Finance Minister ‘Gives’ Country’s Swift Code to Fraudster; Liberia Almost Duped over US$32 Million
MONROVIA – Liberia was on the verge of losing US$32,835,654.14 to fraud but was reportedly saved by an alarm from the international banking system that hinted the government of the crime in progress.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
The suspect, James Larmin Korboi, a Sierra Leonean, is now behind bars awaiting court trial, but FrontPage Africa has gathered he attempted transferring the amount out of the Government’s account when alarm blew.
This paper gathered that he was reportedly given the government’s swift code after he convinced the Ministers of State and Finance that he had over US$24 million to invest in the George Weah-led pro-poor government.
FrontPageAfrica further gathered that Finance Minister Samuel Tweah engaged the purported investor back in July this year via email correspondence and after several discussions back then, he released the country’s swift code which made it possible for the suspect and his cohorts to attempt the thievery. He was, however, unsuccessful with the transfer.
“The Minister of Finance signed an agreement with him after they got small kickbacks here and there, then they gave him the country’s swift code to wire the money not knowing this guy is a hacker. He hacked into Liberia’s financial system but was caught,” the source alleged.
The Finance Ministry source added: “When he hacked the government’s account and was taking out the money but he turned greedy and exceeded the maximum so there was a red flag and the international banking system called the government to countercheck.”
Finance Ministry sources hinted this paper that the Sierra Leonean then got in touch with the Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs, Samora Wolokollie on November 24 and started engagements. However, Wolokolie got concerned when the suspect tried convincing him on how they could transfer US$5.7 billion from Manna World Holding Trust Funds account.
The Manna World Holding Trust to Liberia is a company that holds Liberia’s development and road construction fund. A document obtained from the Monrovia City Court about the Trust Fund claimed that it had in its possession over US$5,914 billion for road construction and development initiatives in the country.
Wolokolie, according to information gathered got alarmed, suspecting him of being a member of Kimberly Ann Goguen gang, thereby prompting him to get the National Security Agency, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Agency and the Financial Intelligence Unit involved which led to his arrest.
Kimberly Ann Goguen is a fraud leader, queen-pin, who intentionally deceives individuals, and government officials, by offering them grants, free gifted money from Sovereign Trust Accounts FMCA7778887778889999 which is non-existent.
When contacted by FrontPageAfrica to get clarity or comments on his reported involvement with the alleged fraudster, Minister Wolokollie said, “Don’t bring your foolishness to me about you and Rodney, that is my response to you. The first thing your boss is supposed to do if there’s a news story is he’s supposed to talk to me before he does anything. So, if Rodney wants to discuss the issue, tell him I want to discuss with him face-to-face on radio; tell him that and don’t come and play devil’s advocate like you trying to seek my side and my response is don’t bring your nonsense to me you and Rodney.”
The Ministry of Finance is yet to comment on the matter since the arrest of alleged impersonator.
However, this paper gathered that the first attempt was unsuccessful because the United States Federal Reserve (FED) raised the red flag. The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) does its international payments through the FED. When this illegal transaction took place, the Central Bank was informed by the FED and also put stop payment on other Government of Liberia’s international payments until an investigation to find out how this transaction took place or whether it was an error on the part of Central Bank. The FED was informed by the Central Bank of Liberia that the transaction did not originate from CBL and the bank was not aware of such payment.
According to reports, Suspect Korboi was arrested from the office of Min. Tweah by the Liberia National Police.
He had presented himself as an executive of Maga Strategic Partners Limited, a construction company, to senior staffs of both ministries. He had lured them into believing that he had come to the country with an unspecified amount of money to help support President George Weah’s Pro-poor Agenda, especially in the areas of road construction and other development initiatives.
The Ministry of Justice says the company is non is non-existent.