Judge Nancy Sammy of Criminal Court ‘C’ in Monrovia on Thursday, December 12 maintained her stance not to unfreeze a controversial US$419,454.51 Account titled, “Geneial Revenge Accouna”, which is at the center of a criminal charge that involved several employees of Access Bank Liberia and an employee of the Sector Ministry Division of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).
Judge Sammy took the decision when she denied the defense lawyers’ request, seeking her approval to unfreeze the said account until it is established during the trial that it was the defendants who opened it and deposited the money there.
It started when the government indicted (charged) defendants James Davies, William Joe Smith, Adam E. Monroe, Tamia C. Sherman and Emmanuel Z. Holder, all of the Access Bank, and Lee N.V. Taylor, an employee of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), assigned at the Sector Ministry. A section of operating a scheme, where Taylor collected manager’s checks and, with the help of his co-defendants, have them deposited into “Geneial Revenge Accouna” account at Access Bank, duping the government of US$1,286,120.69.
The money resulted from a tri-partite agreement signed between the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA), Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and Global Voice Group (GVG), where funds generated from international traffic monitoring services were authorized to be distributed among these entities.
As part of that agreement, funds generated and due the MFDP were to be paid to the government’s “General Revenue Account” at Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) through manager’s checks that were to be delivered to the Sector Ministry Division of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).
Taylor, the government claims, was designated to collect and or receive all managers checks from the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) and Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), respectively.
Being the focal person for the collection of funds, Taylor received several of the manager’s checks and began to turn them over to his co-defendants.
Thereafter, the defendants gradually processed those checks, opened an account at the Access Bank Titled: “Geneial Revenge Accouna” with an account holder styled Geneial Paye, and deposited those checks into said bogus account.
However, while the case is still undecided, Judge Sammy granted a request by the government lawyers who asked her to direct the management of Access Bank to freeze the bank account titled, “Geneial Revenge Accouna” that bore account holder “Geneial Paye”, containing a balance of US$419,454.51.
It was Judge Sammy’s action that resulted to the defense lawyers to seek her approval to overturn her decision of freezing the controversial account until the matter is adequately established during the trial. They also contended that they were not aware of any request made by the government lawyers for an order to freeze the controversial account titled, “Geneial Revenge Accouna”.
Despite that contention, Judge Sammy ruled denying the argument of the defense team.
“The defense team’s application is hereby denied and the government lawyers’ resistance thereto is hereby sustained,” Judge Sammy further ruled, adding, “The Account titled, ‘Geneial Revenge Accouna’, ordered frozen by this court on October 23, 2019 shall remain frozen pending the logical adjudication of this case.”
Defending her decision, the judge said since the prosecution has accused the defendants of stealing US$1,286,120.69 from the government which is the subject of litigation, she has to prove the allegation during trial to establish that indeed the defendants did it.
“This court has taken this position because to do otherwise would violate the basic principle of burden of proof,” Sammy noted.
Before Sammy’s decision, the prosecution had asked her to issue an order to unfreeze the account titled, ‘Geneial Revenge Accouna’ and to transfer the US$419,454.51 contained therein into AIRRet’s Escrow Account Number US$1602003653 at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).
The prosecution also argued that Judge Sammy should mandate the Management of Access Bank to freeze the referenced account, because the amount in question belongs to the government.
The case continues.