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Sierra Leone News: Chief operations officer explains… Le654M stolen from UBA

Between September 2014 and December 2016, over Le654 million was allegedly embezzled by Olufemi L. Thomas, Pricilla M. Kanneh and Mohamed Mansaray from the United Bank of Africa (UBA) on Charlotte Street. The accused were former staff of UBA and were charged with 32 counts of Conspiracy and Embezzlement.
On Tuesday 13 February 2018, the accused appeared in front of Magistrate Santigie Bangura of the Freetown Magistrate Court No.1 at Siaka Stevens Street. Testifying in Court, the Chief Operations Officer of UBA, Wilson Ojuku, said, on the date in question, he was working in his office.
Le654, 481,353 was allegedly deposited into Mohamed Marah’s account. The witness said the accused were staff of the Bank until last year when three of them resigned. He underscored that the first accused, Olufemi Thomas, was Head of Operations; the second, Pricilla Kanneh was Head of Cleaning and Settlement, whilst the third accused, Mohamed Mansaray, was a member of the Domestic Cooperation Team.
Ojuku said the embezzlement started from 2014, but it was only in August last year that the Bank detected it. He stated money was stolen on 29 occasions and all deposited to the account of Mohamed Marrah. He maintained that the accused knew the money was meant for various customers at the Bank. The money went into Marrah’s account and was withdrawn from there.
Ojuku maintained, “There is no way the accused person could deny responsibility for the missing sum because the internal tracking systems have their usernames and passwords as either the authoriser or the accomplice to the transfer.”
He said the Bank was able to discover all these abnormalities with the aid of forensic experts. After the findings, the Operations Officer said he reported the matter to the police.
Defence counsel, led by C. Campbell, applied for bail for their clients. The prosecution, V.I. Lansana, objected to bail stating that the allegations are serious and there is tendency the accused would interfere with prosecution witnesses and interfere with the course of justice. Magistrate Bangura has adjourned the matter to the 15th February 2018.
Wednesday February 14, 2018.

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