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JFK syndicate Busted!

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JFK syndicate Investigators here have busted a criminal syndicate at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, which have defrauded that health facility of over US126.000 and millions of Liberian dollars.

The group headed by JFK’s Accountant Patrick Konuwa, Boakai J. Varney , JFK’s Budget and Accounts Officer, and Arnous Rabeah, former IT and Database Supervisor of also of JFK allegedly used several individuals outside of the employ of the medical center to open accounts bearing initials seminar to that of the JFK at the First International Bank or FIB to divert insurance payments to the struggling hospital for their own benefits.

Members of the syndicate are said to include former employees of FIB -Clearing office James Ricks, and Customer Service Officer Lethia W. Waleh. Both helped to open the account at the bank bypassing all official processes to open such an account for deposits in the name of the hospital.

Other members of the group include Prince Jallah, a former hardware technician at the Central Bank of Liberia whose role was to print out fake central bank’s statement for the hospital. He also facilitated the encashment of all the checks issued by Konuwa; Grace Dolly Jallah, wife of Prince Jallah, former Executive Secretary to the CEO of JFK helped to recruit individuals in whose name checks were made.

The rest are Fahn F. Borbor, aliases John Fred Kennedy, Henry K. Sambolah, former Production Manager of the Women Voices Newspaper, Thomas G. Tellewoyan, alias John Franklin Kennedym GIS Assistant, World Resource Institute, Jerry D. Morlu, Caretaker, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, Ballah Holmes, Thomas Oliver Mezzeh, Benjamin WlayDargbe, Jr. and John Freeman Kennedy among others to be identified.

The list of the syndicate also includes money changes and scratch card dealers in whose names checks were either made or accounts were opened to make withdrawals. Between March 2015 and Janaury 2016 the syndicate defrauded the cash scrapped entity of over hundreds of thousands United States Dollars and millions of Liberian Dollars.

Prosecutors over the weekend issued a five counts indictment continuing multiple charges ranging from economic sabotage to theft of property, money laundering, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation.

Seven of the 15 indictees have already been arrested and detained at the Monrovia Cebtral Prison after failure to file bonds.

Under riot police escort Saturday, 2 April, court officers drove defendants Rebeah Arnaus, James Ricks, Fahn F. Borbor, Thomas G. Telewoya, Jerry D. Morlu, Wlay Dargbe, Jr. and Thomas Oliver Mezzeh at the Monrovia Central Prison or South Beach due to failure to immediately filed bonds when they were informed of their rights to do so at the Criminal Court “C”. 

Those still at large include defendants Patrick Konuwah, Boakai J. Varney, Lethia W. Waleh, Prince Jallah, Grace Dolly Jallah, John Fred Kennedy, Ballah Holmes, John Freeman Kennedy and others to be identified.

Under an alleged criminal scheme facilitated by Konuwa, Welah and Ricks, prosecutors say two personal checking accounts were opened at FIB with a purported name “John Freeman Kennedy”, using fictitious identification card.

Konuwa is said to have instructed several checks to be issued in the name of a purported “John F. Kennedy”, totaling LD$8,109,000.00; in the name of Ballah Holmes totaling LD$400,000.00; and other persons to be identified totaling LD$65,000.00; and US$4,900 to Jerry D. Morlu, then employee of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication .

Additionally, Konuwa is alleged to have conspired with CBL’s Hardware Technician Prince Jallah; JFK CEO’s former Executive Secretary Grace Dolly Jallah Women Voices Newspaper’s former production manager Fahn F. Borbor, and Henry K. Sambolah, Thomas Oliver Mezzeh, and defrauded JFK US$81,576.51.

Under this scheme, Konuwa allegedly prepared a fraudulent Check Book Request Order dated May 27, 2015, forged the signatures of Dr. Wvannie Scott-Macdonald and Ms. Munah Tarpeh, General Administrator and Chief Executive Officer and Deputy for Administration respectively.

In this syndicate, prosecutors say checks were deposited in the name of State-run John F. Kennedy Medical Center, received by Konuwa on behalf of the hospital before diverting and depositing them into the bogus “John Freeman Kennedy” at FIB.

After deposits are made Konuwa is said to then go ahead and withdraw the money through the issuance of several checks from the account other members of the syndicate for encashment.

On August 28, 2015, former FIB employee Lethia W. Waleh allegedly opened the first Liberian Dollars or LD checking account #00.101-018306-01 in the name of “John Freeman Kennedy” without any deposit being made to the account.

She also opened a USD checking account # 00-112-018306-0 in the name of John F. Kennedy without any deposit made and allegedly created the opportunity for the key player in the syndicate Konuwa and the purported John F. Kennedy to defraud the hospital.

Konuwa allegedly signed for and received from the Ministry of Finance, government’s Central Bank Cheque #0000579 in the amount of LD$6,989,266.80 and Cheque # 00001290 in the amount of LD$8,066,889.60, respectively.

This alleged grand scheme was facilitated by James Ricks, allowing Konuwa to deposit two cheques #00.101-018306-01 in the name of John F. Kennedy held at FIB on October 2, 2015 and November 26, 2015 respectively.

Upon receipt of Checks # 0000579 containing LD$6,989,266.80 and Check # 00001290 with amount LD$8,066,889.60 from the Ministry of Finance, he initially took the checks to the John F. Kennedy Medical Center and had his boss Mrs. Serina Gbaba endorsed them at the back “For Deposit only into JFK Medical Center’s LD Subsidiary account # 01-206-300065-02 at the Central Bank.

But co-defendant Konuwa submitted two Central Bank deposit slips to Alice Seyon, Central Cashier, JFKMC, which was later discovered to be fictitious, suggesting that the two checks had been deposited in the John F. Kennedy Medical Center’s account at the Central Bank of Liberia.

He is also alleged to have received two cheques on behalf of JFK from Secure Risk on LBDI Check #00054390 containing LD$751,760.00 and Medicare Insurance Check # 218141 containing US$5,000.00 and had all issued to the hospital without informing the authorities in October, 2015.

James Ricks at all times was the one who took the checks issued in the name of the purported John F. Kennedy to teller Yassah S. Pewee to have the checks encashed and he would tell her that the purported John K. Kennedy was waiting upstairs, though it was Konuwa who was awaiting the cash to be delivered to him.

Jerry D. Morlu of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication allegedly used his working I.D. card issued by the Civil Service Agency to en-cash a US$4,900.00 cheque issued to him by the purported John F. Kennedy and converted the proceeds thereof to his personal use.

Also, defendant Ballah Holmes, a student of Lincoln College allegedly used his school I.D. card to en-cash LD$400,000.00 cheque issued to him by the purported John Freeman Kennedy, and converted the proceeds to his personal use.

By Winston W. Parley -Edited by Othello B. Garblah

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