“If the ongoing legal negotiation is resolved, then prosecution would drop criminal corruption charges against the First International Bank (FIB), because they have already paid back the US$56,750 transferred from the account of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), to Melvin Johnson and Associates in the United States,” Montserrado County Attorney Cllr. Daku Mulbah, disclosed last Friday.
The bank was indicted in 2013 for allegedly conspiring with co-defendants Ellen Kwame Corkrum and Melvin Johnson and Associates to make an unauthorized transfer of funds in the tune of US$56,750 from the account of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), which Corkrum was managing director.
The money was transferred to Melvin Johnson and Associates account#91806942, held at JP Morgan Chase Bank in the United States of America (USA).
They were later charged with the commission of the crimes economic sabotage, theft of property, criminal conspiracy and misapplication of entrusted property by the government.
Interestingly, the bank had admitted transferring the US$56,750 and had paid it back.
Despite the payment, the charges are yet to be dropped against them.
But, addressing journalists, at his Temple of Justice office, Cllr. Mulbah in his carefully crafted statement, said, they have been working out plan to drop the charges against the bank, adding, “there were still some legal issues that need to be addressed.”
He did not mention the legal issues; instead he went on to say, “FIB was the first defendant that we were considering dropping charges against them, so that they would serve as one of our witnesses during the trial.”
Recently, Cllr. Mulbah wrote Criminal Court ‘C’ to drop similar charges against another co-defendant, the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) to testify on their behalf, which request had been granted by the court.
“We have dropped the criminal charges against LBDI and that could also happen in the case of FIB,” the Montserrado County Attorney disclosed.
“We just need to resolve our negotiation before we can come out with the decision,” he emphasized.
According to him, the bank’s management had admitted to the commission of the crimes of which they were indicted and had restituted the money that was withdrawn from the LAA’s account at the FIB.
“What you need to know is that they had admitted their bank was used to transfer the money from the account of LAA to Melvin Johnson and Associates in the US. Based on that, we can drop the charges and likely use them to help us prosecute the other defendants. But, we are still discussing,’ he reiterated.