2 ex-FIB Staff Surrender to Court

ex-FIB Staff .jpg

More than two months after running from persecution, two of the 10 persons accused of stealing over US$1.2 million from the First International Bank (FIB) have ‘voluntarily’ turned themselves over to Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice.
The two who turned themselves over on Tuesday were Africanus Freeman and Jerman S. Tegli. Another co-defendant, Benyan Dadzie, was already in custody, having been arrested by officers of the Liberia National Police, (LNP) in the City of Paynesville.
The accused were former employees of the FIB, but were said to have violated the bank’s policy thereby reportedly committing series of thefts.
Despite their decision to turn themselves in ‘voluntarily,’ Jermaine Tegli, former head of operations and Africanus Freeman, former cash officer, were sent to the Monrovia Central Prison by Judge Peter Gbeneweleh.
The accused could remain in jail until another bail is filed on their behalf.
The defendants were escorted to the court by their legal team, who could not prevent Judge Gbeneweleh from taking his action to send them to jail.
The action followed several hours of closed door negotiations between lawyers representing the accused, and the County Attorney for Montserrado County, Cllr. Daku Mulbah in the office of Judge Gbeneweleh.
Family members of the jailed men were also seen in tears outside the courtyard, doing everything legally possible to convince an insurance company to file their bond to have them released from the Monrovia Central Prison.
They were among the ten ex-employees who were charged in 2014 by the Liberian government with the commission of crimes of money laundering, theft of property, criminal conspiracy and facilitation and forgery.
Shortly after they were charged, the accused went into hiding immediately after their release on bail. The bail had been granted through a bond file by Sky Insurance Company.
According to the court document, some of the accused are still at large and the court has therefore declared them wanted.
The first indictment, according to the court document, stated that “between the periods of January 2012 to February 2013, the defendants allegedly used withdrawal slips, approved, signed and in some instances not signed and without the knowledge and participation of the customers, diverted an amount of US$1,220,028.54 from the bank.”
“Co-defendants Jermaine Tegli and Africanus Freeman, without any authorization, fraudulently used the bank’s manager’s checks account to withdraw the total amount of US$1,102,859.21,” the court document further stated.
It noted that further, “Co-defendant Africanus Freeman, who served as cash officer, posted an amount to the system in excess of the amounts actually paid to MoneyGram and Western Union’s customers, and thereafter, converted the amount fraudulently, posted, which caused the bank to lose US$1,269,102.75.”
Co-defendants Tegli and Freeman converted to their own use and benefit the amount of US$8,924.29, which was in the custody of co-defendant Roberts Cummings as a teller. The money was illegally withdrawn and paid out to co-defendants Freeman and Tegli upon their request for an I-Owe-You (IOU) transaction basis.
Those arrested are on record dating as far back as March 21, 2013, while counting money collected in the vault; the defendants allegedly took US$248,309 and L$40,349,285 (equivalent to US$576,418.36 at the rate of L$70), which went missing from the bank’s vault.


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