Defendant Authorized US$33K Payment to NASSCORP Retiree


Madam Rhonda Von Ballmoos, the first prosecution witness in the ongoing US$4 million theft case involving ten former employees of the First International Bank (FIB) yesterday told Criminal Court ‘C’ that one of the defendants, Richard Gboyah authorized the payment of US$33,000 to a retiree of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP).
Madam Von Ballmoos is the deputy managing director of the bank and also the wife of NASSCORP’s Managing Director. She further stated that the syndicate was discovered by her husband.
“My recollection is that in January 2013, in a casual conversation one day after work with my husband, who is the managing director of NASSCORP, he mentioned that he had requested information on one of his employees whose services with the entity was terminated, to get his payoff benefits in the amount of US$15, 000,” the prosecution witness quoted her husband.
Only five of the ten employees charged with multiple offences were present in court to listen to their former boss lady testify against them.
Defendant Gboyah is among the five persons that are currently being tried by the court.
The remaining staffs’ whereabouts are unknown, though they were bailed by the Sky Insurance Company.
Continuing, Madam Von Ballmoos alleged that her husband informed her that he received a payoff amount of US$33,000 instead of US$15,000 from defendant Gboyah.
She said when the NASSCROP boss noticed the error he did not receive the money, but instead sent the information back to defendant Gboyah.
She alleged that the reason, according to her husband, was to inquire from the defendant why the payoff was so high.
“He was then sent another payroll in the amount of US$8, 900,” Madam Von Ballmoos quoted her husband.
It is not clear whether or not the whistleblower would also take the witness stand as one of the prosecution’s witnesses.
She said, when she arrived at her working place she decided to look at the account her husband was talking about. “I found out that the staff in question has a loan with a balance of just over US$8,900.
“His (the former NASSCROP) employee’s savings amount was attached to the loan with a negative balance of over US$24, 000”the prosecution witness added.
According to her, since savings was not to be in negative, she received the documents and saw several withdrawals of large amounts of money that were allegedly approved by Gboyah.
“This led me to request the list of negative staff accounts from my Information Technology (IT) department and upon reviewing the information we found out that most of NASSCROP staffs were given overdrafts approved under the profile of defendant Gboyah and another co-defendant Deddeh,” she claimed.
She said the management also reviewed accounts of her bank staff and discovered several overdraft balances approved under the profile of another co-defendant Jermaine Tegli and Gboyah.
She claimed that she referred the alleged discrepancies to the bank’s domestic operations to review every savings account with a negative balance.
“A preliminary review discovered about 61 accounts reflecting up to 16 employees of the bank during transaction to put the accounts to over draft,” she further alleged.
It was due to the huge discovery that they authorized the bank’s audit department to do a full scale investigation on all savings accounts with negative balances over one thousand dollars, she further alleged.
She alleged that the audit report established that 16 of their staff were involved in paying money that was not authorized by the account holder.
After conducting the audit, she claimed that the department forwarded their findings and recommendations to another section of the bank, the disciplinary committee, and also ordered the immediate suspension of 14 staff members without pay pending the conclusion of the investigation.
She also alleged that it was the committee that said seven of the accused staff members must be arrested and 14 others must remain suspended pending final investigations by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP).
She further alleged that it was the final investigations by the police that led to the indictment of the defendants.
The case continues.


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