LIBERIA: In over US$900,000 Theft Case, Kailondo opens up – challenges GT Bank

Liberian Businessman, George Kailondo

The President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Kailondo Group of Companies, Cllr. George B. Kailondo, has opened up in the ongoing trial Republic of Liberia by and thru Kailondo Petroleum Incorporated, and thru its Chief Executive officer, George B. Kailondo, Plaintiff versus Guaranty Trust Bank (GT Bank) Liberia Limited, by and thru its Manager Ikenna Anekwa, deputies, others of the City of Monrovia, Defendants for the crimes of Theft of Property, Misapplication of Entrusted Property and Criminal Conspiracy.

The Kailondo Group of Companies, which are dully registered under the laws of the Republic of Liberia, include the Kailondo Petroleum Inc., Kailondo Hotel, Kailondo Transport Service, Kailondo Service Stations, Kailondo and Associates Law Firm, Partner and Co-owner of Executive Inn Hotel and Kailando Microfinance.

GT Bank has been dragged to court on allegation of over Nine Hundred Thousand United States Dollars reportedly taken from Cllr. Kailondo’s Petroleum company’s accounts with the bank. But the bank has since rejected the allegation.

Accordingly, Cllr. Kailondo, while responding to Defense Lawyers inquires recently during the height of his testimonies as Prosecution First Witness at the Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, said that in the instance case no vessel was shipped by Eco fuel with 5,000 metric tons on it for Kailondo Petroleum as claimed GT Bank.

“So it is laughable for a financial institution like GT-Bank to make this court to believe that they brought in a vessel with 5,647 metric tons on behalf of Kailondo Petroleum, I challenge the bank to show the name of the vessel that brought that product, the date, a copy of the qualitative and qualitative report for that LC, if they have one,” Witness Kailondo further told the open court.

“ Mr. Witness, prosecution exhibit p/1-in-bulk, which you identified, testified to and confirmed, contains on its face the insertion date and time of issuance of the LC for the 3.3million representing the 5,000 metric tons of PMS as follows: “ACK/NAK RECEPTION DATE/TIME 2015/01/08 13:55:49.”Am I correct in the petroleum industry there is an insertion date for the LC and maturity date for the bank to fulfill its obligation on demand?”

Witness Kailondo responded: “ In the petroleum industry if this transaction was done the right way, the supplier should have brought in a vessel with Kailondo Petroleum as a consignee, a bill of lading of qualitative and quantitative report prepared by LPRC, presented to the bank to inform the bank that there was an increment of over 10% in surplus by the supplier and the supplier will furnished as to the total increase quantity that surpasses the 10%. That the buyer will furnish the bank informing that yes indeed there was an increase of over 40% and therefore the value of LC should increase.

Not only that, the supplier will send a new invoice to the buyer indicating the amount for the increment and buyer will present same to the bank. But as stated about, this people had an agent that gave us this product in bits and pieces. But not only, the bank had made us to believe from January of 2015 that only 3.3 million was paid for that transaction, we never knew until 2020 that an additional 168,000 plus have been taken from our escrow account.”

“Mr. Witness, is it true that during your discussion with the bank in respect of this transaction immediately prior to the initiation of this action or thereabout, the defendant presented to Kailondo petroleum a swift message from the supplier (ECOFUEL), indicating the maturity date, the plus minus torrent percentage and the counter value of 3,464,999.55 United States Dollars as the counter value paid on maturity date?”

Witness Kailond further responded: “No, as stated earlier the agent that was responsible for the issuance of the LC knew that Eco fuel had an agent on the ground: the agent of the bank was responsible for issuance of the LC knew that ECOFUEL has an agent on the ground and this product was given in bits and pieces. And they also knew that ECOFUEL was not bringing no vessel on our behalf. Therefore, when maturity date reached for the payment of the LC 3,300,000.00 was shown to us as the final payment for the LC.”

:Mr. Witness, you are not responsive. My earlier question to you is , is it true in the petroleum industry as applied to the issuance of a letter of credit, there is an insertion date for the insurance of letter of credit and maturity date for the payment of the value plus or minus the torrent percentage.”

He continued: “Yes. In the industry whereby an LC is issued by the bank on behalf of a buyer, the supplier brings in a vessel. I stated earlier, LPRC the custodian or the intermediary between the buyer and the seller will conduct a Q & Q report. From that report, the supplier and the buyer will know the total quantity that was shipped into the country, the bank is informed about the Q&Q report before even one gallon is sold from that consignment.

