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GSA employees steal 400 bags of cement

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Police investigators have charged several employees of the General Services Agency or GSA with theft of property and criminal facilitation in connection with alleged stealing of 400 bags of cement that were left over after the completion of a project. The bags of cement were reportedly kept in a warehouse at the GSA compound in Monrovia.

Those charged include the entity’s acting director for public building and maintenance, Peter A. Smith; warehouse supervisor J. Tarnue Kessely; Franklyn Carter, Sonkarley Barley and James Horveh. 

But police say four other employees of the GSA, including Matthew Borbor, Edward Poka, Logan Mehnlee and Martin David restituted L$500.00 that each of them received from Sonkarley Barley out of the proceeds of the stolen cement, saying they were innocent.

The charge sheet says on March 11, GSA’s in-house lawyer Cllr. William D. Barclay, reported to the Liberia National Police or LNP an alleged theft of 400 bags of cement value about US$3,000, which belong to the entity.

The counsel had informed the police’s Crime Services Department or CSD that the cement had been stock-parked in GSA’s warehouse at the motor pool located on the GSA Road in Paynesville, outside Monrovia. The lawyer had said the GSA’s in-house investigation established from one of its drivers, Prince Harding that suspect Sonkarley Barley and others stole the cement in question and allegedly sold them to a businessman along the Somalia Drive on 25 February.

Cllr. Barclay submitted to the police a list of 22 persons, who were allegedly involved in the syndicate, which prompted investigators’ visit of the crime scene on the GSA Road. Police said they found that theft and criminal conspiracy were committed by suspects Smith, Barley, Horveh, Kessely and Carter, adding that five GSA Security Officers who were on duty conspired and facilitated the crimes.The police argued that GSA Officers Mark G. Saywah, James S. Edward, Henry J. Yanquoi and Jallah Kollie conspired and facilitated the theft of property committed by the GSA employees on grounds that they witnessed the act and allowed the cement bags passed through their check point.

The officers also allegedly failed to arrest and report the matter to their authorities. “That 400 bags of cement were actually stolen on grounds that documentary evidence proved that 400 bags of cement were left over in the warehouse after the project was completed but none was seen during the crime scene inspection by investigators after the commission of the theft,” police said.

The suspects allegedly loaded the cement onboard a truck, and police say a witness identified as Ernest Massaley also linked suspects Smith and Carter, narrating that he Massaley was present when Smith told suspect Sonkarley to be careful when taking the cement out of GSA fence.

Police however concluded that the investigation lacks evidence to link six of the suspects to the crime, including Michael Karr, Bill King, Yeanga Brown, Dayton Gbartu and Joe M. Payne.

By Winston W. Parley-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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