IB Bank in Trouble Over Sherman’s Transaction

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First International Bank (IB bank)

The failure of International Bank (IB) Liberia Limited to produce the financial transaction of defendant Cllr. Varney Sherman, Sable Mining’s Liberian lawyer, has landed the bank in trouble with Criminal Court ‘C,’ where Sherman and several other accused are being tried on multiple charges, including bribery.

IB is one of the eight banking institutions that the court authorized to produce the financial transactions of the defendants.

The bribery allegation came to light when the Global Witness alleged that it received leaked documents from Heines van Niekerk, an executive of Sable Mining, a UK-based mining company, that his entity gave defendant Sherman over US$950,000, which was allegedly transferred through the defendant’s account at the bank.

It is alleged that the intent of the money was to create a loophole in the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) Act to prevail upon some lawmakers, including former House Speaker Alex Tyler, to insert a provision that would make the Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County a non-bidding concession area. It was for that, it is alleged, that defendant Sherman managed to distribute the money among some of the accused.

The bank is yet to furnish the court with the financial transactions in spite of several communications demanding it to do so.

The bank’s refusal again yesterday prompted Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay to issue an order for the bank management to appear before the court today, Friday, March 24, after prosecution asked the court to ensure the bank does so.

Gbeisay did not disclose the court’s next action should the bank again fail to comply with his order.

According to judicial staff, the bank had earlier informed Gbeisay that all of its financial transactions with defendant Sherman were destroyed, after the defendant asked them to do so.

Prosecution’s action came while its second witness, Blamo Kofa of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, was testifying yesterday about defendant Sherman’s financial transactions with Sable Mining, which is at the center of the GW alleged bribery report.

In prosecution’s request, Cllr. Theophilus Gould argued that the remaining documentary evidences are essential for the conclusion of the testimony of prosecution’s second witness.

Gould added: “Therefore, we beg to have the matter rescheduled to Friday, March 24.”

That request was accepted by the defense team, who later said, “Our acceptance is in the spirit of cooperation and a speedy trial.”

In his response, Judge Gbeisay granted the request, noting that the submission made by the prosecution was supported by the practice and procedure in the country’s jurisdiction, to which the defense team also did not object.

Authors

3 COMMENTS

  1. It seems though the bank is determined to test the resolve of the court systems, especially this judge. For the bank to defy court orders and arbitrarily destroy evidence, even after it has been ordered not to, is a serious challenge to our judicial system. It’s now up to this judge to set the precedent that this is a nation of laws; no one is above the law and not even the president! This is how strong institutions are built, when laws are followed regardless.

    Judge Gbeisay seems to be a very smart and knowledgeable judge who wants justice within the confined of the law, but his response to the bank’s behavior will set the precedent for how future subpoenaed evidences are handled.

  2. Mr. Gbomo, that’s why he is a judge, and there are laws on the books about destroying evidence. There is no need to panic that this case will hit the rock or be swept under the rug. If the bank has the audacity to make the revelation that the defendant requested the destruction of documents, the bank knows it’s illegal to do so. Banks shouldn’t be cowed to commit crimes​ for the account holders. The funds are with bank. The bank did not deny having the funds. Moreover, the integrity of the bank is on the line to make such a revelation. Their international businesses are now raising eyebrows for that statement. It would affect the bank in the long run on trust about doing business with a bank which told the court it destroyed records of accounts!

    Additionally, this paper reported that the Supreme Court ordered the bank to cooperate with the lower court, (I stand to corrected). We should have no doubt that Judge Gbeisay will implement the law to the letter. This case will build his legal integrity and determine his long term status in Liberian law history. He is up to the task and ready to make a landmark decision that will break or build corruption in Liberia. We hope this verdict will determine the life/death of corruption at every level in Liberia. With the big names involved, a conviction will lay the foundation for the 4th Republic of Liberia. By estimation based on my goggles, 1847 was the first, 1980 the second, 2006 the third. The conviction of those top brass will dawn the fourth republic. Without illusions, there are still many people of integrity in Liberia. No one should take us, and our institutions for granted.

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