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Ecobank Employees’ Defense Split

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Five employees of Ecobank-Liberia indicted in 2011 for allegedly stealing over US$178,000.00 witnessed their divided legal counsels at Criminal Court “C” struggling to obtain court’s permission to separately cross-examine state’s first witness Olufemi Adunkle.

Argument began at the Temple of Justice Wednesday when defense lawyer Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson insisted to separately cross examine Ecobank’s Head of Internal Audit Olufemi Adunkle, who had already been cross-examined by one of the defense counsels Lavala Karboi Johnson.

Cllr. Johnson said he only represents co-defendant Stanley Johnson in the proceedings.

But the prosecuting team, including Cllr. Theophilous T.C. Gould resisted Cllr. Arthur Johnson’s request on grounds that throughout the proceedings, the defense lawyers had allegedly been presenting themselves as a team.

Cllr. Gould contended that in as much as they did not make things explicit as to whether they had separate clients in the proceedings, they must not therefore be allowed to separately cross examine a witness.

Prior to the production of witnesses by the state last week, defense counsel Arthur Johnson sought a separate trial for co-defendant Stanley Johnson, but the court denied same.

Cllr. Johnson had contended that his client’s area of assignment and responsibilities were separate and far from those of Glen Washington, David Yenego, Mandela Kaiser and Othello Smith’s and therefore, denied evidence of any ‘joint criminal emperor’.

Ecobank Liberia claimed that in May, June, August and November 2011, the defendants allegedly stole US$378,676.26 through double cash transfer scheme, first to Ecobank’s customers, including City Builders and Bah Corporation, and then to a personal account, bearing account number 12910412742011 owned by Ruth Sawmadal, opened in Grand Bassa County.

Meanwhile, Court “C” Judge Peter Gbenewleh said if past records in the proceedings show that the defense had been representing separate interest in the case, then discussion will be made during the next proceedings.

He however observed that the defense had been objecting for all of the defendants in the dock jointly as if they were a team, saying “I’m just knowing that now…”

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