Liberia’s desperation for loans to finance road projects nearly robbed the country of US$32 million through talks with dubious Sierra Leonean national James Lamin Kargbo that criminally got access to the country’s swift code and account number at the Federal Reserve, demanding transfer of US$32 million.
Briefing journalists about suspect Kargbo’s arrest on Friday, 7 December at the Liberia National Police (LNP) headquarters, Police Spokesman Moses Carter said the suspect has been engaged with government dubiously in the name of providing grant to the government for road construction.
President George Manneh Weah’s quest for roads across Liberia has pushed his administration into engaging a number of individuals and companies, including the signing of nearly a billion dollar agreement with controversial Singaporean financing firm Elton private limited and Burkinabe group EBOMAF which are yet to bring results.
Police say suspect Kargbo’s engagement with government led to the suspect getting access to the nation’s swift code and account number at the Federal Reserve, thereby requesting money from the Federal Reserve.
Police Spokesman Moses Carter says suspect Kargbo was arrested at 8PM on Thursday, 6 December at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning in Monrovia.
“And so it tells you that this suspect has been treading criminally,” he says, adding that the 41 year old Sierra Leonean national is being investigated for attempted theft, money laundering, fraud and impersonating officials, among other offenses.
According to police, suspect Kargbo is running a dubious company named MEGA Strategic Partner Limited that he uses to carry out the act.
The Sierra Leonean along with other accomplices to be identified has been having conversation via electronic media as well as appearing in person in Liberia under the canopy of giving Liberia a grant for road construction, the police say.
He told investigators that he has been giving grant to other African nations including Egypt and Sierra Leone for road construction.
Police narrate that while these discussions were going on between Kargbo and the Liberian Government, the suspect and his cohorts criminally got access to the country’s swift code, Liberia’s account number at the Federal Reserve.
They requested for a transfer of US$32 million from the country’s reserve account to be credited to an account owned by them. But the money was never credited into their account, according to the police.
In an attempt to further dupe the government, suspect Kargbo again arrived in Liberia and engaged the government in an attempt to further negotiate.
It was at this time that police say he was arrested at the Ministry of Finance and placed under investigation.
Efforts were made by journalists to get comment from the accused at the police headquarters, but he refused to speak to the allegations, saying the prosecution will tell.
Police say they take the investigation very seriously and will ensure that Kargbo and his accomplices are duly investigated.