Dec 15, 2009, 3:02 PM
Two former employees of the International Commercial Bank were yesterday convicted by the Special Criminal Court in Banjul, presided over Justice Emmanuel Nkea.
The convicted persons, Nyima Dibba and Modou Sambou, were convicted on charges of fraudulent act and fraudulent false accounting, while Modou Sambou was further convicted on a charge of accessory after the fact.
In the same vein, the court acquitted and discharged Lamin Keita, Yusupha Minteh and Marcel Badjan of all charges preferred against them.
Delivering the judgment yesterday, Justice Nkea stated that the accused persons were tried on amended information containing three counts, all alleged to have been committed in November 2010.
He said the 1st accused, Nyima Dibba, was indicted on count one with stealing by clerk and servant, and it was stated in the particulars of offence that on 11 November 2010, while under the employment of International Commercial Bank (ICB), she fraudulently took D4,500,000 from the Kairaba Branch of the bank.
The 1st accused, Nyima Dibba, the 2nd accused, Lamin Keita, and the 3rd accused, Modou Sambou, were jointly indicted on count two with fraudulent false accounting. It was stated in the particulars of offence that in November 2010, whilst under the employment of ICB, they made fraudulent entries in account No. O1-01-422 owned by one Jain Jun Wang, he said.
He added that the 2nd accused, Lamin Keita, the 3rd accused, Modou Sambou, the 4th accused, Yusupha Minteh, and the 5th accused, Marcel Badjan, were jointly indicted on count three with accessory after the fact. It was stated that on 8 November 2010, whilst under the employment of the bank, they assisted the 1st accused, Nyima Dibba, whom they knew had committed an offence with a view to enabling her escape punishment.
The accused persons each denied the charges, he said, adding that the prosecution adduced in evidence the testimonies of four witnesses and tendered exhibits.
The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd accused persons each gave evidence in their defence and tendered exhibits as well, while the 4th and 5th accused persons rested their case on that of the prosecution, the judge said.
Justice Nkea stated that the brief facts of the case are that, whilst serving at the Kairaba Avenue branch of the complainant bank, the 1st accused as one of the vault-key holders, surreptitiously took about D4,500,000 from the vault of the bank.
“Upon her transfer, it was noticed by PW2 and the 3rd accused that the sum of about D4,500,000 was missing from the vault,” he stated.
“Upon confirming the shortage, PW3 and the 3rd accused confronted the 1st accused with the fact whereupon she admitted having taken the missing sum and promised to refund it a few days later,” he added.
He said an undertaking that was prepared by PW3 and the 3rd accused was signed by the 1st accused by which she promised to make good the missing money in a few days’ time.
The matter was subsequently referred to the police for investigation, during which statements were received from the accused persons, which were later tendered as exhibits during the trial, said Justice Nkea.
On the facts of the case, he went on, there was no dispute that the money was something capable of being stolen, and it was common cause that about D4,500,000 was fraudulently taken away from the vault of the complainant bank, and that the 1st accused was an employee at the bank.
The evidence on record was that there were two keys to the vault, while the one was held by the 1st accused and the second was held by PW3, and both of them needed to be present to gain access into the vault, he stated.
None of them could access the vault without the other, he said.
“There is unchallenged evidence on record from PW3 that on 4 November 2010, whilst he was away at the Banjul branch, he left his own key to the vault with the 3rd accused and that the key was only returned to him the following day,” said the judge.
“It is the unchallenged evidence of PW1 that soon after the fraud was reported to him, he invited and questioned the 1st accused and she admitted taking the money and giving it to a marabout. She also admitted to PW3 that she took the money from the vault but promised to refund it,” Justice Nkea said.
“The 1st accused confessed in a very clear language that she began taking money from the vault since the month of February 2009, which amounted to the sum of D4,300,000,” he said.
“I find as fact that it was the 1st accused that surreptitiously took the missing money from the vault,” the judge stated.
He said, therefore, there was strong evidence from the 1st and 3rd accused with each corroborating the other on how they fraudulently conducted the purported transaction as contained in exhibits “A-A14”.
In summary, the judge said he held that the prosecution proved the above charge against the 1st and 3rd accused persons.
“In view of the foregoing, I find that the prosecution has proved its case with certainty required by law in count one against the 1st accused, and in count two against the 1st and 3rd accused person, and in count three against the 3rd accused person,” he declared.
Consequently, he convicted and sentenced the two convicted persons as follows: the 1st convict, Nyima Dibba, to pay a fine of D150,000, in default to serve 5 years in prison with hard labour on count one.
On count two, Nyima Dibba was fined D100,000 in default to serve 3 years in prison with hard labour.
Both sentences to run concurrently.
In addition, the 1st convict, Nyima Dibba was ordered to refund D4,300,000 to the International Commercial Bank, in default she shall serve another 5 years in prison with hard labour.
The 2nd convict, Modou Sambou, was sentenced to pay a fine of D100,000 on count two, in default to serve 3 years 6 months with hard labour, and on count two, he was to pay a fine of D40,000 in default to serve one year in prison with hard labour.
Both sentences are to run concurrently.