Tyler Allegedly Obstructs Justice in NOCAL Graft Case

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    The former chief of investigation of the Liberia National Police (LNP), who testified Thursday, July 17, told the Criminal Court ‘C’ that the Speaker of the House of Representative, Alex Tyler, on several occasions prevented them from investigating defendant Pewee Flomo.

    Defendant Flomo is charged with theft of property, forgery, criminal facilitation and conspiracy, following a complaint from National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) that without any authorization he had withdrawn over hundreds of thousands of United States dollars from the company’s Hydrocarbon development funds accounts at Ecobank Liberia.

    The fraudulent withdrawal allegedly occurred in August 2013, the company said.

    Speaker Tyler is the Representative for district #1 in Bomi County and Flomo is the former Supervisor of the development fund.

    Testifying further on Thursday, Witness Augustine Mend told the court that while they were investigating defendant Flomo, they received a call from the Speaker inviting them to his Capitol Hill Office for a discussion.

    “When we got at his office, we met the defendant there with the Honorable man and he asked us to explain about the NOCAL’s hydrocarbon check scam, which we did,” the prosecutor witness added.  “Immediately after that explanation,” the witness quoted the ‘Honorable man’ as saying, “NOCAL lied on the defendant and they were using people like you to go after Flomo.”

    “They are doing so because the defendant’s name is Flomo and they don’t want anyone with native names to work at NOCAL,” he further quoted Speaker Tyler as saying.

    The former police investigator further stated, “I told Speaker Tyler that we have enough evidence against the defendant to charge him with the commission of the crimes;  that he used several checks belonging to the Hydrocarbon development fund to withdraw huge amounts of money from the bank. We are going to prosecute. We will not allow anyone to prevent us from performing our duties as investigators.”

     Besides Speaker Tyler, the witness further alleged that another senior government official, Mr. Maxwell Kaba, told the investigator, “You people should leave my son because he had not done anything wrong that warrants his prosecution.”

    Giving details regarding defendant Flomo’s involvement, the prosecutors’ witness said that they charged him, after a man identified as Prince Koffa was arrested at Ecobank with a NOCAL Hydrocarbon Development Funds check bearing the name Joseph Howard.

    He told the court that Koffa was in the process of enchasing the check when the teller at that time discovered that he was not the actual person, Howard, whom he claimed he was, on the check.

    After Koffa’s arrest, the witness said, they took him to the Metro Police Depot on Center Street where he confessed that the check was given to him by defendant Flomo.

    “During the investigation of Koffa,” Mend noted, “they found in his mobile phone cell phone number 0886421370. This numbers we noticed had called Koffa on six different occasions on the date he was arrested.”

    “So we decided to walk with suspect Koffa to NOCAL office where we met the defendant and we asked him to follow, us which he did.”

    “When we asked him, he denied his involvement. Again we asked him about the cell number 0886421370. He told us that the number was his, but he had given it to his fiancée,” he said.

    Mend alleged that they asked the defendant to dial that number which he later did.

    “When he dialed the number, he told us that his fiancée was on her way to the headquarters and she would arrived within the next one hour. We waited and she could not appear, so we were compelled to release him after his lawyer Atty. Arthur Johnson, asked us to do so. But, we rearrested him after several accused persons named him as the one who gave them the check,” the witness further claimed.

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