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Travel ban belated!

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Port suspects abscond justice

By Othello B. Garblah

The travel ban placed on several government officials linked to corruption here appears to be belated, as this paper has learned that some of the suspects named on the travel restrictions list had left the country earlier before the ban order was issued.

A source hinted this paper Sunday that Mr. Charles McArthur Gull who recently admitted to stealing US$300,000 from the Buchanan Port coffers in Grand Bassa County along with his Chief Statistician Amara Kamara are believed to be in the United States.

Monrovia City Court Judge Jomah S. Jallah over the weekend issued an order banning the suspects, which include former Liberia Airport Authority Managing Director Bishop Alan Klayee, his suspended Chief Financial Officer George D. Yuoh, suspended Water and Sewer Managing Director, Duwana Kanara, and the two Buchanan Port officials from leaving the country.

The order is intended to keep all of the suspects within the territorial space of Liberia until the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission or LACC’s investigations are over.

Mr. Gull, last week admitted stealing US300, 0000 from the coffers of the Port of Buchanan, though sources told this paper that the actual amount was understated by US600, 000 and could have been US1.2M, had Mittal Steel not raise the alarm.

How did it happened?

Sources told this paper that Gull and Kamara had been issuing invoices to Mittal Steel for payment from their operations at the Port of Buchanan using a fake UBA account instead of the Port’s Account to divert the fund.

This paper gathered that the steel company had made three different payments on three invoices at US300, 000 on each payment into this account before noticing that the account to which these payments were being made did not match that of the Buchanan Ports account.

The source said US200, 000 of this amount was transferred through an individual bank account at UBA on Broad Street Sniper Hill.

ArcelorMittal’s response to New Dawn

When this paper asked concerning the transactions, the company forwarded the below statement to the paper.

“ArcelorMittal Liberia confirms that it was approached by the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) regarding an ongoing investigation into allegation of diversion of funds paid for use of the Port of Buchanan to export iron ore.

As a law-abiding business and a company with a zero-tolerance anti-corruption policy, ArcelorMittal Liberia affirms its fullest cooperation with authorities.”

LACC boss Cllr. Edward Martins

Cllr. Edward Martins told this paper on Sunday that the LACC has invited Gull to come to its offices to answer some questions but he has been dodgy. “Since we invited him (Gull) he has been dodging,” he said.

He appeared surprised when told that Gull and his Chief Statistician Kamara-two of the suspects on the travel ban list issued over the weekend were already in the United States.

However, he was confident that if indeed the information about the two Buchanan Port suspects were true, a recent commitment from the US Embassy near Monrovia to support the LACC in its corruption fight could be tapped into to get the suspects extradited back home to face justice.

“We hope to work with through the U.S Embassy to have them extradited because the U.S Government has promised full support to us to fight corruption,” Cllr. Martins said Sunday.

So, we believed that once extradition proceedings are completed in the court, we will have them back in Liberia,” he added.

He said the LACC is considering going beyond the suspects mentioned here to include all those that have been mentioned or linked to audit reports that have somehow left the territorial space of the LACC will be brought back to face the law.

Cllr. Martins a former Montserrado County Attorney took over the LACC about three weeks ago. He explains that the issues of the allegations of misappropriation and misapplications of funds at the Liberia Airport Authority, Water and Sewer Corporation, National Transit Authority, and the Port of Buchanan have been on his desk and that all those involved are undergoing investigations.

“We have started recovering some of the records for mismanagement and misappropriation. We can’t conclude now (that is on the total amount involved) but we aspect the Government of Liberia to aid us in getting the actual amount.” Cllr. Martins added.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/port-of-buchanan-managers-admit-to-stealing-300k/

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