Global Bank Liberia Breaks Silence in George Kailondo Case￼
Monrovia – In recent time, commercial banks operating in Liberia have been coming under attacks from their clients on accusations of fraud and unauthorized transactions on their accounts. This is exactly what is said to be currently ongoing between the President/CEO of Kailondo Petroleum Incorporated and the Management of Global Bank Liberia Limited.
In a recent testimony at Criminal Court “C”, at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, Businessman Kailondo accused the Bank of transferring over 4 million United States Dollars from his accounts without his consent and authorization. But the bank, providing documentary evidence and testimonies adduced by the it in open court, said Mr. Kailondo’s allegation is false and misleading. This outlet has been closely following the case and has in its possession every piece of documents so far presented by the two opposing sides.
According to the Bank’s account, Mr. Kailondo happens to be one of their clients who took loans from their bank under their Collateral Management Arrangement (CMA), but fraudulently and deliberately defaulted on all the other facilities by not paying principals and interests as and when they fell due.
In the documents compiled by the Management of the Bank and presented in court by its lawyer, the Bank said the current move by Cllr. Kailondo to file a criminal lawsuit against the Bank for a whooping sum of US$4.6 million is simply a calculated attempt to cover up his bad business practices.
As per the Writ, a copy of which is in possession of this entity, Kailondo Petroleum Incorporated by and thru its President/CEO, Cllr. George Bobby Kailondo has prayed the court to press the charges of “Theft of Property” and “Misapplication of Entrusted Property” against the Management of Global Bank Liberia.
Though the bank has maintained that Businessman Kailondo only ran to the Criminal Court with what they referred to as “trumped up charges” after their Bank sued him at the Commercial Court for his failure to settle his debt to the bank after several reminders for him to pay were ignored.
In its detailed chronological narrative, the Management of the Bank has revealed the following that, “Cllr. George B. Kailondo Sr. through his company Kailondo Petroleum Inc. applied for and contracted several credit facilities from the Bank between May 2015 and 2019. The facilities contracted were in the following order: Overdraft US$500,000 (May 2015) for 12 months; Term Loan US$500,000 (June 2015) for 24 months; Bank Guarantee (local) US$2,417,000 (September 2015) for 90days. This guarantee facility, the Bank noted, was later amended to adjust the tenor to March 2016 and the facility amount to US$1.878million after the first 90 days expired without full payment being made. This was as the result of Kailondo Petroleum Inc. default in raising full sum of US$2.417milion within the 90-day tenor.
The bank also claimed that “Kailondo then applied for a restructure and consolidation of all his outstanding credit facilities into one facility to allow for easy and amicable settlement of principals and interests. As per his request, the outstanding and unpaid balances on his facility accounts were consolidated into one term loan facility of US$1.9million and restructured in April 2017 for a 48 months tenor to give him ease of settlement.
It said all the credit facilities were advised to Kailondo Petroleum Inc. via separate offers letters indicating the pricing to include interest rates and other conditions under which the Bank was willing to avail the facilities.
Pertinent amongst the conditions was “The Right of Set Off” which in effect gives the Bank the authority for debit (make deductions from) any accounts of his in the bank with balances in order to settle his liabilities arising facilities/loans he took from the bank; or liabilities arising from valid and legitimate third party transactions to which the bank is and part and has a role/responsibility.
Cllr. Kailondo, accepted the offers and the preconditions under which the bank was willing to grant the various facilities.
The bank through claimed that all was going well until KPI started defaulting in making the agreed upon stipulated installment payments. At which point the Bank, as per procedure, began issuing reminders and demand for payment letters to KPI.
Then in late 2020 into 2021, after accusing GT Bank of stealing monies from his accounts, Cllr. Kailondo started making claims or allegations of discrepancies or questionable debits/deductions on his various facility accounts at the bank.
“To address the situation, the bank and KPI agree to carry out reconciliation of their individual records of the accounts. KPI sent its representative/accountant who sat with our Credit Managers (Owens I. Lavall & Stephen W. Togba) and reviewed the accounts. And the bank provided satisfactory explanations and clarifications for all the deductions that were considered to be questionable by KPI,” the bank stated through its lawyers.
It continued: “But to our surprise, KPI raised the same issue again after a few months, saying that it doesn’t trust its representative for the review exercise, thereby going thru the entire review process all over again. There were four instances where KPI declined the review outcome; declaring that its representatives were compromised and were colluding with the bank to defraud him of his monies.”
Kailondo, the bank noted, then proceeded to file a complaint of theft with the Office of the Solicitor General, Republic of Liberia; who intimidated the management of the bank into conceding to the bogus claims.
