ECOBANK EXPOSES Le200Million RACKET…2 Custom Officials,1 Bank Staff at CID

From a Financial Institution to under-cover agents showing its expertise in digging out facts that has now landed one of its officials in Police net and her partners. It was the other day that this medium portrayed the high level of trust, competence and professionalism of the Ecobank (SL) Ltd), with Headquarters at Lightfoot Boston Street that Customers are cramped every business day. Notwithstanding the tight Banking Hall, business and financial transactions is the profession Members of Staff know better than what Mrs. Karta had imagined and taken undue advantage of to get rich in a hurry. She has now been handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to help throw light about how her group siphoned money meant for the National Revenue Authority (NRA) into their personal accounts.

Not only was her activity and members of her group akin to criminality, but practising it in a financial institution for personal benefit has transformed her to a criminal in the midst of decent colleagues. Mrs. Karta who works at the Ecobank had devised a criminal enterprise in league with her husband, Mr. Solomon Karta, employee of the Customs and Excise Department and recruited another employee in the name of Mr. Abraham Lavallie of the same Department. Under this cover, the team has been steadily milking revenues meant for the state until when their activities became known and Law Enforcement Agents had to be called upon by the Bank.

Mr. Solomon Karta and Abraham Lavallie are employees of the Risk Management Unit, while Mrs. Karta is a Cashier at the Ecobank.  All three of them are reportedly co, operating with the investigation headed by Samuel Kargbo, alias “Chairman” about the alleged fraud to the tune of Two Hundred Million Leones (Le 200,000, 000). The suspects were whisked to the Criminal Investigation Department in the early hours of Wednesday after Ecobank had unearthed the fraud perpetuated by them and went the extra mile to arrest them.  The criminal game of siphoning monies from importers regarding the clearing of consignments coming into the country at the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA) is a skill they have imagined to have mastered, but unfortunately not to perfection.

The National Power Authority (NPA), it could be recalled had ordered some prepaid meters and had cleared the consignment through its Agent, the Sierra Leone National Shipping Company. The Company paid for the 1st consignment to the tune of Three Hundred and Ninety-Three Million Leones and the 2nd consignment cost the Company Five Hundred and Fifty Million Leones. Payment was conducted through the Shipping Agency on behalf of the National Revenue Authority (NRA), to the Ecobank where it has an account.

According to findings, for the 1st consignment Karta and Lavallie paid only Two Hundred and Ninety-Three Million Leones and for the 2nd Consignment they paid Four Hundred and Fifty Million Leones in concert with Mrs. Karta at the Ecobank. After short-changing both the Government and NRA, Karta and Lavallie scanned the documents and fictitiously changed the face value to fit the exact amount presented to NPA as payment for the consignments.

The gap was noticed by the Customs Department whose system had since been standardized and later cross checked with the Bank relating to the abnormally. This prompted an Internal Investigation Committee to dig and dive into the matter. It did not take the Bank too long to identify the fraud and forgery that the amateur thought they have perfected. Based on the discovery, a letter was written to the Sierra Leone National Shipping Agency demanding payment of the amount to NRA in the sum of Two Hundred Million Leones (Le200, 000, 000). The Sierra Leone National Shipping Company further cross- checked with the Bank that raise the red flag and noticed that the institution had been defrauded.

In an interview with the Aging Commissioner of Customs, Mr. Augustine Santos Kamara, he confirmed that both suspects of fraud are staff of the Customs and Excise Department. He claimed that his Department has been investigating them on the issue and promised to report their findings to the appropriate authority in a couple of days. It is believed that more names will be mentioned as Police Investigation gains momentum.

Meanwhile, all three suspects are guests of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) detention facility.

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