State Witness Implicates Defendant in Password Exchange

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Prosecution’s second witness Godwin Okoro, whose request to have him testify as an ‘expert witness’ was denied, has told the court that the defendants on trial interchanged their profiles to authorize approval of withdrawal of over US$4million from some of the First International Bank (FIBank) branches, making specific reference to the one in Ganta, Nimba County.

Mr. Okoro, who happened to be the bank’s system administrator and also responsible to create profiles for the bank’s staff, alleged that he discovered the syndicate when he was invited by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) investigating allegation of robbery of at the bank’s Ganta branch.
Prosecutors have accused 10 former employees of the bank, of collaborating with each other to use their respective profiles to withdraw money from each other’s branch accounts.

Prosecutors further alleged that between January 2012 and February 2013, the defendants allegedly used withdrawal slips filled in, approved, signed and in some instances not signed and without the knowledge and participation of the customer, diverted an amount of US$1, 220,284.54 from the bank.

If they are found guilty they will serve ten years imprisonment due to the weight of the charges which include theft of property, forgery, money laundering, criminal facilitation and conspiracy.

During cross examination by the defense as to whether defendant Tegli at any point between January 2012, and February 2013, was assigned at the bank’s Ganta branch, Okoro said “Tegli has never been assigned at the Ganta branch. But, we run a centralized system which you can stay at any place to access or credit any customer’s accounts.”

Asked again, whether as the bank’s IT specialist he has access to the profiles and transactions done by other staffs of the bank, Okoro answered, “yes, we can access the profile of staff.”

Asked further whether he can enter the profile of any of FIBank employee, he answered in the negative:

“No, I cannot enter into an employee’s profile unless I have that person’s password and other information.”

Continuing with the cross-examination, Okoro explained that at one time, in Ganta, a customer by the name of Felecia Yormie, on October 17, 2012, deposited an amount of US$100, and two days later on October 19, the same month, she deposited US$300.

Surprisingly, he claimed, during the same October month, this time on the 25th , US$4,000 was withdrawn from the account of Felecia Yormie and credited to one Watson Yeanue, who was the Ganta branch head of operations, who he (Okoro) alleged had resigned before the money was credited to him.

“This was done with the approval of defendant Jermaine Tegli, which presupposes that, if Yeanue had actually resigned, I presumed and assumed that Tegli knew Yeanue’s password and used it to withdraw US$4,300 from that account,” the state witness stated.

The case continues.

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