18 December 2018

Liberia: James Lamin Korboi Remanded in Custody

Defendant Korboi, a Sierra Leonean is being jailed because he could secure a bond.

James Larmin Korboi, a Sierra Leonean national who was said to have held a series of confidential discussions with authorities of both the ministries of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and State for Presidential Affairs (MSFA) that led to his alleged attempt to withdraw US$32,835,654.14 from the account of the Manna World Holding Trust Funds to Liberia was remanded in custody at the Monrovia Central Prison on Monday, December 17, 2018.

The Manna World Holding Trust to Liberia is a company that holds Liberia's development and road construction fund. A document obtained from the Monrovia City Court about the Trust Fund claimed that it had in its possession over US$5,914 billion for road construction and development initiatives in the country.

It was out of that money that Korboi allegedly conspired with several other defendants to dupe the government of US$32,835,654.14. The document failed to give further details and ownership of Manna World Holding Trust.

Instead, it alleged that Korboi, shortly after he failed to convince the ministries to withdraw US$32, 835,654.14, with wicked and criminal intent organized several discussions, this time with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, to withdraw US$5,914 billion from Manna World Holding Trust, following which police arrested him.

Court records claimed that the Liberia National Police arrested Korboi on December 5, 2018, at the offices of Minister Samuel Tweah where he had gone to hold a meeting with the minister.

It was not disclosed yesterday as to what prompted Korboi's arrest, but details from the court's record said Korboi had earlier introduced himself as an executive of Maga Strategic Partners Limited, a construction company, to senior staffs of both ministries. He Said he had come to the country with an unspecified amount of money to help support President George Weah's Pro-poor Agenda, especially in the areas of road construction and other development initiatives.

It was due to an alleged introduction of his company's intent to invest in the country that afforded him the opportunity to hold discussions with senior staffs at the two ministries.

Despite holding discussions with both ministries, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), according to the document, claimed that Maga Strategic Partners Limited did not exist. As such, it was a "bogus construction company."

Korboi was sent to the Monrovia Central Prison yesterday, shortly after he appeared in court for the first time because he could not afford a bond.

However, his crimes, which included criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation, impersonation of officials, forgery and attempted theft of property, qualify him (Korboi) for a bail.

It was also reported that in early 2018, Korboi conspired with his cohorts to defraud the Liberian government of US$32,835,654.14 intended for road construction and development initiative.

The record claimed that out of deception, Korboi allegedly manipulated the system through electronic means and requested 13 transactions of transfer amounting to US$32,835,654.14 from several accounts belonging to the government and which were placed in local banking institutions outside of the country.

"The defendant criminally attempted to deprive the country of that money but was aborted," the court records noted on the first attempt by Korboi to allegedly withdraw from the Road Construction Trust Funds.

Authors

Abednego Davis

Liberia

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