Patrick Konuwa, the master planner of the alleged criminal syndicate at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center (JFKMC) was arrested yesterday by officers of the Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.
The suspected syndicate discovered that more than one hundred thousand United States and millions of Liberian dollars were withdrawn from the hospital’s account at First International Bank (FIB) without the knowledge of the hospital’s administration.
Immediately following his arrest, Patrick Konuwa, who served as account officer prior to the disappearance of the money from the hospital’s account was held for hours in the office of the Sheriff before Judge Blamo Dixon could approve of his imprisonment at the Monrovia Central Prison.
The arrest of Konuwa came two days after the Liberia National Police (LNP) turned over 8 of his 17 alleged accomplices to the court. They were subsequently sent to the Monrovia Central Prison to wait the processing of their criminal appearance bond.
They are indicted for the commission of the crimes economic sabotage, theft of property, money laundering and criminal conspiracy and facilitation.
According to court records, from March, 2015 up to and including January 2016, Konuwa designed the criminal scheme that was facilitated by other co-defendants, naming Lethia Welah, former customer service officer and James Ricks, former clearing officer of the FIB, opened two Personal Checking Accounts in the name of the yet to be identified co-defendant, who purported to be “John Freeman Kennedy.”
He allegedly used said accounts and deposited checks issued in the name of John F. Kennedy Medical Center, which he received on behalf of the hospital and deposited them (checks) into the accounts of the self proclaimed John Freeman Kennedy at the bank.
Thereafter, he withdrew the proceeds from the said accounts through after issuing several checks in the names of the fictitious person John Freeman Kennedy, and co-defendant Ballah Holmes, Jerry D. Morlu and several others to be identified.
“Co-defendant Konuwa prepared fraudulent check book request order dated May 27, 2015, forged the signatures of Dr. Wvannie Scott-Macdonald and Ms. Munah Tarpeh, JFK’s General Administrator and Chief Executive Officer, and Deputy for Administration respectively, on same. They were accordingly issued two check books bearing series# (551-600) and (601-650) for the John F. Kennedy Medical Center’s Account #02-206-300065-00 at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), which he signed for and received from the bank,” according to the court records.
“That having fraudulently obtained the two check books, Co-defendant Patrick Konuwa began to issue checks to the John F. Kennedy Medical Center Account #02-206-300065-00 forging the signatures of Dr. Wvannie Scott-Macdonald and Ms. Munah Tarpeh on the checks, while co-defendants Prince Jallah and Grace Dolly Jallah, facilitated the encashment of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center’s checks issued by Co-Defendant Patrick Konuwa,” the document alleged.
“Co-Defendant Konuwa issued 18 checks totaling US$81,576.51 including checks issued to co-defendants Benjamin Wlay Dargbe, Jr., Thomas Oliver Mezzeh, Henry K. Sambolah, a fictitious person, who the investigation discovered to be co-defendant Fahn F. Borbor, Patrick Konuwa himself, and others yet to be identified,” the court records added.
That also between the period April 2015 up to and including May 2015 at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, Co-Defendant Konuwa, stole four John F. Kennedy Medical Center check leaves: 00000100, 00000103, 00000150, 00000127, from the institution’s checkbook, and issued all four checks to Co-Defendant Fahn F. Borbor under the fictitious name, Henry K. Sambolah totaling US$9,694.50 and L$312,500.00.