Wesley Jlue, the finance manager of the National Drug Service (NDS), found guilty after confessing that he and his boss, Beyan Johnson, diverted hundreds of thousands of United States dollars generated from the sale of drugs intended to fight against malaria, was last week sentenced to five years imprisonment.
The money, Jlue claimed, was withdrawn from what he described as a” “facilitation account,” he and his boss jointly opened at the First International Bank (FIB) to process NDS’ customer discount and to settle other related expenses.
Interestingly, the drugs were donated to the government by the Global Fund, the world’s largest financer of anti-AIDS, TB and Malaria programs, which is being managed by the NDS,
“Jlue is sentenced to five years imprisonment immediately and is ordered to pay the amount of US$358,366.12 and LD$1,916,495.60,” Judge Yussif Kaba of Criminal Court ‘C” said. “Same represents double the gains derived from your criminal act.”
Surprisingly, Jlue was charged with the commission of the crimes of theft of property and forgery, following a complaint by his boss, Johnson that he (Jlue) singlehandedly opened an account in the name of the institution, where he allegedly transferred hundreds of checks.
Jlue’s prison sentence did not take place immediately as it was declared by the court, because his lawyers took serious exception to the ruling and announced an appeal before the Full Bench of the Supreme Court.
Besides, the crimes are bailable offences under the law and he is also enjoying a criminal bond, as provided by the law.
Granting his appeal, Judge Kaba declared, “exception noted and appeal being a matter of rights, it shall stall the enforcement of this matter.”
His decision to appeal against the ruling stemmed from Judge Kaba’s action to deny his request to reverse the unanimous guilty verdict earlier brought against him by the petty jury.
As part of that request, Jlue’s lawyers argued that the verdict was contrary to the weight of the evidence produced during the trial.
They contended that the facilitation account opened at First International Bank (FIB) was based upon the instruction of the managing director, Beyan Johnson, to process customer discounts and to settle other related expenses, which, according to them, was ignored by the jury.
They further argued that the money was only withdrawn by him upon authorization of his boss. However, his boss who brought the charge against him was vindicated from the charges.