LTA Allegedly Loses Over US$400,000 To Fraud

By Edwin G. Wandah

The Grand Jury for Montserrado County has indicted Hussein Daklob, Joe Touma, alias Joseph Philip Touma and Chidi (to be identified) for the commission of the crimes of Theft of Property and Economic Sabotage.

According to the two-count indictment, the three named defendants during the months of March up to November 2013, with the intent to defraud the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) purposely and knowingly engaged themselves in the use of SIM Box and other equipment to terminate international calls resulting to the loss of government’s revenue.

The indictment further attributed the alleged acts of the defendants to the loss of at least 1, 665, 008, 46 minutes per calls valued at US$466, 201 that were terminated.

The defendants are also accused of using the said SIM Box and other equipment to receive incoming international calls and converting same to a local call, thereby terminating character call and making it possible for only the number of a local GSM company (name not mentioned), which SIM card is being used at the time to appear on the receiver’s screen.

The indictment also explained how the defendants in the wake of the crime procured several SIM cards of various local GSM companies operating in Liberia to enhance the criminal process thereby grossly reducing the amount to be paid to government and other partners.

For the commission of Theft of Property, the grand jury said the property stolen valued at over US$50, 000, 00, was acquired or retained to commit a first or second degree felony crime.

At the same time, the indictment said the act of the defendants is contrary to 4 LCLR, Title 26, Section 15.51(a), and 4 LCLR, Title 26, Section 2.2(a) and (b), and 4 LCLR, Title 26, Section 15.6(a), (b), (e), (g), and (k), 4 LCLR, Title 26, Section 15.54, of the statutory Laws of the Republic of Liberia.

Also, for Economic Sabotage, the Grand Jury again found the defendants guilty which accordingly violates the Chapter 15, Sub-chapter F, Section 15.80 (a), (b), and (c) of the New Penal Law of Liberia, Title 26, Liberia Codes.