Liberia: Multiple Signatures Discovered in Withdrawals from Charles Sirleaf’s Accounts
MONROVIA – Bank documents obtained by FrontPageAfrica reveal several transactions that occurred on the GT Bank accounts of Mr. Charles Sirleaf, the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) took place under different signatures.
Report by Edwin G. Genoway, [email protected]
Mr. Sirleaf who was indicted by the government and was facing prosecution in connection with the unauthorized printing of over L$10 billion banknotes was relieved of the charges of economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation on May 13, 2020. The Solicitor-General, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus, told reporters that he played minimal role and was acting on the orders of the Board of Governors.
Barely a week after the charges were dropped, Mr. Sirleaf announced the disappearance of US$850,000 and L$10 million from his accounts with GT Bank, Liberia.
The Liberia National Police then confirmed to FrontPageAfrica that the Bank Manager, Financial Analyst and Tellers from the Guaranty Trust Bank were assisting the police with investigation into the mysterious disappearance of the huge sums from Mr. Sirleaf’s accounts.
Heavy Transactions Took Place
The documents in FPA’s possession purports that Mr. Sirleaf made several massive withdrawals from his accounts between April and May.
From the documents, FPA discovered that there were several communications between Mr. Sirleaf and his GT Bank Account’s officer known as Andrea during which he frequently updated her about incoming transactions and requested of her to fast-track the process.
On May 2, 2017, Mr. Sirleaf provided a receipt of receiving of US$167,000 withdrawn on slip numbered 174311. A deposit of US$65,000 was made into his children’s GT Bank’s Account titled (Jenelle & Berylene Sirleaf) immediately after the withdrawal.
On April 26, 2019, Mr. Sirleaf requested the financial transactions on his accounts between December 31, 2018 to April 2019 via WhatsApp message to his account’s officer.
The account officer informed Mr. Sirleaf that between the periods of 2016 to December 31, 2018, a total deposit of US$586,404.00 was made in his (2590 Account), and US$173,000.00 was withdrawn from the same account.
“The 2591 Account/Salary account, we received a total of US$154, 425.93 and withdrew US$134,500.00,” the account officer disclosed.
Additionally, Sirleaf’s Account officer informed him that “for the LD 1590 Account, a total deposit of three million, eight hundred and ten thousand Liberian dollars (L$3,810.000) was made, as for the 1591 account/salary, we received a total of seven million, five hundred sixty-nine thousand, two hundred twelve & fifty-nine cents (L$7,569, 212.59).”
According to records, Sirleaf’s Account Officer also disclosed to him on April 29, 2019 from January 2019 to April, he had withdrawn US$250,000.00 from the (2590) account/savings, while the total balance left for USD account was US$207,600.00, and L$11.3million left for the Liberian dollars account.
“Would any banking institution allow multiple signatures which is clear contradiction of any banking practice – the premise for encashing any withdrawal is confirmed by each teller based on the signature card in the possession of the bank”.– Mr. Charles E. Sirleaf
Later in June 2019, Mr. Sirleaf informed his Account Officer that he had sent one Varney, the manager of his company (Bojenele) to encash a check of US$10,000, and on July 30th, 2019, Sirleaf sent for encashment a check of US$3,150.00 in favor of one Benjamin Momolu.
In October 2019, Mr. Sirleaf consistently requested withdrawal from the bank. Record shows that he pressured the account officer to work around the system and produce whatever amount he had requested.
The document further revealed that in early May 2019, Sirleaf himself withdrew one hundred thousand United States dollars (US$100,000.00) from the GT Bank Sinkor branch using his CBL identification card bearing ID number (#240). Prior, on April 13, 2019, records available showed that Charles E. Sirleaf withdrew US$50,000.00 from the same GT Bank Sinkor branch on similar ID.
Mr. Sirleaf, 62, has told state security that his signature was forged by tellers of the bank during the reported transactions.
However, GT-Bank has declined commenting on the matter indicating that the matter is being investigated.
The documents in FPA’s possession reveal that Mr. Sirleaf requested the bank to deactivate SMS and email alerts until further notice.
In a communication dated May 9, 2018, Sirleaf authorized the bank, to with immediate effect, to remove his brother Robert Sirleaf as beneficiary to his account, and that, (Robert) be replaced by three names, he (Charles) submitted.
It was in that communication that he (Charles) requested that the bank deactivates the regular SMS and Email alerts until further notice.
Pundits have been wondering as to what prompted Mr. Sirleaf to deactivate such crucial security features on his GT Bank’s Accounts, especially that such protocol was designed to keep him updated with his account in the case of deposit and withdrawal.
Mr. Sirleaf alleged that the illegal withdrawal from his accounts at the GT Bank was initiated by some tellers of the bank, disclosing that the unlawful transactions were done without his authorization.
The dossier of bank documents shows that the withdrawals from Mr. Sirleaf’s account were made using multiple signatures.
Some officials of the bank who preferred not being named alleged that Mr. Sirleaf’s CBL’s ID cards that usually accompanied the withdrawal slips and checks had different signatures.
Reacting to that allegation, Mr. Sirleaf told FPA, “Would any banking institution allow multiple signatures which is clear contradiction of any banking practice – the premise for encashing any withdrawal is confirmed by each teller based on the signature card in the possession of the bank”.