FIBank US$4M Trial Resumes Today

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The US$4 million theft case involving ten former employees of the First International Bank (FIBank) will resume today at the Criminal Court C.
The hearing will be the first time for the defendants to listen to their indictment (charges) which include money laundering, theft of property, criminal facilitation, and conspiracy among others.
Court documents indicated that, between January 2012 to February 2013, the defendants allegedly used withdrawal slips filled in, approved, signed and in some instances not signed and without the knowledge and participation of the customers diverted an amount of US$1,220,028.54 from the bank.
It further alleged that co-defendants Jermaine Tegil and Africanus Freeman, without any authorization, fraudulently used the bank’s manager’s checks account to withdraw the total amount of US$1,102,859.21.
According to the documents, co-defendant Africanus Freeman, who served as cash officer, posted an amount to the system in excess of amounts actually paid to MoneyGram and Western Union’s customers, and thereafter, converted the amount fraudulently posted. The bank lost US$1,269,102.75.
Co-defendants Robert Cummings, Jermaine Tegli, and Africanus Freeman converted to their own use and benefit the amount of US$8,924.29, which was in the custody of co-defendant Cummings as a teller and was illegally withdrawn and paid out to co-defendant Freeman and Tegli upon their request on the basis of “I Owe You” (IOU).
Also on March 21, 2013, while counting money collected on March 21, 2013 in the vault, the defendants allegedly took US$248,309 and L$40,349,285 (equivalent to US$576,418.36 at the rate of L$70).
The case has been marred with controversial issues, because almost all of the ten defendants have never appeared before the court, though they were enjoying a single bail bond filed on their behalf by the Sky Insurance Company.
Some of them, who noticed the danger of jumping bail, managed to voluntarily surrender themselves to the jurisdiction of the court after they were declared “wanted persons” by the government.
Only five of the ten accused have appeared in court. In today’s hearing, Judge Gbeneweleh will decide the merit and demerit of US$10,000 bail filed on behalf of three of the ten co-defendants Africanus Freeman, Jerman S. Tegli and Robert Cummings.
Initially, they were part of the ten defendants whose bond was filed by the Sky Insurance Company, but the company informed the court that it was no more interested to continue with the bond because the defendants failed to pay their bond fees which amounted to over US$50,000.
It was due to that the three co-defendants secured another bond with the Family Dollar Insurance Company.
Almost all of the defendants are represented by separate law firms making it difficult and expensive for the bank to try them separately.

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