A day after two of the eight persons accused of duping the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFKMC) of L$16million and US$126,000 confessed judgment, another codefendant, Thomas G. Tellewoyan, yesterday told prosecutors that he was prepared to pay back under protest, US$2,955 as his share of the stolen money.
Tellewoyan announced his decision to refund the stolen money after he and his codefendants stood for an hour listening as the clerk of Criminal Court ‘C’ read a bulky document indicating their alleged roles in diverting millions of Liberian dollars and thousands of United States dollars paid by insurance companies into the hospital’s accounts at the First International Bank (FIB) and the International Bank Liberia (IBL) Limited.
According to court documents, Tellewoyan, on March 13, 2015, opened a fraudulent Personal Savings Account #102030-102853-01 at the International Bank Liberia Limited in the name of John Franklin Kennedy, where the hospital’s former account officer, Patrick Konuwa, believed to be the planner in the criminal clique, deposited checks paid to the JFKMC by insurance companies.
The documents said on the same day, codefendant Konuwa signed for and received from Medicare Insurance Company an IB Bank check #2079, issued as payment to John F. Kennedy Medical Center. Tellewoyan withdrew US$2,955 from that account.
After the reading of the indictment, Tellewoyan was asked whether or not he was guilty of the crimes. He raised his hand and was heard saying, “I am not guilty, but just to clear my name I will pay back the money under protest.”
Following that statement, prosecutor, Cllr. Johnny Momo, welcomed Tellewoyan’s request for a plea bargain, underscoring however that it is after “pending negotiations and conclusion of the plea bargain, before we can come back to the court for consideration and appropriate legal action.”
At Thursday’s session the other four codefendants, Konuwah, Rabeah Arnaus, former IT and database supervisor of the hospital, respectively; Jerry D. Morlu, caretaker at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications and Flahn F. Borbor, former production manager of the Women Voices Newspaper, announced their innocence, thereby shifting the burden of proof on the prosecution.
They were all charged with economic sabotage, theft of property, money laundering, criminal conspiracy and facilitation, which they had earlier denied any knowledge of, until three codefendants confessed their involvement.
The trial continues on next Monday with the selection and sequestration of a jury panel.