-As Defendant Ayodeji Bejide gets court permission to leave the country
The Liberian government has declined to indict dismissed Guaranty Trust Bank Manager, Ayodeji Bejide, a Nigerian national, after he threw his calculator at the face of one of his staff members in a fit of rage, during a meeting. The staff member, identified as Edward Freeman, sustained serious injury on the lip.
The Monrovia City Court, where defendant Bejide is expected to face charges of aggravated assault, has lifted its travel ban on the defendant, permitting him to leave for a two-week medical trip outside the country.
Initially, the government had requested the court not to allow Bejide to leave the country while the matter was still pending.
It was not clear whether it was the government’s prosecutors that agreed to the court’s decision, though defendant Bejide had been under a US$50,000 bail posted by the Insurance Company of Africa (ICA).
The assault on Freeman took place on Tuesday, August 28, after which Bejide was arrested by the Liberia National Police (LNP), charged with aggravated assault, and arraigned on August 30 before the Monrovia City Court.
Since defendant Bejide’s first arraignment, there is no record to show that the government has notified the court about their preparedness to pursue the matter.
And because government prosecutors did not press for the resumption of the case, the court resolved to revoke its sanctions imposed on defendant Bejide barring him from leaving the country.
Their revocation letter, a copy of which is with the Daily Observer, is dated September 28, 2018 and signed by Francis Weah, clerk of the court. It reads: “Acting upon order and directive of Magistrate Kennedy Peabody the Writ of Ne-Exeat Republica of August 31 issued by the court for the purpose of preventing defendant Ayodeji Bejide leaving the bailiwick of the Republic of Liberia is ordered by the court revoked since, in fact, the purpose for which the writ was issued no longer exist.”
In conclusion, it said, “He (defendant Bejide) is thereby at liberty and has the freedom to leave the Republic of Liberia to foreign parts as he wishes.”
It may be recalled that because of the urgency attached to the matter, the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), at the time of the incident, instituted several punitive measures against Ayodeji Bejide, including his immediate suspension for assaulting Edward Freeman.
The Bank, in a release, said, “The Chairman of the Board of Governors and Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Nathaniel R. Patray, III sanctioned the decision as Mr. Ayodeji Bejide will not receive pay pending the thorough investigation of the allegations against him by the CBL’s Board.”
Another measure taken by the CBL, was the naming of GTBank Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Amazu Nwachukwu, as Acting MD until the conclusion of the aforesaid investigation and “the submission to the CBL within 48 hours the GT Bank Board’s intended course of action to address this grave matter.”
“The CBL Management says following its (GT Bank Board’s) report, it would review the Board’s recommendations and ensure the strictest implementation of the Bank’s ‘mitigative’ actions,” the release noted.
In response to Bejide’s action, GT Bank Board expressed deep regret for this alleged incident and further informed the CBL that a senior executive from its parent company, GT Bank Nigeria, was due to arrive in Liberia on August 29, 2018, to assist in the investigation.
Police investigation also established that suspect Bejide and the victim were not in confusion at the time of the incident and that the suspect had admitted to the commission of the crime.
At that time, Inspector General of Police Patrick Sudue warned that his administration would not tolerate such a barbaric attitude and perpetrators will surely be prosecuted according to the laws of Liberia.