Several BHP Billiton Employees In US$78,600 Theft
By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy
The police have processed seven persons for court prosecution in connection with the commission of the crimes of criminal conspiracy, facilitation, forgery and theft of property for allegedly plundering over US$78, 000 from BHP Billiton’s Ecobank Liberia Account.
The police investigation carrying the details of offense for which Paye Gono, Roland Boayou, Patrick Williams, Prince Keylah, Abraham Flomo, Mondayma Railey and David Elliott now stand accused is said to be a violation of sections 10.4, 10.2, 15.50 and 15.51 of the reversed penal law of Liberia.
The complaint on which the police based their arrest and investigation was filed by the Ecobank Liberia Head of Security, Varney Kromah on behalf of the Bank; and the scheme of their plan became a success when on October 8, 2012, a check leaf # 2082449 in the amount of US$ 78, 600 was drawn against Ecobank’s customer, BHP Billiton brought for clearing in favor of REVO Enterprise, a customer of First International Bank (FIB).
Complainant Kromah informed the police that as per procedure, the check was cleared and the beneficiary, the REVO Enterprise account was credited while the management of Billiton was subsequently debited; this information was received by Billiton through Ecobank’s E-ALERT Program.
He said based upon the E-ALERT Program received, Billiton informed Ecobank Liberia that the over US$ 78, 000 transaction was fraudulent and did not represent their transactions. During the investigation following several arrests made by the police, it was said that defendant Gono admitted to the commission of the crime.
In his statement on the police charge sheet forwarded to court, defendant Gono said on October 12 to 17, 2012, in the presence of his legal counsel, Mamee Gongbah that he stole the cheque leaf from BHP Billiton cheaque book and passed same to defendant Boayou, a workmate.
Defendant Gono further told the police that he took the specimen of two of the signatories to Billiton’s account and handed it to defendant Baoyou to have same used as a means of carrying out their deal perfectly.
He also admitted to have received US$ 5, 000 from defendant Boayou who informed him that he was trying to get the balance of the total amount from defendant Williams’ FIB account. In defendant Boayou’s testimony in which he denied having any link with the transaction, he identified himself as a driver assigned in the transport department of the BHP Billiton.
Defendant Boayou told the police investigation that his job function is far from account or the finance section even though he admitted knowing defendants Williams, Keylah and Flomo. Defendant Williams, the owner of REVO Enterprise allegedly admitted that it was from his FIB account that the withdrawal was made.
Defendant Williams represented by Atty. Joseph Doe informed the police that the discussion on the transaction began since July, 2012 between defendants Gono and Boayou but Gono had refused to give the check leaf since his boss was out of the country.
He explained that defendant Gono’s boss returned to the country on September 26, 2012 and at the end of the month, defendant Boayou brought the check to him already signed with a face value of US$ 78, 600 on it.
Defendant Williams said on October 9, 2012, he received a call from defendant Gono that the transaction had gone through and based upon the information defendant Boayou went to him and both of them went to FIB but were informed that they could not withdraw until the next morning.
He said after leaving the bank, they went to Sinkor Airfield where they met defendants Flomo and Keylah in a vehicle, at which time all of them designed a plan to withdraw the money from his account and that was how the idea of placing the money in different categories were written from his check book to defendants Flomo and Keylah.
Defendant Williams alleged of giving defendant Flomo a check for US$ 25, 000 and defendant Keylah a check for US$ 14, 300 and a check issued defendant Boayou but without name in the amount of US$ 22, 000 respectively.
He said the following day defendants Flomo and Keylah made their transaction at the FIB and handed the money to defendant Boayou who proceeded to the Airfield to await him (Williams). By then he had also written a check of US$ 13, 300 in his own name and after withdrawing the amount he too went to defendant Boayou in the presence of defendant Keylah.
Defendant Williams admitted receiving US$ 8, 000 with the understanding for defendants Boayou that defendant Gono needed to be satisfied therefore the bulk of the money should go to him (Gono) with the information that another transaction of US$ 136, 000 was expected to take place.
Defendant Keylah told the investigation that he was only informed by defendant Williams to go to the FIB head office to make a withdrawal of US$ 14, 300 for the purpose of processing some vehicle documents.