It is based upon that report that both the supplier and the buyer will determine whether there was a plus minus standing or above that will necessity for either an increment or deduction in the value of the LC. By that means, let assume that you was bringing 5,000 metric tons of PMS but you went you brought 4,500 metric tons, it is only from that Q&Q report that LPRC will prepare, present it to the buyer, furnished the agent of the supplier along with the bank and an new invoice sent by the buyer to the bank that will necessity the value of the money that they will paid.”

He pointed out that no bank will just wake up without no Q&Q report which is very important all over the world in the supply of petroleum product.

“To increase the value of the LC without the various stapes I stated about. Once again, no Q&Q report was prepared: I challenge the Defendant to name the vessel that brought in the PMS, a copy of the Q&Q report, stating the total quantity that was in excess and the bid of lading.

All the above are cardinal and very important aspect of importation of petroleum products all over the world. It is by that means the supplier and the buyer know the value of the product, the volume and the quantity of the product and the quantity that makes it easier for suppliers from any part of the globe to supply anywhere in the world. In addition, I want to inform the lawyer of the defendant that two LCs were issued by the same bank with the difference of 10 to 12 days.

The second LC had the name , the quantity of the product, the quality of the product. If you go to LPRC right now, that information is available: the time of arrival of the vessel, the Q&Q report, the date when the Q&Q was prepared, the date when it was posted on the stock sheet of LPRC for us to commence selling.

But with the 3.3 million LC, nothing of that nature was done. There was no Q&Q report, there was no vessel brought on my behalf, there was no bid of lading on my behalf. The question to the defendant is, how could they pay an additional of USD$ 168,000 plus on my behalf without all these procedures. They did other LCs which I did not challenge because they paid the exact value of those LCs.”

“Mr. Witness, you were not also responsive to my earlier question. That question is, is it true that the Defendant/Bank presented to you in writing, immediately prior to the filling of this action, the swift message from the supplier ( ECO FUEL) on maturity date of the LC, stating the counter value of the maturity date of the LC, the supply and receipt of 5,647.72 metric tons of MPS instead of the initial 5,000 as evidence of the payment of 3,464,999.55?”

“Mr. Witness, please look at the prosecution’s exhibit P/3-in-bulk containing five(5) sheets and clarify or confirm whether this statement of account is Kailondo Petroleum’s statement of current account domiciled at GT-Bank?

Witness Kailondo: “The current account statement marked P/3-in-bulk is the statement from January 1, 2014 to August 18, 2020. In this account are some of the dubious debits one of its being USD$ 62,500.00 that was dubiously debited on October 29, 2015 and the bank agreed to reverse the entry in 2020.

Additionally, there is also another USD$ 24,717.80 dubiously taken from us on the 30th of November, 2016. Another amount of USD$ 50,000.00 taken from us on December 15, 2016. Another amount of USD$ 50,000.00 taken from us on the 3rd of January 2017. Another amount of USD$40,000.00 whereby GT-Bank out of my personal account I paid them USD$ 40,000.00 instead of increasing my money by 40,000.00, my balance for that statement was USD$98,447.87. I deposited my own cheque drown on their bank, GT-Bank.

Instead of increasing account they decreased my balance of USD$96,447.87. another amount of USD$15,500.00 was taken from our current account sent to sometime deposit and today we do not know what became of our time deposit with the same said bank and this account speaks, all the dubious accounts speaks for themselves.”

“Mr. Witness, you testified to reconciliation of Kailondo Petroleum account at GT-Bank following GT-Bank claim of Kailondo Petroleum iindebtedness to it. Am I correct to say that Kailondo Petroleum was represented at the various meetings of the reconciliation process.”

He answered: “Yes we have our representative at the reconciliation and only our representative were present, but took note of everything that were agreed by all parties and when times comes you will get to know about that other one.”

“Mr. Witness, in addition to the notes that was taken, is it true that he signed the minutes of each day sitting.”

He further answered: “To the best of my knowledge they signed whatever that they agreed upon.”

“Mr. Witness, you further testified to the signing of a November Agreement between the bank and Kailondo Petroleum for a little over USD$791,000.000 Am I correct to say that Kailondo Petroleum defaulted in the terms of payment of the little over USD$791,000.00?”

Witness Kailondo: “I do not know the name of the employee. But the defendant wrote admitting to its wrong doing for example exhibits A&B and not only that, the cross examiner himself knows that the defendant criminally wrong us.”

“Mr. Witness, is it true that on January 8, 2016, Kailondo Petroleum deposited a cheque drawn on ECOBANK Liberia Limited (#29) into its account at GT-Bank?”

Witness Kailondo: “ Yes, based upon this statement infront of me marked exhibit “C/1” shows a deposit of cheque of USD$50,000.00 and the cheque number was #29.”

