By Audrey Raymonda John

The case involving Foday M.A.S. Sesay, the branch manager of the Apex Bank branch in Kenema, on allegations of embezzlement, has progressed with testimony from the Head of Banking Operations Unit, Annah Jusu Lavalie, in a Magistrate court in Freetown.

Ms. Lavalie testified that on 1st July 2022, amidst the launch of the new Leone currency, she visited the Kenema branch to fulfill oversight duties. During her visit, she discovered a discrepancy between the cash recorded in the system and the physical cash. She noted that the accused, Foday M.A.S. Sesay, had signed off on the cash certificate, confirming the accuracy of both the system and physical cash amounts.

Upon reporting the issue to headquarters, an internal investigation was launched. It was revealed that the accused had deposited 300 million Old Leones into the vault without any corresponding customer deposits. Ms. Lavalie confirmed her responsibility for spot checks and unannounced visits to ensure policy adherence, especially during the transition to the new currency.

In response to questions during cross-examination, Ms. Lavalie acknowledged the accused’s complaints about understaffing due to increased workload but stated that three additional staff were assigned to the branch under his supervision. She also mentioned the use of a “bank manager software” by all branches, including the Kenema branch, for operations.

Regarding access to the vault, Ms. Lavalie admitted uncertainty about whether only the accused had access. She described the vault as highly secure and meeting the highest standards.

The case is set to resume on 13th February 2024.




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