The Liberia National Police (LNP) has charged privately run Access Bank Liberia with multiple crimes including theft offenses, defrauding and cheating, obtaining money under false pretense and obtaining and issuing deceptive writings, after the bank abruptly blocked a loan it had disbursed to an applicant Mr. Weal Gharddien.
According to a police report, Mr. Gharddien, owner of Auto Elegance had in January this year applied to Access Bank Liberia for loan in the amount of US$50,000 and the loan agreement was subsequently satisfied and bank allegedly disbursed to Auto Elegance the amount of US$48,000 on 28 February.
According to Gharddien, earlier in January he had been approached by Access Bank’s Loan Officer Sonkarlay Gonkatee with an offer of US$50,000 credit facility.
Gharddien notes that he accepted the offer and entered into the loan agreement on 28 February, after which he says the bank opted to notarize the agreement and to return his company’s copy.
However, police say the bank has since failed and refused to give Gharddien’s copy of the notarized document, adding that after the complainant complied with the bank’s requirement, the money suggested to the bank has not been made available to the company, thus depriving his company access to its account.
According to the police report, prior to the receipt of the loan from Access Bank Liberia, money was in Auto Elegance’s account, and that after the US$48,000 loan was disbursed, the company had a cash balance of US$51,485.24.
Unfortunately for the management of Auto Elegance, police say when it issued a check leaf on 21 March to one Joyce Belleh Kermee to withdraw US$3,300 from the account of the institution, Access Bank did not honor the amount.
Further on 24 March, police detail that the entity also issued another check leaf to the same Joyce Belleh Kermee to be paid the cash amount of US$10,000, and Access Bank did not honor this as well.
Meanwhile police indicate that Access Bank’s Loan Officer Gonkatee allegedly admitted receiving US$650.00 from Mr. Gharddien and not US$1,000.
According to police, Mr. Gonkatee also allegedly wrote Mr. Gharddien stating that he (Gonkartee) was not responsible for what had happened regarding the loan.
Police found that Auto Elegance is not obligated to any financial institution reference loan or credit facility as per the record of the Central Bank of Liberia which must be the probable cause to block the loan after it has been disbursed to the applicant’s account.
The police add that the reliance of the investigation is drawn from policy of the bank under loan disbursement and loan interest calculation 2.4 which is in the possession of the investigation.
Additionally, the investigators say the loan agreement between Access Bank Liberia and Auto Elegance was consummated and accepted for which the bank is still in possession of the collateral of Mr. Gharddien.
In response to the NewDawn newspaper’s inquiry, the Management of Access Bank Liberia has written that specifically, Auto Elegance was required to execute its obligations under the Contract and as per Access Bank’s Credit Procedures.
The bank explains that Auto Elegance was made aware of those obligations and requirements in the Credit Facility Offer Letter dated 28 February 2020, which it notes, was duly received by Auto Elegance representatives and guarantors.
According to Access Bank, the Credit Facility Offer Letter contained the requirements on the Real Estate Collateral Contracts and Guarantee Contracts which were neither signed nor executed by the collateral provider as well as one of the guarantors as per committed obligations by them.
The bank details that it decided to apply its rights to cancel the credit facility and avoided unsecured high-risk loan.
It emphasizes that the banks are strictly regulated by the law and the Central Bank of Liberia, and regularly inspected and examined by various authorities in terms of well documentation, record keeping, compliance, and requirements.
Access Bank continues that it proceeds with the products and services only after full “KYC and AML,” and customer signed application for those products and services.
It says it also ensures that credit facility terms and conditions are communicated formally to customers in the form of Credit Facility Offer Letter and duly confirmed by them, including Auto Elegance.
Further, Access Bank states that it proactively broadcasts its mission, vision and principles and encourages its employees, communities and customers to report and feedback on any violation by employees or customers, adding that it takes each such report and feedback very seriously and always addresses it within the strict definition of the law and regulations.
However, this was not the first time Auto Elegance had been given a loan facility at the bank. In fact this was his second facility from the bank, this is why Mr. Gharddien found the explanation given by the bank so fishy and more that even denying him access to his company’s account.