Minister McGill’s Approach to US$40K Theft Case Raises Procedural Concern

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Minister of State, Nathaniel McGill

The form and manner in which Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill conducted himself over his handling of the alleged disappearance of over US$40,000 out of his account at the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTbank) at the Monrovia City Court has raised serious concern about how the Minister exercises authority as a key figure to the presidency.

This stems from Minister McGill’s decision not to file an official complaint before the Liberia National Police (LNP) to investigate the accusation that the bank’s management was behind the illegal withdrawal through his ATM card, which investigation would have found the basis for the court’s arrest order against some senior managers.

Fortunately, the bank’s officials were earlier aware of the situation and so, they immediately secured a criminal appearance bond that is in the amount of US$80,000, the payment that prevented them from being imprisoned at the Monrovia Central Prison.

The regular and legal practice of the criminal justice system says immediately after a criminal complaint is filed against a person, the police usually invite the individual before beginning a thorough investigation into the matter.

After the investigation, the police report or finding goes to the prosecutors whose job it is to initiate the cases.

An arrest report summarizes the events leading to arrest and provides numerous details such dates, times, locations and witness names, which did not happen in Minister McGill’s case.

Rather, the Minister took upon himself to walk directly to the Magisterial Court with the assistance of both the Solicitor General, Sayma Syrenius Cephus, and Montserrado County Attorney, Edwin Martins and requested the court to order the arrest of authorities of the bank on grounds that they illegally withdrew the money from his account.

The court, without any hesitation immediately ordered the arrest of the bank officials, who were arraigned before Magistrate Jomah Jallah, but skipped imprisonment after the bond was filed.

Most importantly, the writ of arrest was not served on the bank’s management directly, but its lawyer, Cllr. Joseph Kollie, who received it and subsequently persuaded the bank’s officials to go to the court for the hearing of the case.

A source from the bank confided in the Daily Observer that the bank is not to be blamed for the financial transaction of Minister McGill.

The source further explained that Minister McGill had earlier applied to Georgetown University in the United States of America for admission.

And, it was during the process of registration that McGill presented details of the ATM card information, based on which some deductions were made from his account through his ATM card.

Besides, the source claimed that other close relatives to Minister McGill also used the ATM card to withdraw money from the account at the GTbank, which the Minister did not allow the police to investigate to establish the truthfulness before arresting the bank’s officials.

The case is still before the court, but the source claimed that Minister McGill was seen at the police headquarters over the weekend apparently to follow the rightful procedure in the matter after the misstep.

3 COMMENTS

  1. This is a story of “steal from steal makes God laugh.” One of those culpable of plundering our national coffers is crying foul over a puny amount allegedly stolen from him. When it comes to abuse of the law, what do you expect from Cyrenius Cephas, a left-over from Charles Taylor’s notorious rebel movement who has become a law unto him at the Justice Ministry? As the saying goes, you can take a man from the country but you can’t take the country out of him. The point is you can take the rebel activities from the likes of Cephas but you can’t eradicate his rebel mentality. Such is the sad state of the justice system in Liberia under Cephas.

  2. “…The regular and legal practice of the criminal justice system says immediately after a criminal complaint is filed against a person, the police usually invite the individual before beginning a thorough investigation into the matter.

    After the investigation, the police report or finding goes to the prosecutors whose job it is to initiate the cases.

    An arrest report summarizes the events leading to arrest and provides numerous details such dates, times, locations and witness names, which did not happen in Minister McGill’s case.

    Rather, the Minister took upon himself to walk directly to the Magisterial Court with the assistance of both the Solicitor General, Sayma Syrenius Cephus, and Montserrado County Attorney, Edwin Martins and requested the court to order the arrest of authorities of the bank on grounds that they illegally withdrew the money from his account.

    The court, without any hesitation immediately ordered the arrest of the bank officials, who were arraigned before Magistrate Jomah Jallah, but skipped imprisonment after the bond was filed.”-Daily Observer

    And this is the guy who serves as Minister of State for Presidential Affairs? The guy who the president usually leaves in charge of the government when he travels on safaris? Yet, we claim Liberia is a nation of laws and not of men. Yet, a minister can just walk to a court house with government lawyers in tow and order the arrest of any citizen?

    The Justice Ministry like the name suggests, supposed to be a ministry that seeks equity, fair play and ultimately justice on behalf of the citizens of Liberia, not infringe, violate or transgress those tenets or principles in favor of the mighty and powerful in society.

    That a minister and no matter whether s/he is the prime minister, shouldn’t have the power in a democracy to trample the law to order any citizen arrested and incarcerated without going through the proper procedure.

    Minister McGill is not above the law to have such whimsical powers in Liberia. His action is abuse of power which requires immediate reprimand not excluding immediate dismissal. Equally the County Attorney and other Justice Ministry lawyers that accompamied him to facilitate this act ought to be dismissed as well. As for the judge who also betrayed the tenets of his robe, he too ought to face the full consequence of his spinelessness for effecting an arrest warrant without the benefit of proper procedure in this matter.

    Hopefully the LNBA will take the necessary actions in this case too, in order to maintain the stella reputation it relishes as a hallmark for itself.

  3. The procedural and stepped taken by the Hon. Minister to pursue his case is good and necessitated the action. However it may be translated, understands by self guided mind, the procedure commensurate the action. Our justice system is not trusted. At time you use discretionary powers to meet your goal. That’s what we called power! Unlike our sitting President who think that he have no powers to exercise in the name of maintaining peace that’s why oppositions are growing wings all around. Such thing can never happen in any African country.

    Taking a bold step to fast track your case most especially a case that involves huge sum of money, I see anything wrong with that. However you may refers to it, (jungle justice , arbitrary arrest, kangaroo court), the fact of the matter remain here is that the procedure call for the action. Such criminality from those foreign banks are getting more prominent and such action necessitate the moved in order to curtailed reoccurrence. Except you prefer the court procedure which will take you one to two years to understand your case. The Hon. Minister will not apologize to any one for such a commendable step to regenerate his stollen money. Do not be pity for these hackers, they need to be dealt with.

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