaction, the witness said Suso came with a D50,000 cheque to make a withdrawal from the council’s account.
He added that as the process of withdrawal was pending, the bank received a call from CEO Ousman Touray of the Basse Area Council, claiming that he did not authorise the withdrawal.
“The CEO of Basse Area Council called the bank after receiving the SMS alert, informing us that he cannot remember signing the cheque,” the witness said.
The witness enunciated that the call from the CEO of Basse Area Council was made to the Relationship manager, who in turn related the information to him (the branch manager), adding that this was how he came to the teller instructing them to stop the payment to Lamin Suso.
“At the time, the money was already debited from the account and the CEO already received the SMS, but the cash was not given to Mr Suso at the time,” Mr Saidykhan testified.
He explained that the transaction was terminated and the bank system reversed it.
“When I told him [Lamin Suso] to call the second signatory, he left,” he narrated, adding CEO Ousman Touray later came to the Brikama Branch to request the cheque that Suso brought but was told it was given back to Suso.
“The CEO came purposefully to collect the D50,000 cheque. I told him that we gave the cheque to Lamin Suso,” the witness said.
He informed the Commission that CEO Touray also claimed that he could not remember signing the D141,000 cheque withdrawal. The witness said he conducted a search in the archives and traced the transactions, adding the transaction for the D141,000 was made on 22 September 2022.
“He [CEO Touray] told me that the signature on top of the cheque is his, but he cannot verify the one below. He said it looks similar to his signature,” the witness said.
He testified that he asked the CEO why he did not make the query after receiving the SMS alert. But the CEO did not answer and later left.
“At what point do you conduct verification?” Lawyer Patrick Gomez asked.
“At the teller point,” the witness answered.
The witness stressed that verification with the account holder is done when the amount is above fifty thousand dalasis (D50,000).
He told the Commission that verification was held in the D50,000 transaction. Although he seemed uncertain, he testified that verification must have been made for the D141,000 transaction, as he told the Commission that the head of operations calls any account holder transactions above 50,000.
Source: The Point