19 August 2014

Liberia: Finance Ministry's Senior It Specialist Arrested - for Attempting to Defraud Govt. of Over U.S.$80,000

A Senior Information Technology (IT) specialist, identified as Daniel Roberts, employed with the Ministry of Finance has been arrested by the National Security Agency (NSA) for attempting to defraud the Government of Liberia, especially the Revenue Authority (LRA) of US$87, 486.00.

Suspect Roberts was arrested by officers of the National Security Agency on August 13, 2014, after authorities at the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) alerted the NSA about the act.

Suspect Roberts, who have already been forwarded to the Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice for prosecution, allegedly emailed a Canadian IT company, named Sogema Technologies Inc., based in Canada, requesting said company to refund a total US$87,486.00 out of funds paid to it by Government of Liberia for a project to be redirected toward a national emergency, the Ebola outbreak.

According to documents in the possession of the New Republic, the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Finance in 2010, needed a given computer software for its Revenue Department.

To address said situation, the Liberian government, through the Finance Ministry, contacted the Sogema Technologies Inc. to provide said software at a huge sum of undisclosed United States Dollars to the Canadian IT company.

Though suspect Roberts did not succeed in receiving the US$87,486.00, the documents which contained NSA's investigatory report said he (suspect Roberts) created a dubious account number 530330030004042 at the United Bank for Africa (UBA)-Liberia with beneficiary DR &N IT and Business Consultant to steal from the government.

Mr. Roberts, who has been charged with Forgery, Economic Sabotage, Impersonating as government official and Criminal Attempted theft, created the dubious account at the UBA to allegedly channel said amount through the account rather than the Government of Liberia's account through which all Liberian Government funds are channeled.

The NSA's report also indicated that the Finance Ministry senior Information Technology specialist allegedly forged the signature of Deputy Finance Minister for Revenue, Dr. James F. Kollie in requesting a refund of US$87, 486.00 from the Canadian IT company based in Canada.

Defendant Roberts, who is expected to exonerate himself from allegation brought against him by his employer (Ministry of Finance), is a project Manager and the most senior person in the Ministry of Finance Information Technology section.

Accordingly, he has detailed information about the administrative processes, funding, management and operation of the project involving Sogema Technologies and the Ministry of Finance.

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