Attorney Garrison W. Barh, former head of Legal Affairs at Global Bank-Liberia Limited on Friday, February 17, appeared at the Monrovia City Court to answer to charges of misapplication of entrusted property and theft of property.
The charges were the result of investigative report the Liberia National Police (LNP) submitted to the court after the bank referred the case to the police.
Accused by the bank of stealing US$67,513 and L$444,450, Atty. Barh was arrested following conclusion of the police investigation on February 8 in Monrovia, and subsequently turned over to the court for prosecution.
At Friday’s hearing, the court released defendant Barh on bail shortly after his legal team submitted a criminal appearance bond to the court on grounds that the crimes are baliable.
The amount of the bail was not disclosed. Meanwhile, the court kept Barh seated on the prisoner’s bench for hours before the court issued his released order.
Defendant Barh allegedly withdrew some of the money directly from customers who the bank sued before the Debt Court in an attempt to recover loans the customers have refused to pay back. Defendant Barh initially denied the allegation.
According to the bank, its analysis of accounting records revealed that Atty. Barh converted the US$67,513 and L$444,450 directly into his personal account.
In addition, the court record alleged, Barh used his power-of-attorney to withdraw US$3,000 from payment made to the court by Silver Stone, which is one of the bank’s delinquent loan payers.
According to the record, Silver Stone was indebted to the bank in the amount of US$18,500. Of this amount, Atty. Barh gave only US$15,500 as part payment to the bank, although the company had paid the full amount.
Besides Silver Stone, the document said, another delinquent customer, ECOCOM made its loan payment of US$31,087, but Barh allegedly received the money from the court, and only turned over US$27,083 to the bank, thereby diverting the remaining US$4,004 into his personal account.
Apart from collecting delinquent loan payers’ money, the document claimed that Atty. Barh received from his employer the amount of US$42,000 and L$597,200 intended to notarize 698 copies of loan documents.
Out of the 698, the record also alleged that 326 copies were notarized of which he used US$21,070 and L$146,750 and did not account for the US$20,930 and L$448,750 believed to have been left over.
To justify his scam, Barh allegedly prepared a fraudulent document believed to have come from Provident Business Consultancy, which he claimed, was the entity that he hired to notarize those documents.
Without the knowledge of the bank, Barh also withdrew 10 percent from almost all the money delinquent customers paid to the court, the record said.
The record showed that the bank also gave Atty. Barh US$7,980 and L$2,004 to facilitate the bank‘s legal services, but he has not yet account for US$8,500 of that money.