‘Pastor’ Steve Kettor, one of the two men being tried for allegedly duping a Korean businessman of over US$130,000 from a vehicle rental contract with the World Food Program (WFP), told Criminal Court ‘C’ that he “paid contractors for the WFP contract” he entered into with the UN agency in 2014, when his Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Hungchi Choi, had left the country due to the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak.
Testifying yesterday as second witness for the defense, Kettor, who was then the general manager of Korea Trading Corporation (KTC), claimed that as part of the arrangement he hired five contractors, including drivers and operators, for three months and each of them was paid US$200, which amounted to US$1,000 a month.
But during his testimony, Choi presented a document allegedly produced by Kettor that showed him (Kettor) to have instead paid the drivers and operators US$2,500 monthly.
The document detailed how Kettor claimed that a payment of US$92,225 was made for the five months, out of which some employees of the UN agencies demanded US$12,500 as kickbacks; however, the alleged employees were not mentioned on the document.
Choi testified that KTC did not receive a dime because he was out of the country when the contract was signed and approved.
Choi also testified that defendants Kettor and his co-defendant ‘Bishop’ Conto entered into the vehicle rental contract with the WFP valued at US$18,445 monthly for five months, from October 2014 to January 12 and up to March 2015, in the name of a fictitious company identified as SACS Group.
The contract was to supply vehicles to the WFP to facilitate the delivery of food and other items to victims during the Ebola outbreak.
During his testimony, ‘Bishop’ Conto said though Choi was out of the country, he and Kettor entered into the contract with the WFP.
According to Conto, the Combi bus that his company used for the signing of the tripartite agreement was purchased from KTC, with an outstanding balance of US$5,000 yet to be paid.
Defendant Conto also claimed that he wrote a promissory note assuring Choi that he was actually going to pay the US$5,000.
During his testimony yesterday, Kettor claimed that the Combi bus was in Conto’s possession when the contract was signed in October of 2014, making Conto the legitimate owner of the vehicle.
But a registration document from the Ministry of Transport (MOJ) showed that Kettor registered the vehicle on December 3, 2014 in the name of KTC, which, if true, establishes that the vehicle was owned by KTC when the WFP contract was allegedly signed by the defendants.
By December of 2014, Kettor registered the vehicle in the name of KTC.
“Before signing the WFP contract I told Kettor that I still owed the company US$5,000, and since Choi was not in the country at that time, it was impossible for me to provide the vehicle to the UN agency,” Conto alleged in his testimony.
“Kettor assured me that if I were to agree for him to use the vehicle as part of the contract, he would deduct the US$5,000 I owed, and afterward he was going to give the balance of US$7,500, which is yet to be collected up to the present,” Conto claimed.
When Choi testified, he claimed that although the defendants used the SACS name for the contract and received payment through KTC’s Ecobank account, however, they could not account for the US$92,225 meant as the contract fees for the five months payment the WFP made.
The case continues.