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  • Thursday, 18 April 2024
Apex Bank Manager Kenema Branch in Court For Alleged Embezzlement

Apex Bank Manager Kenema Branch in Court For Alleged Embezzlement

On February 14, 2024, Foday M.A.S. Sesay, the branch manager of Apex Bank in Kenema, appeared before Magistrate Sahr Kekura of the Magistrate court in Freetown, facing allegations of embezzlement of one million, one hundred and ninety thousand, nine hundred and twenty-six new Leones and twenty-five cent (NLe 1,190, 926.25), property of the bank.

 

The Head of the Banking Operations Unit of the bank, Annah Jusu Lavalie, testified before the presiding Magistrate. She said on July 1st, 2022, a time when the new Leone currency was launched, there were lots of things to settle at the bank, so she went to the Kenema branch, where the accused was the branch manager. She said as part of her oversight duties, she checked the cash in the vault or the system and checked the physical cash.

 

Ms. Lavalie said the cash in the system was higher than the physical cash and that the accused signed the cash certificate for the correctness of what was in the system and that of the physical cash. “I reported the matter to management at headquarters and an internal investigation was instituted to investigate what was the cause,” she said while telling the court that she was not part of the said investigation so team.

 

The court learned from the witness that she later understood that the accused had deposited 300 million Old Leones into the vault and that no customer deposited into the vault.

 

During cross-examination with Lawyer P.D. Kamara, the witness said part of her duty was to go around and spot check/ unannounced visits to ensure policies are enforced, especially with the introduction of the new Leones.

 

Responding to questions about whether the accused had been complaining of understaffing at his branch due to an overload of work with the insurgence of the new Leones, the witness affirmed but said three additional staff were sent to the branch directly under the accused’s supervision.

 

The witness also informed the court that the bank as a whole use “bank manager software” and so do all the branches, in response to the question of the kind of software the Kenema branch uses. According to her, she can’t be in Freetown to check the balance in the system, but she has to be at the location to check the physical balance of cash at a particular branch.

 

Commenting on whether only the accused had access to the vault, the witness said she was not aware of that. The case was adjourned for further hearing.

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