Liberia: Who Authorized Withdrawal of U.S.$3 Million From Ducor Petroleum's Account?

opinion

Associate Justice Jamesetta Wolokollie has begun investigating several senior lawyers and judges (names withheld) for their alleged involvement into the illegal withdrawal of over US$3 million out of the frozen Ducor Petroleum Account housed at the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI).

The is as a result of the July 22, 2013 communication addressed to the Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice of which a party to the ownership of the disputed Ducor Petroleum Inc accused the court of issuing an order that allowed the bank to pay the money to the other party.

The ownership dispute that led to the court action resulted when a Belgium national, Charles Carron, accused his then general manager, Amos Brousia, of allegedly stealing money realized from sales of petroleum products of the Monrovia Oil Trading Company to establish the Ducor Petroleum Inc, making him, Carron, the rightful owner of the Ducor Petroleum Inc. It is the accusation that Brousia rejected, thus leaving Carron to seek the court's action that caused the Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice to place the order on the financial transactions of the Ducor Petroleum Inc. at the LBDI.

In the court order dated July 15, 2013, a copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, which the Commercial Court requested the bank to receive and deposit into Ducor Petroleum Inc. account number 0221215153401 and also ordered that any and all transactions pertaining to the the account, especially deposits, withdrawals and checks, be stayed except deposits and withdrawals approved by the court and accompanied by a letter signed by the court; Brousia is claiming that without his knowledge the court instructed Carron to have access to the account, which subsequently led to the withdrawal of the money out of the disputed Ducor Petroleum Inc account.

The document prompting the withdrawal and investigation, dated July 22, 2013, is said to have been written by Carron and endorsed by the court. The letter said, "The stay order contained in the July 15, 2013 letter is adversely affecting ongoing operations of the Ducor Petroleum Inc. and it is a growing concern because the subject account at the LBDI is the principal account of the Ducor Petroleum Inc, established by all shareholders and is therefore not a subject of any dispute."

The letter further claims that since the suspension of Brousia as general manager and the appointment of the new management team headed by Carron, the subject bank account has therefore been used by the new management team to continue the business and normal operation of Ducor Petroleum openly and transparently, including funding the supply of petroleum products to customers and receiving checks in payment of products supplied on an ongoing basis.

"Unfortunately, the imposition and continuation of the stay order cannot permit any of the transactions required to continue the operation of the Ducor Petroleum Inc because it effectively prevents deposit checks and withdrawal of money deposited into my Ducor Petroleum Account prior to the July 15, 2013 letter which is not the subject of dispute," said Charles Carron in his letter. "Therefore, we request that the court kindly modify the July 15, 2013 communication and give due consideration to this request in order to return the operation of the account at least to its status quo immediately prior to the July 15, 2013 letter."

This is the communication that is currently being investigated to establish who wrote and how did the bank release the money and under whose authorization.

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