“ Mr. Witness, by that answer, am I also correct that cheque #29 was returned to the issuing bank and Kailondo Petroleum for insufficient funds?”

“No. if you see the statement on the second page, the cheque for the reversal number is totally different from cheque #29. So they could not be the same cheque, they are two different numbers,” Witness Kailondo accentuated.

Mr. Witness, please look at the same statement on which you recognized cheque #29 and say if cheque #29 was re-deposited on January 11, 2016?

  1. When we take a cheque and make a deposit, there is no way we Kailondo Petroleum will go back to re-deposit the same cheque. Mr. Witness, The Kailondo Petroleum’s account statement from GT-Bank shows that cheque #29 was deposited on January 8, 2016, and re-deposited on January 11, 2016. Am I correct to say that re-deposit of cheque #29 on January 11, 2016 was returned?

“Mr. Witness, the same Kailondo Petroleum statement of account of G-Bank shows cheque #16, deposited December 14, 2016 and January 2, 2017. Am I correct to say that the indication of cheque #16 is that it was deposited twice into Kailondo Petroleum’s account at GT-Bank?Q. Mr. Witness, please look at Kailondo petroleum statement of account with respect to cheque #16 and clarify whether cheque #16 was deposited by Kailondo petroleum twice on December 14, 2016 and January 2, 2017?Q. Mr. Witness, am I correct that Kailondo petroleum assumed the liability of ACE Global in the amount of USD$ 791,000.00 under the Novation Agreement as a result of the unauthorized lifting of petroleum products from the LPRC storage terminal.”

Witness Kailondo further accentuated: “We assumed the responsibility not because of an authorized lifting of USD$791,000.00. I had signed documents after death of my friend including the 2.4million which was the last shipment. In the petroleum industry, there are times the buyer goes through huge losses. The last shipment we incurred a very huge loss but I still decided to pay the USD$791,000.00 because I stated earlier I have dealt with this bank in good faith from 2014 to the end of 2016, they cannot show you one release to tell that they have to release a product to me for before I sell.”

“Mr. Witness, you mentioned the signing of documents for 2.4million. Am I correct that this was a letter of credit issued by the bank on the application of Kailondo Petroleum?

Witness Kailondo: “That was the last shipment that the Defendant/GT-Bank brought into the country for us. With this particular shipment, if you go to LPRC today you will know the name of the vessel, you will see the Q&Q report , a bid of lading will be with the bank as Kailondo Petroleum as the consignee. This trancactions should inform this court that I dealt with the Defendant in good faith. I even signed the document four(4) months after the shipment. And it is from that document that I signed later they wrote ACE Global that they should be held liable to pay USD$791,000.00 which of the balance of the 2.4million. I stated earlier that brought about the Novation Agreement and also in good faith after the novation agreement, I paid over USD$400,000.00 to the defendant.”

“ Mr. Witness, you just testified that you paid over USD$400,000.00 against the USD$791,000.00 on account of the Novation Agreement. Am I correct that Kailondo Petroleum is still indebted to the Bank for the difference of the USD$400,000.00?”

Witness Kailondo: “No. up to the time when we conducted our audit and with the help of God, one of their own employees walked to me and informed me that I should get auditors that he was tired with the way GT-BANK was stealing from us.

This led us to audit our accounts and what we saw in our account was unbelievable, that the bank would allow for such information to come to the public domain, it is shameful for a financial institution that I have explicit confident in to have agreed that they wrong me but to give my money back, they say it is too good for me but rather chose to pay lawyers to come find all types of way not to pay my money.

This Demand letter led us to reply the cross examiner, pleading with them that their client the Defendant/GT-BANK furnish us with all our statements. It is from those statements that were ptovided by the cross examiner that led us to conduct a thorough audits of all our accounts. During the audit, the amount of USD$50,000.00 which is marked exhibit “A” and the amount of USD$62,500.00 which is marked exhibit “B” were two of the dubious debits that initially the bank had denied of any wrong doing until we took them to the Ministry of Justice and they pleaded that we go back to in-house to amicably resolve those issues. At one of the meetings, in presence of the cross examiner, they confessed and agreed to reverse the USD$112,500.00 and told us that they wanted to apply against some loan that does not exist. The disagreement at that meeting led us to be in court. So we want the court to take notice of these two documents in proving our case as part of the dubious transactions that the bank carried out in our accounts plus some many other ones.”

“Mr. Witness, by that answer am I correct to say that the Defendant/GT-BANK reversed the transaction and credited Kailondo Petroleum’s account with the full amount of USD$112,500.00?”

Witness Kailondo: “No reversal was made in our account and even the USD$510,000.00 that they had earlier agreed upon to have dubiously debited our account and written us to write cheque against that account for the full amount of USD$510,000.00, some of the cheque were not honored.”

