State Witness Makes Revelation in US$4M Theft Case

first_imgIn his testimony during which he alleged that the defendants on trial interchanged their profile to steal US$4 million from the First International Bank (FIB), their previous place of work, Godwin Okoro, has also told Criminal Court ‘C’ that one of the co-defendants, Africanus Freeman, failed to account for L$40 million, when he was investigated by his committeeCo-defendant Freeman together with nine others was charged by the state with multiple crimes including money laundering, forgery, theft of property and criminal conspiracy. Prosecutors are alleging that they stole over US$4 million from the bank.They claim that only five of the ten defendants have denied the charges when they were first read to them in court.Okoro, whose committee charged the defendants, further alleged that the act was discovered when authorities of the bank ordered its internal control auditor to conduct an immediate audit of some of the vaults that were in the custody of the defendants.According to him, prior to that audit, the bank management decided to transfer some of its staff from one branch to another.“Before then, some staffs of the bank were swiftly transferred. Africanus Freeman was transferred from the Central office to the bank’s Duala Branch as cash officer, while another employee, Mustapha Dukuly, was asked to take over from Freeman,” Okoro alleged.He claimed that the handing over process that should have taken place between Dukuly and Freeman did not happen according to the bank’s policy.Okoro explained that according to the bank’s policy, a cash officer transfer should be done with the physical counting of money in the bank’s vault between the two officers concerned and one other person who happens to be the resident internal auditor.In the case of the transfer between Dukuly and Freeman, that procedure did not happen, Okoro alleged. Instead, the two officers without the auditor went ahead to do their own thing, Okoro claimed.“However, there was a problem in the handing over transaction between Freeman, who happened to be the outgoing cash officer and Dukuly with respect to the validation of the vault,” he continued. “The new resident internal auditor Forkpa Kaboi, who should have been there to supervise the vault counting and witness the turning over process, failed to attend. Nobody was there to verify and validate the counting of the cash in the vault.“It was during the audit that we discovered several irregularities. By then Africanus Freeman had already assumed full duty as cash officer at the bank’s Duala branch,” the state second witness claimed.“Before discovering the discrepancies,” Okoro alleged, “co-defendant Freeman had already informed the bank’s head treasurer that he had deposited over L$54 million mutilated cash into the vault, which information the head treasurer posted against the bank account with the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).”He told the court that Freeman was the staff responsible to distribute and collect cash from all their branches and have said money sent to the bank’s head treasurer.Okoro further alleged that it was during the investigation, that they discovered that co- defendant Freeman managed to deposit an amount of L$13 million out of the L$54 million, which clearly showed that he did not deposit L$37 million as he claimed to have done.According to him, after the transfer of Freeman to Duala, they also noticed several shortages in the vault at the Central branch.“We also noticed that at the Duala Branch where Freeman was assigned there was a shortage and when we decided to investigate the head of operations, she told us that she left her own vault key with Freeman to attend to a family matter, “Okoro also alleged.He continued that, “Freeman also went to one of the bank’s money gram outlets and collected from one of the bank’s tellers there, Ekins Bettie, (deceased) and withdrew over US$248,000. The audit discovered that all of the money was posted by the defendant (Freeman) without showing any documentary evidence to that effect.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Treasurer discloses 7 years of returns

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant “The treasurer said all along he was planning on releasing his tax returns, and that’s what he’s done here today,” said Angelides campaign spokesman Brian Brokaw. “He’s running for governor now. That’s why he’s released his returns.” But the Westly campaign faulted Angelides for not releasing more returns, saying the public should know more about his private-sector activities before he took office. “He failed to provide information on his business dealings as a Sacramento land developer,” said Westly campaign spokesman Nick Velasquez. “That begs the question: What is he trying to hide?” Angelides was a real-estate developer and consultant in the Sacramento region before running for treasurer in 1998. He sold his business when he took office, but continued to earn millions of dollars in deferred payments from past services while treasurer, as well as substantial income from dividends, interest and capital gains. If elected governor, Angelides said Thursday, he will put his family assets into a blind trust, just as Schwarzenegger has done. Angelides’ returns indicate he gave about $210,000 to charity. As treasurer he earns around $138,000 a year, though his campaign said he took a voluntary 5 percent pay cut in 2003. SACRAMENTO – Under pressure from challenger Steve Westly, state Treasurer Phil Angelides revealed seven years of tax returns Thursday, saying he earned more than $11 million from investments and business interests and paid more than $3 million in taxes from 1998-2004. Angelides, who is battling state Controller Westly for the Democratic nomination for governor, released seven years of state and federal returns nearly six months after Westly released 10 years of returns. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger released his returns during the 2003 recall campaign, but has yet to do so as governor, though his campaign has said he will. Westly has been issuing frequent challenges to the treasurer to release his returns, but the Angelides campaign said Thursday’s release had nothing do with prodding from his rival. Reporters were allowed to view Angelides’ returns for 1998-2004 in his attorney’s office, but were not allowed to make copies. His campaign said the 2005 returns will be released when available. The release of the returns highlights the fact that all three major candidates for governor are multimillionaires – Angelides from real estate; Westly as a former executive of eBay who earned $225 million over the 10 years, mostly from stock sales; and Schwarzenegger is estimated to have made hundreds of millions of dollars from his movies, as well as business and real-estate interests. Political analysts noted when wealthy candidates release their returns, it benefits the public, but also reinforces the idea that they are in a far different socioeconomic class than average voters. “The fact that all of them have gazillions of dollars makes the average voter feel like they’re a separate class,” Barbara O’Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and the Media at California State University, Sacramento. “But they already think that. It just reinforces their feeling.” Harrison Sheppard, (916) 446-6723 harrison.sheppard@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more