Central Bank Governor Summoned to Testify in Sable Mining Trial
Monrovia – The Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia has been summoned by Criminal Court “C” to appear Thursday at mid-day to testify in the Sable Mining trial.
Report by Kennedy L. Yangian [email protected]
Governor Milton Weeks is to testify to the Central Bank’s regulation on keeping of records by commercial banks.
His summon was triggered by a request by the prosecution, after International Bank Liberia’s head branch manager told the court the bank was only required to keep records like issued checks for a period of five years, while the checks in question were issued in 2010.
IB Bank’s Edwin Kamanda informed the court Wednesday that they have searched all their records at all their branches but could not locate the checks.
The bank had been issued two subpoenas to produce the checks and was sternly warned by the presiding judge last week that its failure to produce the check would warrant harsh punishment in the form of fine or imprisonment.
The two checks in question issued on June 23, 2010 and another on August 31, 2010 were requested by the prosecution, alluding that the checks have being allegedly issued by co-defendant Sherman to co-defendants Richard Tolbert and Morris Saytumah, respectively as bribes.
Kamanda told the court that checks had been processed by the customer service at the bank and was sent to the audit department for validation and onward to the records department.
The branch manager said that the checks were sent to the records department where they were manually filed in envelopes for safe keeping.
“Your honor, we have tirelessly, checked our storage both at our head office and branches and the only conclusion we came up with is that the checks have lost, they cannot be recovered.”
“We have worked on holidays, Sundays and weekdays, but these two checks cannot be found,” said Kamanda.
Kamanda, however, informed the court the bank is by law required to keep such records only for a period five years.
The prosecution not being pleased with the bank’s excuses, termed Kamanda’s testimony hostile and that he had refused to testify to the facts with respect to the checks for which was subpoenaed.
According to the prosecution, the bank’s failure to produce the checks is deliberate.
Judge Gbeisay stated that the court could not endorse the submission to declare the witness’ testimony hostile because there was no legal basis for that and ruled to have the witness discharged, indicating that the subpoenaed witness met the objective for which he was subpoenaed.