LIBERIA: Police Charge Six In US$1m LRA “Fraud” Dragnet

Flash Back: A Prisoner Behind Bars

(LINA) – Deputy Police Inspector for CID, Prince Mulbah, has said that the Liberia National Police (LNP) has changed six persons for their alleged involvement in fraud at the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).

Mulbah also said that police investigation has established that over one million United States dollars was dubiously diverted from government’s official account into a bogus account set up by some employees of the LRA and their cohorts.

Addressing a press conference held at LNP headquarters recently, Mullah added that the investigation resolved to charge the accused with economic sabotage, theft of property, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation in violation of the revised Penal Law of Liberia, pending trial.

The alleged suspects are co-defendants Lee N. V. Taylor, an employee of the LRA; Darlington Y. Talery, Commissioner Domestic Tax and one of his deputies, Sampson Dee, manager; as well as William Joe Smith, and Geneial Paye, brought into the racket by defendant Smith, and a man only identified as Mulbah.

He added that the man to later be identified orchestrated altering of12 pieces of Manager’s checks by defacing the name general revenue account to’Geneial Revenge Accouna’ before depositing same into a bogus account at the Access Bank owned by Geneial Paye.

According to Mulbah, the amounts were subsequently withdrawn from checks issued and the check book given to the account owner, but at times, payments were done to fraudsters without them appearing at Access Bank, indicating a clear manifestation of conspiracy amongst some employees of the bank.

Employees of the bank include, but are not limited to, defendants Adama E. Monroe, James D. Davies, Tamia C. Sherman and Emmanuel Z. Holdee, as well as others to be identified as police probe continues.

Mullah added that defendant Sherman is charged liable for the amount of US$717,074.77.

The Police Inspector said investigation established that prior to 2018, a trio party signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and Global Voice Group (GVG) where revenue generated from international traffic monitoring services was authorized to be distributed amongst the parties.

According to the three party agreement, revenue intended for MFDP/LTA is authorized to be deposited at the United Bank for Africa Liberia limited (UBALL) in an account titled “MFDP/LTA” where the amount deposited per month is to be distributed on percentage basis, he added.

Mulbah further said that in September 2018, GVG service was terminated by LTA and Telecom International Alliance (TIA) was hired to take up tasks formerly performed by the GVG.

He indicated that revenue for the month of August 2018 was authorized to be shared between MFDP and LTA in a ratio of 58 percent and 42 percent respectively.

“The amount due to MFDP shall be made payable to GOL general revenue account at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) though a manger’s check which shall be delivered to the sector of LRA” Mulbah explained.

He added that Taylor was assigned at the section on February 1, 2016 designated through a written communication by Talery, amongst others, and Taylor also attached copies of his photo to the documents prepared by UBA acknowledging receipt of the checks.

Taylor later fled Liberia after the criminal act was discovered and has since been arrested in Ghana, extradited to the country and is currently in police custody assisting with the investigation, according to an LRA release.

The LRA has applauded the LNP for its collaboration and speediness in working with their Ghanaian counterparts to have suspect Lee Taylor arrested.

Meanwhile, Inspector Mulbah has stressed that this should serve as warning that this administration is resolved to ensure that no one will commit crime and go with impunity.

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