‘Defendant Authorized Me to Withdraw L$70K from LBDI’

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Jurors listening to the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) counterfeiting and theft trial, heard another stunning allegation yesterday when prosecution’s second witness claimed that defendant Margretta Dorbor authorized payment to herself of L$70,000.00 from the account of the Gardnersville People’s Savings Club.

Witness Samuel Padmore, a teller, who admitted making the payment from his compartment, made the accusation when he testified at the Criminal Court ‘C,” at the Temple of Justice.

At yesterday’s hearing, prosecution also laid out for jurors, what it believed to be evidence of the withdrawal slip allegedly prepared and signed by Dorbor for her to receive the money as a member of the savings club.

However, the other element of evidence yet to be exhibited before the court is that of the US$20,000 counterfeit money, allegedly discovered under the desk of the defendant.

Prosecution has presented three witnesses in the case which has lasted for four days.

Dorbor is on trial for the commission of the crimes of theft of property, forgery and counterfeiting.

She has denied the allegations levied against her.

Continuing his testimony, Padmore explained that in 2010, while he was in his teller’s cubicle, defendant Dorbor brought to him a withdrawal slip for him to pay to her  L$70,000 from the Gardnersville People’s Savings Club.

“Dorbor presented to me a withdrawal slip with an amount of L$70,000 on behalf of the Gardnerville People’s Savings Club, but I refused to honor it because the signatures on (the slip) did not correspond with those that were in the club’s bank book,” Padmore testified.

“Knowing that the signatures were not corresponding, Dorbor chose to use another withdrawal slip.  This time, she promised that she would take all of the responsibilities if the transaction is discovered to be fraudulent.

“It was at that time that I personally paid the money to defendant Dorbor,” he admitted.

Surprisingly, Padmore testified as a state witness and still remains an employee of the bank, despite his admission that he paid L$70,000 to Dorbor, who was not a member of the Savings Club.

“Was the defendant responsible to authorize payment?” the defense team asked Padmore on the stand.

“Yes,” he replied.

“What was defendant Dorbor’s role in the bank?” the defense team further questioned Padmore.  

“She was responsible for the bank’s customer service,” he replied.

Defendant Dorbor is not the legitimate owner of the account.

Besides, the bank has a policy that prevents a teller from making direct payments above L$50,000 to a customer.

But Padmore, in his testimony, claimed that it was Dorbor’s written commitment to take full responsibility for the transaction that caused him to ignore the policy and make the payment to her.

“Because she made that commitment, I was not afraid to give the money to her,” prosecution’s second witness Padmore stated.

He was quick to clarify that “We have a policy that also mandates a teller to pay money above L$50,000 to a customer, even if the signatures on the withdrawal slip are not corresponding, but that withdrawal can be done only if an employee of the bank agrees to take full responsibility for the transaction.”

The prosecution is hoping to convince the jury that the testimony about the defendant authorizing their witness to make payment is another one of Dorbor’s lies.

She could face up to five years imprisonment if the jury convicts her of second-degree felony.

The prosecution is expected to produce more witnesses in the case when trial resumes the first week of March.

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