‘IBank’s 2010 Returned Checks Were Destroyed’

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-Co-defendant Sherman tells court; bank given 3 days to produce original copies in court

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Last Friday, co-defendant Varney Sherman claimed that he destroyed all of the returned checks and bank statements International Bank (IB) issued to him in 2010.

The IB was directed by Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay to either have those documents turned over to the court by Wednesday, March 29, or face a severe consequence.

The IB was summoned by the court on Friday to produce original copies of checks issued after April 2010 by Sherman for payment.

However, when the bank’s lawyer Boakai Harris appeared, he told the court that it was the bank’s policy to return the original copies to the customer, including Sherman and Sherman Law Firm owned by the co-defendant Sherman, Senator for Grand Cape Mount County.

It was due to that statement that the court also summoned defendant Sherman to give an account of the original copies of the checks.

Sherman explained that he was given the checks to reconcile the statements with the physical cash, “which had been done more than six years ago now. We have no use for the checks and we no longer have them.”

He also informed the court that, “returned checks of April 2010 were either shredded or burned, because we do not have any need of them, after we have verified them with the bank statements.”

Judge Gbeisay responded that “the bank’s action dodged the request of this court to have those instruments produced, and it is contemptuous.”

He however conceded, “Considering that these transactions took place more than six-years ago, this court will have consideration on the bank’s authority for today (last Friday), but strongly warn that by Wednesday, March 29, those documents must be brought or their whereabouts must be established.”

Gbeisay instructed the bank to have the required documents searched for, discovered and delivered to the court, because the bank’s failure to do so would stall the entire case, which he said the court would not accept.

Meanwhile, Sherman said he could not remember issuing check number 001743 in the amount of US$50,000 to IBank for payment to co-defendant Richard Tolbert in May 2010.

“I don’t recall our law firm ever issuing to Tolbert any check for any purpose. And I also confirm that we do not have returned checks or bank statements for any month or period in 2010; they have all been disposed of long ago,” he added.

The checks are important to ascertain the claim by the Global Witness Report that in May 2010, over US$950,000 was transferred from Sable Mining, a UK based mining company, to their Liberian lawyer defendant Sherman’s account at the International Bank (IB).

The intent of the money, the report alleged, was for Sherman to distribute it among several present and past government officials, including former House Speaker Alex Tyler to have the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) Act changed in favor of Sable so that the company would not have to go through a competitive bidding process to secure the iron ore rich Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Does this bank want the court and the public to believe that as policy all checks issued by its customers are returned without scanning or making photo copies of the checks for their record? As a financial institution, one would think that duplications of financial documents should be part of your security policy; making sure that all duplicate copies are not kept in one location but dispersed accordingly. What if a customer dispute a payment(s) that he/she never authorized, how then does the bank refute this if there are no copies of the checks issued and signed by the customer?

    It is sad the bank would choose this lame argument as a defense and it’s now evident that the judge did not buy such defense. The ultimatum given to the bank by the court must be adhered to or reap the reward.

    The integrity of our court systems must be maintained and I think this judge is up to the task. We will stay tuned until Wednesday and see whether or not the bank will comply…

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