Lawsuit Hangs over LBDI for ‘Facilitating Illegal Withdrawal’

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Lawyers representing aggrieved members of the Liberia Scrap Association (LSA) are gathering documentary evidences to bring charges against the Liberia Bank for Development Investment (LBID) for allegedly facilitating LSA president Aylmer Johnson to withdraw US$7,400 from the entity’s account at the bank without authorization.

The alleged withdrawal was based on an order dated October 23, 2014, issued by then Presiding Judge Emery Paye of the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice after the judge ruled in favor of Johnson, declaring him as the duly elected president of the association as contained in the court record.

In that ruling, Judge Paye mandated LSA former leadership to immediately turn over all assets in their possession for Johnson to become the new signatory to the association’s account at LBDI.

The judge’s decision was challenged by the LSA legal team, which also announced an appeal to the Supreme Court by the former officials.

The announcement of the appeal restricted the enforcement of Judge Paye’s order pending the outcome of the Supreme Court decision into the matter.

But immediately after Judge Paye knew that his decision was already under appeal, he reversed the decision after three days on October 26, 2014, on the basis that the case was before the Supreme Court, according to document.

Based on that order, Johnson on October 30, 2014, allegedly proceeded to the bank and was assisted by a staff to fill out the LBDI checking account signature card, ignoring the October 26, 2014 order when Judge Paye placed a stay order on his previous decision.

According to the document, Johnson allegedly used the original order to become the signatory to the association’s accounts and subsequently withdrawing US$7,400, thereby leaving a balance of US$200 in a period of three months.

His first alleged withdrawal was done on October 31, 2014, in the amount of US$5,000.

On November 1, 2014, Johnson made a second withdrawal in the amount of US$2,000. He lastly withdrew the amount of US$400 on November 27, 2014, leaving a balance, after monthly bank service charges, of negative US$183.

The case started in 2013 when Johnson was elected president of LSA, but the defunct election commission refused to recognize his victory, which prompted him to file a “Motion for Declaratory Judgment” against the commission to the Civil Law Court.

Johnson argued that the former leadership had prevented him from assuming the post of president, although he was certificated and inducted into office.

It was based on the complaint that Judge Paye ruled in favor of Johnson, which the former LSA officials rejected and announced an appeal before the Supreme Court, prompting the judge to reverse the previous decision.

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