Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court ‘C’ on Tuesday January 7, found the First International Bank (FIB) guilty of stealing US$56,750 from the account of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA).
Judge Dixon also fined the bank US$10,000 and some of it executives US$300 each.
The Criminal Court Judge’s action followed his denial of the bank’s appeal to quash the writ of arrest and indictment prepared against it by the government.
Their appeal to quash the government’s writ issued against them was predicated (based) on their defense that grounds that they had restituted (paid back) the money.
The bank was charged with theft of property, economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, and misapplication of entrusted property.
The charge stemmed from the bank’s transfer of US$56,750 from LAA’s account, to the Melvin Johnson and Associates account held at the JPMorgan Chase Bank in the United State of America (USA).
They admitted the allegation and restituted the US$56,750 to the court, when they first appeared before the court.
But, ruling further in the matter, Judge Dixon declared that the bank should have filed its motion-to-quash to his predecessor, Judge Peter Gbenewelah, to whom the Bank had made restituted, according to the Bank’s statement.
“It is true that the bank restituted said money to the court through Judge Peter Gbenewelah, who first heard the case.
But, they failed to file that motion to ‘quash’ when Judge Gbenewelah was presiding over this Court,” Judge Dixon clarified.
“Therefore, the motion is hereby denied and prosecution request for re-summoning the FIBank is hereby granted,” the Criminal Court Judge declared.
“Prosecution is hereby ordered to publish the re-summon notice including the indictment in some newspapers and radio stations for four days,” he went on to rule.
“The US$56,750 paid by the bank to the court as restitution will remain with the court.”
“The Bank is ordered to appeal before the court on February 12 to commence the trial,” Judge Dixon instructed.
The case came up in July 2013, when the LAA accused the bank of conspiring with Madam Ellen Corkrum, then managing director and transferred US$56,750 to the Melvin Johnson and Associates account held in JP Morgan Chase Bank in the United States of America, which bears no authorized signatory to the LAA account.
Notwithstanding, the bank did transfer that money to the account of defendant Melvin Johnson and Associates.