Seventeen persons, including four senior staff of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFKMC), have been indicted for allegedly designing a criminal syndicate that used fictitious identification cards and withdrew US$126,300.06 and LD$16,550,416.40 from the hospital’s account at the First International Bank (FIB).
They were said to have opened the account in the name of one John Freeman Kennedy and used that name to issue several checks to some of the co-defendants, Ballah Holmes and Jerry D. Morlu, who later withdrew the money.
At Saturday’s hearing at Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice, eight of the defendants were sent to the Monrovia Central Prison until a valid criminal appearance bond can be secured for their release.
They face a five count indictment, including economic sabotage, theft of property, money laundering and criminal conspiracy and facilitation, which is eligible for bail.
The defendants include Patrick Konuwa, former Accounts Officer; Boakai J. Varney, former Senior Budget and Accounts Officer; Arnous Rabeah, former IT and Database Supervisor; and Grace Dolly Jallah, former Executive Secretary to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Others are James Ricks, former Clearing Officer; Lethia W. Waleh, former Customer Service Officer, also of the First International Bank (FIB); Prince Jallah, former Hardware Technician of the IT Department of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL); Henry K. Sambolah, former Production Manager of the Women Voices Newspaper.
The rest are Fahn F. Borbor, alias John Fred Kennedy; Thomas G. Tellewoyan, alias John Franklin Kennedy, GIS Assistant – World Resource Institute; Jerry D. Morlu, Caretaker, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications; Ballah Holmes, Thomas Oliver Mezzeh, Benjamin Wlay Dargbe Jr., and the purported John Freeman Kennedy.
According to the indictment, between the period of March 2015 and January 2016, co-defendant Patrick Konuwa, facilitated by co-defendants Lethia Welah and James Ricks, caused two personal checking accounts to be opened at the First International Bank in the name of “John Freeman Kennedy,” where they used a fictitious identification card to open the said accounts for the purpose of depositing checks issued in the name of John F. Kennedy Medical Center.
The document further alleged codefendant Patrick Konuwa, on behalf of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, diverted and deposited US$5,000 and LD$15,774 into the accounts of the purported John Freeman Kennedy at the bank and thereafter withdrew the money from the said accounts through the issuance of several checks in the names the fictitious person John F. Kennedy, yet to be identified; codefendant Ballah Holmes; Jerry D. Morlu; and several others to be identified.
The indictment also said on August 28, 2015, co-defendant Lethia W. Waleh opened the first Liberian dollar checking account #00-101-018306-01 in the name of a yet to be identified co-defendant who purported to be “John Freeman Kennedy” without any deposit made to the account, using a fake and unsigned identification card, even though she knew and had every reason to know, that accounts could only be opened with valid photo identifications, such as passports, driver’s license, other government issued identification cards, or valid working identification cards; adding that Waleh created the opportunity for co-defendant Konuwa to defraud the hospital.
Co-defendant Waleh, the court document said, opened the second checking account # 00-112-018306-02, this time in United States dollars, in the name of John F. Kennedy without any deposit to the account, using the same fake and unsigned identification card.
Also, on October 1, 2015, and November 25, 2015, codefendant, Konuwa, intentionally signed for and received from the Ministry of Finance, government of Liberia Central Bank Check #0000579 in the amount of LD$6,989,266.80 and Check # 00001290 in the amount of LD$8,066,889.60, respectively, issued in the name of John F. Kennedy Medical Center, adding that with the help, assistance, and facilitation of codefendant James Ricks, Patrick Konuwa caused the two cheques to be deposited in Checking Account #00.101-018306-01 in the name of the purported John F. Kennedy held at First International Bank on October 2, 2015 and November 26, 2015 respectively.
Again, the indictment alleged codefendant Konuwa upon receipt of Checks # 0000579 in the amount of LD$6,989,266.80 and Check # 00001290 in the amount of LD$8,066,889.60 respectively, from the Ministry of Finance, initially took the checks to the John F. Kennedy Medical Center and his boss Mrs. Serina Gbaba had the checks endorsed at the back “For Deposit only into JFKMC LD Subsidy a/c # 01-206-300065-02 at the CBL.”
Gbaba gave the checks back to codefendant Konuwa to have same deposited in the John F. Kennedy Medical Center’s account at the Central Bank of Liberia.
Co-Defendant Konuwa submitted two Central Bank deposit slips to Alice Seyon, Central Cashier, JFKMC, which was later discovered to be fictitious, suggesting/indicating that the two checks had been deposited in the John F. Kennedy Medical Center’s account at the Central Bank of Liberia, and the said amounts were posted in the Quick Books account system at JFKMC as though the amounts were deposited in the JFK Medical Center’s account, even though codefendant Konuwa knew that the checks were never deposited in the JFKMC account at CBL, but rather in the “John F. Kennedy” Liberian dollars personal checking account #00.101-018306-01 at FIB.
That also on October 16, 2015, and December 22, 2015, respectively, the court records claimed Konuwa received two checks on behalf of the JFKMC, one from Secure Risk, LBDI check #00054390 for LD$751,760.00 issued to the hospital and the other from Medicare Insurance, Check # 218141 for US$5,000.00, of which he never informed JFKMC of receiving the checks, and never delivered them to the John F. Kennedy Medical Center.
Instead, codefendant Patrick Konuwa retained the checks, caused the checks to be deposited in the “John F. Kennedy” Liberian dollars personal checking account #00-101-018306-01 and United States dollars personal checking account # 00-112-018306-02 respectively, at the FIB, which he and the purported John F. Kennedy to be identified had caused to be opened with the assistance of codefendants Lethia W. Waleh and James Ricks.
According to the document, Sambolah, former production manager of Women Voices Newspaper alias John Fred Kennedy and Henry K. Sambolah, Thomas Oliver Mezzeh, Benjamin Wlay Dargbe, Jr. defrauded the hospital of US$81,576.51 by designing a criminal scheme, whereby co-defendant Konuwa prepared a fraudulent Check Book Request Order dated May 27, 2015, forged the signatures of Dr. Wvannie Scott-Macdonald and Ms. Munah Tarpeh, General Administrator and Chief Executive Officer and Deputy for Administration respectively, and was accordingly issued two check books series # (551-600) and (601-650) for the John F. Kennedy Medical Center’s Account # 02-206-300065-00 at the Central Bank of Liberia, which co-defendant Patrick Konuwa signed for and received from the Central Bank of Liberia.