20 September 2017

Liberia: Three Banks to Testify in Representative Candidate's Case

Photo: Premium Times
Symbol of law and justice.

Three banking institutions where prosecution alleged Montserrado County District#4 representative candidate Cecelia Siaway Teah allegedly withdrew US$72,500 from the accounts of Basilia Resource Group (BRG) for her personal use are expected to appear before Criminal Court 'C' today to provide information about Mrs. Teah's financial transactions at their institutions.

Defendant Teah allegedly helped to establish the company along with her partner Sunday A. Popoola, who is residing in the United States of America (USA), to engage in the diamond business in Liberia.

The appearance of the banks (United Bank for Africa, UBA; Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, LBDI; and International Bank Liberia Limited, IBLL) resulted from prosecution's persistent demands that they produce evidence that would help them convict Teah.

Madam Teah's trial comes just 20 days to the holding of the October 10 presidential and legislative elections.

The banks will be made to testify to financial transactions, including deposits and withdrawals, between the banks and Madam Teah from 2016 to 2017, at which times she was allegedly appointed to serve as BRG's Liberia representative with the responsibility to deposit and withdraw money from the corporation's accounts at those banks, although some of the banks have communicated with the court denying even interacting with the defendant.

Despite the banks' letters of denial for doing business with defendant Teah, they have been ordered by Judge Yussif Kaba to appear today to testify to the allegations.

Meanwhile, the District #4 representative candidate has written the court about her decision to cancel her retainer agreement with Atty. Joseph Doe on grounds that her lawyer has failed to adequately represent her legal interest during her first appearance.

Besides, Madam Teah's letter accused Atty. Doe of demanding a down payment of US$5,000 as legal fees; money her communication claimed she cannot pay.

Between 2016 and 2017, defendant Teah, the court document alleged, encouraged the company's chairman, Sunday A. Popoola, residing in the United States of America (USA), to appoint her as the group's Liberia representative with responsibility to deposit and withdraw money from the corporation's account at the United Bank for Africa (UBA)-Liberia Limited.

With her new position, the document claimed, Mr. Popoola on two separate occasions transferred US$32,000 and US$46,000, totaling US$78,000, to defendant Teah to deposit into the BRG account.

But the record alleged that out of the US$78,000, Teah withdrew US$44,000 from the company's account without being authorized to do so by Popoola.

Besides, the court record also alleged that US$25,000 and US$3,500 were entrusted to defendant Teah's care for the sole purpose of purchasing materials for the company, which money she allegedly converted to her personal use.

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