“Mr. Witness, by that answer am I correct to say that the dishonored cheque were returned to Kailondo Petroleum.”

Witness Kailondo: “Up to the time of reconciliation, we did not have no cheque in our possession and since they knew that they wrong us, the few cheque that were encashed were counter cheque. When we wanted more withdrawal of the USD$510,000.00 they refused to give us counter cheques.”

“Mr. Witness, you testified that a Novation Agreement was signed between the Defendant/Bank and the Kailondo Petroleum for the amount of USD$791,000.00 against which Kailondo Petroleum make some payment. Am I correct that the Novation Agreement was a result of Kailondo Petroleum unauthorized lifting of petroleum products under a collateral management agreement from LPRC storage tank.”

Witness Kailondo: “No. Let me just teach you this other aspect of the petroleum industry. When a collateral management is in place, the bank will have to release product to me before I sell. The Defendant knew that we had an initial capital of 2million. Not a day they release a gallon to me without dealt based upon trust. I dealt with them over 10million United States Dollars business. Later did I know that they were carrying on so many dubious transactions in our accounts.”

Meanwhile, when he earlier took the witness stand, Cllr. Kailondo, who has been rested from the witness stand, averred that the Management of the Guaranty Trust Bank(GT Bank) Liberia Limited “dubiously” took over a million of United States Dollars from their accounts.

Plaintiff Kailondo said his company wrote a formal complaint to the Ministry of Justice by and thru the Public Interest Law Firm regarding the alleged dubious act by the Management of GT-Bank.

When also quizzed as to whether he knows defendant Guaranty Trust Bank(GT-Bank of Liberia, he responded in the affirmative. When further quizzed about how he got to know Defendant GT-Bank, he explained that, “in December of 2014, we opened an account with GT-Bank with an initial deposit of two million United States Dollars.

“We requested the bank to issue a letter of credit in the tune of three million United States Dollars. The letter of credit was issued and the agent of the supplier; supplied us in bits and pieces the quantity five thousands metric tons of petroleum products, after that transaction, we brought in other vessels and we requested the bank to issue us a letter of credit. The first exist of 3 million, no vessel came to Liberia to supply us product but those products, the value was supplied us in portions. In January of 2015, we had an accident where the Manager of GT-Bank was involved on my boat; even after the accident we deposited money into our accounts.”

He continued,” And after the accident they decided that they do not want to continue doing business with us. They brought list of shipment agreement for me to sign with the value of US$2.4 million. I signed the document, paid the money into their account but the price of oil plummeted, thereby making us to incur huge losses. And before the sales of the product, they were aware of the plummeting of oil prices on the world market(Liberia), thereby affecting Liberia.

At the same, Cllr. Kailondo, who was given several documents in court to peruse their legitimacy, said looking at the documents, he formally filed one of them with Central Bank of Liberia via the Supervision department that is responsible to look into claims by customer and through the Director for Relation and Supervision Department in person of Mr. Fonsia Mr. Donzo, outlining all of the alleged dubious acts in their accounts.

The second, he averred, has to do with one of the accounts where some of the dubious transactions supposedly occurred also “where they allegedly took US$510, 000.00 from our account unknown to us , to be exact on March 12, 2016 and on the 23rd of April 2015, instead of they taking 3.3million from our account, they took 3,468,352.26 on April 23, 2015. On October 29 the same year, they had taken USD$62, 500.00 from our account unknown to us. On the 28th of March 2016, they dubiously took US$20,000.00 from our accounts.

Another dubious dated October 10, 2016, an amount of US$24,717.80; another amount of US$50, 000 on December of 2016 October2016; another US$24,717.50; US$24,720.00 on November 30, 2016. The other two cheques 50, 000, 50,000, the first of December 15, 2016 and the 3rd of January and another 50, 000.00”.

However, the Counsel for defendants objected to two of the instruments being presented by the Prosecution for the witness to identify because they were not among the documents filed by the Prosecution during discovery of these proceedings. The document objected to the March 18, 2021 Letter from the Central Bank of Liberia to Mr. George B. Kailondo, Sr. and the February 22, 2021communication from the Public Interest Law Office to Hon. J. Aloysius Tarlue, Sr., Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia.

Accordingly, the State in association With the Public Interest Law Officer continues to be represented in court as per records. Present in court were Cllr. Dr Jallah A. Barbu and Cllr. Bobby Livingstone of the Ministry of Justice. The Defendant is represented in court as per records. Present in court were Cllr.Sia Ella Sammy, Cllr. J. Awa Varkan and Atty. Tye Booker Ragland, Sr.

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