By Jonathan Browne
The Management of Ecobank Liberia (Limited) seems trapped at the Ministry of Justice for its role in clearing a check valued at US$108,000 of which US$11,994.30 is yet to be accounted for since May 2019.
The check in question was issued by Cemenco Liberia in the name of Ambassador Osman Dukuly, which he took at Ecobank Via Town Branch on Bushrod Island for encashment.
Apparently frustrated from going back and forth with Ms. Geebe without getting any satisfactory explanation, he filed an official complaint to the Managing Director of Ecobank Liberia (Limited) on 11th Street, Sinkor on September 3, 2019.
“Ms. Tarlor Geebe of your Via Town branch handled the opening of my account, but she cannot give me any bank payment receipt of having paid me this amount, as she claims.
Also, my attempts at obtaining this information, both at Via Town and at your Sinkor branch, have been unsuccessful. Providing me with my records is an obligation of your bank, so I must have them!” The letter to Ecobank reads.
Still not pleased with responses from the bank, he complained to the Regulation and Supervision department of the Central Bank of Liberia, but suspended the matter, amid ongoing investigation, citing three counts: That in a meeting with Mrs. Erica Williams, on 4 December 2019, she allegedly refused to give him a copy of Ecobank’s answer to his complaint to enable him reply, quoting Mrs. Williams as saying the Central Bank ‘is not a court.’
According to him, Mrs. Williams kept him waiting for Ecobank’s representatives for over an hour in one of Mr. Smith Deko’s offices at the CBL, while she and Mr. Smith met with the bank’s representatives in her (Mrs. Williams’) office for nearly 15 minutes after which, he says she sent for him, only to inform him in few seconds that Ecobank had requested more time to search for additional documents and to bring more people (supposedly witnesses) to a further meeting, noting that Ms. Tarlor Geebe, the accused, was noticeably absent from the Ecobank’s delegation.
Explaining further, Amb. Dukuly says he subsequently wrote former Solicitor General Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus in a letter dated December 16, 2019, adding that Cllr. Cephus determined that the case is criminal in nature, following preliminary hearing, and transferred the matter to the Liberia National Police for criminal investigation.
The former Solicitor General and two other officials resigned from government after they were designated in August by the United States Treasury, under the Global Magnitsky Act for corruption.
He says the investigations at the LNP Headquarters were conducted by Superintendent Dash Wilson and a gentleman that was introduced as his principal deputy, whose name he cannot remember.
Ambassador Dukuly continues that to facilitate the investigation, Supt. Wilson asked the Judge of First Judicial Circuit, Criminal Court “A” to have original records of his entire account at Ecobank Liberia Limited subpoenaed, which was granted by the court.
“The subpoenaed documents show a photo of Ms. Tarlor Geebe and a minor Ms. Geebe identified as her daughter, Joanna Allen, as owner of the account. Ms. Tarlor Geebe had opened the account in Joanna Allen’s name with my
check!” He writes.
Criminal Court “A” of Montserrado County sitting in its November A.D. 2019 Term under Resident Circuit Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie issued a Writ of Subpoena Deces Tecum, commanding the Management of the Central Bank of Liberia to appear on Friday, 10 January 2020 to subpoena the Management of Ecobank Liberia and its annexes in and around Monrovia to provide original copies of spreadsheet for financial transactions executed on May 21, 2019, by all tellers assigned at Ecobank Via Town, including account opening package for Joanna Allen, believed to be ITF Account.
The court also requested for Amb. Osman Dukuly’s account statement for both Liberian and United States Dollars, covering May 21, 2019, to November 2019, a copy of the USD108,000.00 Cemenco check issued to him, deposits and withdrawal slips allegedly used by Mr. Dukuly to perfect transactions thru his Liberian and United States Dollars domiciled at Ecobank from May 21, 2019, to November 2019, including ten (10) copies of previous checks processed by Teller Matilda Ida Arthur prior to May 21, 2019, as well as Ecobank’s policy on check payment, teller limit for payment of cash to customer, and the bank’s internal investigation report about the alleged shortage of USD11,994.30 out of the US$108,000.
Amb. Dukuly: “Finally, because Ms. Tarlor Geebe let slip during the investigation that the criminal events surrounding my check occurred while she was preparing her daughter to be sent to her daughter’s father in the US, I ask the Ministry to inquire from the US Embassy in Monrovia if Ms. Tarlor Geebe’s request for a visa for Joanna Allen involved the use of my check.”
However, it appears that even the Police are not proceeding satisfactorily, so he has written the Office of the Solicitor General at the Ministry of Justice, asking for resumption of the case with Ecobank Liberia.
“I am writing to ask for a resumption of my complaint filed in the office of former Solicitor General Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus, against Ecobank Liberia Ltd. (Copy of letter attached)”, Amb. Dukuly’s latest communication dated November 21, 2022, to the Ministry of Justice reads.
President George Weah recently appointed a new Solicitor General, Cllr. Nyanati Tuan, who previously served as Deputy Minister for Codification.
Investigation into the case continues, as the matter has been retaken before the Ministry of Justice.