September 28, 2016 By Hawa Amara
Former employee of the Guarantee Trust Bank, Brima Conteh was yesterday arraigned before Magistrate Dr. Abou Bhakarr Binneh-Kamara for allegedly embezzling the sum of two hundred and forty-five million, three hundred and nineteen thousand Leones (Le245,300, 19,00) from the bank.
The accused was before the Magistrates’ Court No. 1 on one count of larceny by servant, contrary to law.
According to the particulars of offence, the accused on Friday, 26 September, 2014 at the Guarantee Trust Bank, Pepel, Kafu Bullom Chiefdom, in the Port Loko District, being a clerk or servant employed by Guarantee Trust Bank Sierra Leone Limited, stole the said amount.
In his testimony, Steven Kpange, who is also an employee of the bank, identified himself as an Internal Controller and that his duties include setting procedures for compliance, making recommendations where necessary, investigating cases, and complaining fraud in the bank.
He explained that on 26 September, 2014 the Internal Control Unit received a complaint from the Bank’s branch at Pepel.
He said a team from the Unit were sent to Pepel to investigate and report to management, and that they later handed a report which intimated management about what they discovered at the branch.
He stated that on receipt of the report, the Unit reported the matter at the Central Police Station, and that the photo of the accused was published in newspapers as he was declared wanted.
“I did not see the accused before the matter was reported to the police. The Unit has been in search of him since 2014 but could not locate him,” he said.
He explained that on 15 June, 2016 the Unit received a tipoff that the accused was at his previous premises at Hasting.
“Upon that information, the Unit sent a team to ascertain as to whether it was really the accused that was seen. The team reported that it was indeed the accused that was seen. We went to the accused’s house and apprehended him and took him to the Criminal Investigation Department headquarters in Freetown,” he testified.
He informed the court that at the Criminal Investigation Department headquarters, the accused confessed that he stole the said amount from the bank while a statement was obtained from him.
However, the accused was put on bail in the sum of Le250 million plus two sureties in like sum, who must be resident owners of property in the Western Area.
The magistrate ordered that the sureties must produce their title deeds of realty and that the bail should be approved by the Master and Registrar of the High Court.
The matter continues.