The Inquirer (Monrovia)

25 February 2013

Liberia: In FIBank Fraud Case

Investigation conducted by this paper has revealed the involvement of several executives of the First International Bank in the over US$1 million fraud case being investigated by state security. Documents in the possession of this paper and some insiders of the FiBank disclosed that the fraud is indeed ongoing at the bank but with the consent of several bank officials including the Acting Managing Director, the IT Specialist among others.

According to an insider source, some of those behind the fraud at the bank include, the head of Audit, head of Risk, Comptroller, the Acting Managing Director, the Account Officer and the head of IT.

According to our inside source, the bank is operating an account known as Lease Hold Account. Sources said the account is opened at the five branches of the bank beginning with the main branch (head office) under account #00, 01 for Buchanan, 02 for Red Light branch, 03 Sinkor, 04Clara Town branch and 05 for the Duala branch.

Information obtained by this paper said this account is being used clandestinely and dubious purposes with the consent of the Acting MD and other officials. The Lease Hold Account according to sources is for the operation of the bank including the construction of new branches and other relevant activities to be undertaken by the bank but has been abused by some officials.

Our source said the Lease Account is not being used for the intended purpose but being used by those officials to enrich themselves. Our information revealed that about US$1million is placed in the account when in fact at least US$3 to US$500,000 should've been there for operation. The source said these bank officials have been using the Lease Hold Account for many years thus, causing the bank to sustain serious lost.

According to inside sources, another account at the bank is the Salary Advance Account. Our sources said this account is for employees who want salary advance to be deducted from the salary but some officials of the bank are taking over US$20 to US$50,000 without refunding the money something that is causing huge lost to the bank.

Our inside sources described the Salary Advance Account as the worst account in the bank as only 50 percent of once salary should be credited from this account but the officials are more than double what they received as salary.

Sources said another account that is depleting the FiBank is the Global Alliance Account. Our sources said this account is being secretly run by the Acting MD. According to them under this account, the MD signs approval or authorization for withdrawal by his special customers. Report says over US$2 million has been withdrawn from the Global Alliance Account in dubious act.

Documents in the possession of this paper revealed what our sources referred to as some of the dubious activities ongoing at the FiBank. Financing fees IRO sourcing FD GOLF amount to US$4,807.22; payment facilitation of new deposit amounts to US$4,500 another payment for facilitation of new deposit US$4,500; payment for facilitation of MKTG initiatives US$4,500, payment of enhancing of marketing initial, US$4,500; financing fees for fixed deposit US$24,566.85; payment for enhancing of MKTNG, US$4,500; technical fees to FiB Group of,US$46,500; and payment for hosting corporate and guest, US$4,500 and US$2,00 respectively and many other 'dubious' transactions at the bank, according to inside sources.

The sources further disclosed that though officials of the bank are involved in the fraudulent transactions at the bank only tellers and three supervisors who acted upon instruction from their bosses are being questioned by police.

Our sources said some of the affected individuals have vowed to expose those involved in the fraudulent act at the bank as only few persons are being taken to police. Meanwhile, investigation into the FiBank fraud case continues.

Police in Monrovia have been investigating some employees at the bank in connection to over US$1million criminal syndicate at the First International Bank (FI Bank).

Security sources informed this paper that the six employees of the FiBank on Broad and Johnson Streets include three males and three females. Our security sources said those involved are currently in police custody undergoing investigation.

The bank management has confirmed the syndicate but said they could not speak on the issue in detail since it was undergoing police investigation. The bank management said more persons could be implicated and the suspects will be forwarded to court for legal prosecution.

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