The persistent burglaries engulfing Ecobank-Liberia may just be diminishing its credibility. News reports of Sunday’s burglary at Ecobank-Paynesville and the disappearance of US$40,000 from the bank’s Sinkor branch recently may also be enough to begin scaring customers.
Despite the ability of the bank to replenish stolen money on a number of occasions, eye-brows continue to be raised.
“TheseEcobank people are getting us scare. From time to time, this one bank, every month some kind of money business must happen. It is very worrisome for us customers,” Patience Sackie, a Liberian business woman in the commercial district of Paynesville Red Light told the New Dawn on Sunday at the burglarized Ecobank office.
In separate telephone calls to the New Dawn following its Monday, September 27, 2010 publication of a front page lead story captioned: Ecobank Burts Into, a number of individuals claiming to be customers threatened to close their accounts with the bank in the wake of the prevailing situations.
“I’m saddened by these reports and these are the facts, my brothers. For the past two years, this stealing business has been in this one Ecobank here. What will we do now?” noted Mohammed Amara Conneh during his conversation with this paper.
Their assumption may be that because nothing punitive is done to those criminalizing Ecobank, that is why there’s always theft.
Inside sources at Ecobank-Randall and Ashmun Streets confided in the New Dawn that for the purpose of protecting the image of the bank, the management decided to keep most of these crimes against the bank “behind the curtains.”
Criminals reportedly burst into the bank’s Paynesville branch, making away with at least two hundred thousand United States dollars on Sunday, September 26.
An investigation conducted by this paper suggested that the “operation” was coordinated and executed from a store, under the corporate name CEM International Limited owned by a Nigerian National (name still not disclosed).
It was from CEM International Limited that the criminals burst into the Lone Star-GSM office, where they took 250-thousand United States dollars, and then onto COMIUM’s, where they made away with 200-thousand United States dollars, along with ten cartoons of scratch cards before entering the bank with which it shares the same partition (walls).
An Information officer at Ecobank, Garrison Barh, could not make any comments to journalists on Sunday in Paynesvile because preliminary investigations were in progress. Barh, however, assured journalists that comments would be made following the investigations through the various telephone contacts given him.
When contacted by telephone, the branch manager of Ecobank-Paynesville, Kola Adeleka, and another Nigerian National, accepted The New Dawn call, but canceled the call as soon as the interview began. Efforts to restore contact did not materialize as his phone rang endlessly.
When contacted again yesterday as a follow-up to the investigation, Ecobank Information office Garrison Barh rained insults on The New Dawn, describing its staff as “stupid and fuck-up journalists.”
Meanwhile, there are reports that at least 6-person have been arrested by state security in connection with last Sunday stealing at the Paynesvile Red Light branch of Ecobank-Liberia. The names or identifies of those apprehended were not yet know up to press time.