By Patrick J. Kamara
The first accused in the ongoing National Revenue Authority (NRA) and Ecobank Sierra Leone Limited mega fraud case, Ibrahim B. Lavalie, reportedly operates six bank accounts, although he only declared two to the Anti-Corruption Commission during asset and income declaration, according to Joseph Foray, a member of the ACC financial investigative team.
Mr. Foray was testifying in the High Court presided by Justice M.A. Paul on Monday.
The anti-graft investigator told the court that during asset and income declaration of government workers in November 2008, the first accused person only declared two bank accounts, all held at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB) with a balance of four million, five hundred and three thousand, nine hundred and sixteen Leones (Le4,503,916) and six million and three thousand, nine hundred and sixteen Leones (Le6,003,916) respectively. He said that at the end of that financial year, the accused person’s account increased to more than ten million Leones (Le10m) in each account.
He told the court that in his pecuniary analysis of resources, bank account and bank transaction of the first accused held at various banks on diverse dates from 2009 to 2013, he discovered that the accused operated six bank accounts with existing balance at Guaranty Trust Bank – Le294,676,450.60; Ecobank – Le275,679,491.58; Rokel Commercial Bank – Le198,950,812.66; Sierra Leone Commercial Bank – Le141,223,761, and two accounts at the Union Trust Bank – Le242,750,764, and the dollar account amounting to US$42,500.
He explained that the accused’s total salary and other emoluments for the aforementioned period were estimated at Le93,398,922.88.
When asked about the source of his information and analyses, the witness said he received bank statements from the various commercial banks as well as data from the seized laptop of the accused.
Foray told the court that whilst the accused was in the custody of the Criminal Investigation Department, he withdrew Le100 million from his GTBank account on 14 June 2013, while US$9,000 was paid to his wife, Mrs. K. Lavalie from the Union Trust Bank account.
It could be recalled that Ibrahim B. Lavalie, Inah James, Adetunji Desmond Cole, Bakie Minah, Egartine Faulkner, Abu Bakarr Kamara, Ishmael Denkeh, Isata Osaio Kamara, Shaka Kpanabum and Abdul Mutalid Kamara were indicted by the ACC for alleged misappropriation of public funds, fraudulent reduction of custom charges, corrupt transaction with agents, among other charges to the tune of Le700 million.