But the bank through its lawyer, Cllr. G. Moses Paygar resisted – a situation that led to the involvement of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) into the matter. Instead of carrying out a professional probe to ascertain the facts of KPI’s claims, the bank asserted that the “LACC too harassed and intimidated the Management of the bank by forcefully entering the premises of the Bank with armed police officers and arresting the Managing Director/CEO and another senior Management Staff of the Bank who were on the desk working during regular banking hours. Of course, our lawyers secured their release the same day.”
“The LACC, we learnt conducted a criminal investigation on the matter without the input of the bank or seeking clarity, thereby unilaterally determining that the Bank was culpable criminally and should be made to reimburse KPI a whooping sum of US$4.6 million United States Dollars. In the legal proceedings currently ongoing at Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, the bank has disproved Mr. Kailondo’s allegations by adducing hard documentary evidence and witness’ testimonies convincingly authenticating that all the figures that KPI has questioned were actual legitimate transactions either initiated by Mr. Kailondo himself or authorized by him.”
Countering KPI’s Allegations
KPI claimed the bank illegally debited his account for US$150,000 without his knowledge and authorization. The bank, with documentary evidence, countered that Cllr. Kailondo himself wrote the check for US$150,000 and deposited it in his account at GT Bank.
The referenced check, the bank added, was processed at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Clearing House and cleared; thereby giving value to the check deposited at GT Bank and reducing the same value from his account at Global Bank. GT Bank was subpoenaed by the Court and its Management’s representative appeared, testified and provided documentary evidence of the aforementioned transaction where the US$150,000 cash was deposited in KPI account at their Bank.
KPI claimed that it had no transactions with SRIMEX for which its escrow account was debited to pay SRIMEX various amounts summing up to US$2.417 million. The Bank proved that KPI applied to the Bank for a Bank Guarantee in the amount of US$2.417 million to be issued to SRIMEX Oil & Gas Company for the supply of petroleum products to be sold on the Liberian market and paid off within 90 days.
Mr. Musa Hassan Bility, CEO of SRIMEX Oil & Gas Company was subpoenaed and he appeared in court, testified and provided documentary evidence that the transaction was legal and did happen and that he supplied the referenced product to KPI and was paid by the bank in accordance with terms of the Bank Guarantee facility.
KPI also claimed it had no transactions or dealings with Petro Trade in 2016 for which his account was debited for US$262,500 and credited to Petro Trade account at Global Bank. And that the bank stole and misapplied his funds. The bank provided hard copy documentary evidence to prove that there was transaction involving 175,000 gallons of gasoline at the rate of US$1.50, supplied to KPI under CMA involving the bank. The value of the transaction was US$262,500.
Petro Trade was also subpoenaed and it affirmed that the transaction did happen; providing hard copy evidence of its internal records of all KPI transactions with Petro Trade which also included the referenced transaction and the payment it received from the bank.
KPI also claimed that the bank illegally debited, and stole the amount of LRD1,645,800.00 from its Liberian Dollars account and diverted same to its own use; therefore charged the bank for theft of property. Again, the bank testified, with documentary evidence that the amount in question was a manager’s check requested by KPI to pay Excise Tax to LRA; which check was duly issued and paid in to LRA to settle KPI tax liabilities. The same manger’s check came thru CBL clearing House where the appropriate Government of Liberia revenue account at the CBL was credited recognizing KPI tax payment, it added.
Not A Serious Matter
According to Global Bank, for all the transactions/claims on the bank, it realized that the original source documents were all stolen from its archives by unseen hands. So it had to admit photocopies in court as evidence. But to its outmost surprise and shock, Cllr. Kailondo presented in court as part of his evidence to show he doesn’t owe the Bank, the original deeds of collaterals held by the Bank in its document vaults.
However, when it checked the document vaults, the documents were not there. And there is no indication or trace of the release of the deeds of the collaterals to Kailondo as per procedure, because the indebtedness to the bank for his various credit facilities still persists with no sign or indications of repayments, the bank stated.
The bank in said: “We do not consider this case to be a serious matter because the pieces of evidence we have in our possession to disprove Mr. Kailondo’s allegations are overwhelmingly convincing. No matter what he does in bribing everywhere, the truth shall prevail. As a matter of fact, our lead lawyer is one of the best Liberia can boast of, when it comes to legal representation.”
It continued: “Again, we want to use this medium to call on members of the public, especially our valued customers to continue doing business with us, without any fear. We are professional and reliable when it comes to the provision of banking services globally. No one should allow Kailondo’s lies to fright them away from our facilities everywhere as we strive to make banking simple and rewarding.”
The case has not been legally concluded as final arguments between lawyers of the conflicting parties are scheduled to be entertained on Thursday, April 28, 2022, at the Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice.
Meanwhile, the Management of Global Bank Liberia Limited has sued Kailondo Petroleum Inc. for indebtedness in the tone of US$3.5 million.