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Ecobank Wants Evidence Augmented

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The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn LiberiaState lawyers representing Ecobank- Liberia are seeking directive from Criminal Court “C” to augment evidence against five employees indicted by the bank for allegedly stealing over $378,000.00 USD in 2011.

On account of the testimonies of first three witnesses, the prosecuting team subsequently requested the court for the second time on Tuesday permission to raise the amount to US$478,676.26 instead of the initial amount stated in the amended indictment.

Earlier, the prosecution’s amended indictment claimed that defendants Stanley Johnson, Glen Washington, David Yenego, Mandela Kaiser and Othello Smith allegedly stole US$378,676.26 through a double cash transfer scheme in May, June, August and November of last year.

The suspects allegedly engaged in transferring cash to Ecobank’s customers, including City Builders and Bah Corporation, and then used the same instrument to further transfer the same amount to the account of Ruth Sawmadal 12910412742011 opened in Grand Bassa County.

On September 5, 2012, Ecobank’s first witness OlufemiAdeleke claimed that besides the over US$378,000, an additional US$100,000.00 was discovered to have been transferred in two separate amounts to Yassa Afropong’s account.

State witness Yassa Afropong also testified on September 14, 2012 that US$50,000.00 was transferred to her account on separate dates reflecting US$100,000.00 and withdrawn upon the guidance of co-defendant Stanley Johnson. But in separate resistances, defense lawyers requested the court to ignore and deny  the submission by the prosecution on various grounds.

The counsels representing defendants Glen Washington, David Yenego, Othello Smith and Mandela Kaiser contended that by granting the state’s request, the court would be aiding the prosecution in establishing their case against the defendants.

“In the mind of the defense, the court’s breast as a twin [mother] should be stretched on the both sides if this court will deny the application for amendment of the indictment which eventually will cure the defects and variances in the testimony of witness OlufemiAdeleke and witness Yassa Afronpong,” said the counsels.

The defense, representing defendant Stanley Johnson, argued that the state’s request was an abuse of the description of statutory powers on grounds that the prosecution had the opportunity prior to the trial to amend the indictment “which the prosecution did prior to reading the indictment to the defendants.”

Defendant Stanley’s counsel further insisted that the prosecution’s second request to amend its evidence would deny the defendants their statutory rights and opportunity to plead to the indictment.

However, Judge Peter Gbenewleh reserved ruling for today, September 21, 2012 at 9am.

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