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Politics: The freezing of Alhagie Conteh’s Dabanani Electrical Bloom Bank Account

Updated: Oct 26, 2021

Information reaching GunjurOnline indicates that Alhagie Conteh’s bank account with Bloom Bank has been frozen. The circumstances and reasons behind this act were sketchy as information trickled in. Unconfirmed reports on social media revealed that the IGP was instructed to freeze Conteh’s account from an executive directive. However, under Gambian law, the police have no such powers to directly freeze private or business bank accounts without court order, and certainly the executive cannot direct this. The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) does have the power to apply to the courts to freeze accounts that may be under investigations for whatever reason, and these sanctions usually last for 30 days. When contacted to establish the facts surrounding the freezing of Alhagie Conteh’s bank account, Police PRO Lamin Njie of Gambia Police told GunjurOnline that he is not aware of the said Alhagie Conteh being in trouble with the police that may warrant the “IGP to freeze his (Alhagie Conteh’s) bank accounts”. PRO Njie promised to do further findings on the veracity of the freezing of Alhagie Conteh’s bank accounts and revert. At the time of going to press, GunjurOnline has not received confirmation from the Police PRO. However, digging into the issue of the freezing of Dabanani Electrical’s bank account, this is what we know: Our findings revealed that Dabanani Electrical recently won an ECOWAS contract. An amount of $2 million was said to have been deposited in their bank account with newly established Bloom Bank in The Gambia. As it were, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) was notified of the large sum of money being deposited into the said account, perhaps due to political reasons, and then an investigation was mounted to establish the source of these funds. If indeed $2m was paid into Dabanani Electrical’s Bloom Bank account, it may legitimately trigger some form of investigation regarding to the source of the money. Given the amount involved, it stands to reason that Bloom Bank itself should have undertaken some sort of investigation and this may be as simple an enquiry as asking the account holder. Although we do not question government authority to act, the rule of law dictates that heightened sensitivity be exercised by the government in circumstances like this to avoid a needless crisis. Alhagie Conteh was a key financier of coalition 2016 and a major financial backer of main opposition party, United Democratic Party. Critics believe that the freezing of Alhagie Conteh’s Dabanani Electrical account is politically motivated due to his strong connections to the United Democratic Party. Has Alhagie Conteh and his Dabanai Electrical been targeted simply because of his open support and backing of the United Democratic Party? Is the government complicit in this because of political reasons? Your guess is as good as ours! Whatever the reasons behind the freezing of the bank accounts, the government owes Gambian people the truth and must come out to clear the air to dispel the speculations as to the exact reason why a bank account of a private business has been frozen.

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