Cerina Rose-Marie Gbaba, the lady responsible for the financial activities of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFKMC), where hundreds of thousands in both Liberian and American currencies were allegedly stolen, last week told Criminal Court ‘C’ that it was the hospital’s Information Technology (IT) specialist, Rebeah Arnaus, who used her administrative password to enter into her Quickbooks account and withdrew money from JFKMC accounts at various banking institutions.
Quickbooks is a software installed by the hospital administration to record every financial transaction including deposits, withdrawals and payments made by her on behalf of the JFKMC.
Testifying as prosecution’s first witness, Gbaba alleged that on January 9, 2015, she discovered that somebody used her password and subsequently deleted L$8 million that she had earlier entered on the software in her laptop.
“I remember that I did not log unto Quickbooks on December 31, 2014, because banking institutions had closed during that time and my staff and I spent that day (December 31) filling documents for us to get ready for the New Year in January,” she claimed, wondering, “So, then, how did the L$8 million get deleted from my laptop?”
Gbaba further alleged that she also discovered that one of her female staff named Zonie Dokie, who is yet to be arrested, without her knowledge used the same password to make a deposit of L$6million on Quickbooks.
“I was surprised because Dokie’s responsibility was to write checks in Quickbooks and not to enter deposits, and the L$6 million was entered on December 31, using the administrative password; and I had not logged into Quickbooks on that very day,” the JFKMC witness added.
Arnaus together with Patrick Konuwah, the hospital’s account officer, and Fahn F. Borbor, an employee of the Women Voices newspaper, were indicted for allegedly opening two separate accounts in the names of John Freeman Kennedy and John Fred Kennedy at several banks where they deposited money paid by insurance companies and patients in the name of JFKMC, claims they have so far denied.
According to Gbaba, when she noticed what was happening to her program she immediately informed defendant Arnaus about it, complaining to him, “I believed that someone had hacked into the server.”
Justifying her decision to contact defendant Arnaus, Gbaba claimed that she was not an IT expert; and besides, the accounting system of the hospital was computerized and that area was being headed by Arnaus, including the computers used in her department.
“Something that surprises me was how my password was obtained; and I wanted to know immediately,” the JFKMC chief financial officer stated.
“All of these problems,” she noted, came as a result of her asking defendant Arnaus to look at her laptop.
The prosecution’s first witness was quick to point out that everything happened while she was out of the country, leaving co-defendant Konuwah to act in her stead.
Narrating the story, Gbaba alleged that when she returned to the country in August 2015, she tried to access the server to get into Quickbooks, since she did have that program installed on her laptop.
It was then, she claimed, she asked co-defendant Arnaus to install the remote connector to her laptop, and he wrote a program called ‘Team Viewer.’
After that, Gbaba said Arnaus asked her to install it, quoting Arnaus’ statement, “this will enable you to have access to the server.”
She claimed that based on that advice she quickly proceeded to download Team Viewer in Arnaus’ presence.
After downloading Team Viewer, she said, the program asked for a password setup, of which, she alleged, Arnaus told her to ignore the password section, because the hospital did not have wi-fi Internet.
Based on the advice, Gbaba further alleged she used her phone hotspot to download the Team Viewer.
“Arnaus asked me to install an RDC connector and he wrote it on the pad and instructed me to install it, which I did, and he later assisted me to connect my laptop to the server,” the witness claimed.
“Surprisingly, when it came to my attention after the defendants used my administrative password to withdraw money from the hospital’s accounts, it was when I remembered about the Team Viewer that Arnaus had helped me to install on my laptop,” Gbaba went on.
She said, after some time of wondering about the incident, she decided to use Google search engine to find out more about Team Viewer.
“It was shocking to understand that Team Viewer once it is installed on you computer enables another person to access your computer whenever that individual clicks on audio.”
“If the person were to click on video,” she claimed, “he or she would see whatsoever that you would be doing in your office; and whatever you would type on your machine it would appear on the person’s computer.”
It was when, she said, that she went on her laptop she noticed that the setting for Team Viewer was fully accessed, meaning that somebody had been following her activity whenever her laptop was on.
“I decided to search for the Team Viewer log on my laptop and I copied it before sending it to one of my relatives who is an IT expert in the US,” Gbaba claimed in her testimony.
Though she did not name her relative, Gbaba said she told her relative that she had observed that someone else was logging on and spying on her, claiming she wanted him to review her log and subsequently advise her on the matter.
According to her, the relative immediately advised her to shut down the Bluetooth and wi-fi connections on her laptop because each time she logged on to her laptop somebody would monitor her activity by way of Team Viewer.
“Then I realized that the reason of which I was advised by defendant Arnaus for the installation of Team Viewer was for him to have access to my computer,” she recollected.
According to her, she sought the advice of multiple IT experts on the same matter and they informed her that it was unethical for an IT person to ask anyone to install Team Viewer without explaining to her what it means.
“It was how I discovered that Arnaus had assisted Konuwah in obtaining my password and making changes to Quickbooks,” she alleged.
She said that on numerous occasions she and her staff could not have access to the server on grounds that each time they did so, the computer would tell them that their password was wrong, for which some of her staff had to change their password.
“At one time I was unable to log unto my Quickbooks account because the system said my password was wrong and I was 100 percent sure of it being correct,” Gbaba informed the court.
She claimed that during her investigation she even used a test question asking her laptop “who was the best man at your wedding?” She said that when she wrote the answer, the computer said it was wrong.
“That was how I got to know that the problem was the server as a result of sabotage of the IT facilitated by Arnaus,” she said.
She said, at one time Arnaus came to her and told her the harddrive on his computer had burned and he had lost all of the files on it.
“In my mind it was a clever attempt by Arnaus to destroy evidence, because I believe that it was the same computer that was used to facilitate Konuwah and Arauns duping of the hospital,” the witness explained.