The Executive Director of a local non-governmental organization (NGO), SMILE AFRICA Int’l, Lionel Johnson and a co-worker, Kadiatu Kamara Johnson have been declared wanted by the Monrovia City Court after the two defendants reportedly abandoned their homes and the NGO following the issuance of a writ of arrest from court on charges of issuing ‘bad checks.’
The defendants, according to court sources have been in hiding since the writ of arrest was issued recently by the Monrovia City Court demanding the living bodies of Lionel Johnson and Kadiatu Kamara Johnson.
The court reached the decision following multiple complaints that the SMILE AFRICA INT’L’s operators took huge worth of goods from several local businesses amounting to some huge sum of United States dollars, and in an attempt to settle their indebtedness they issued bad checks, meaning all the checks they presented bounced.
Some of the victims explained that they made several attempts by informing the organization that the signed and stamped checks that were issued them were bad (they bounced), and therefore requested that the organization settle their account problem and reissue the checks.
Accordingly, the SMILE AFRICA”s operators failed to address the victims concerns, and even refused to pick their phone calls and also closed down their local NGO office, something which prompted the legal action.
The alleged act, according to court records was unlawful, wicked and intentional; and is therefore in violation of section 15.58 of the new penal code of Liberia.
The court records further states that Lionel Johnson and Kadiatu Kamara Johnson, both of the SMILE AFRICA INT’L, issued two Ecobank checks in January and March of 2013 respectively in the amount of US$10, 272 and US$16,000 totaling the amount to US$26,272.
Defendants Lionel and Kadiatu have reportedly used the name of the organization to extort money from individuals under the pretext of providing traveling documents including US visa amongst others. The defendants are yet to be seen.