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LTA US$466,201 Theft Case Starts Thursday

By:Torpur Yahmah, Judicial Correspondent

The 1,665,008.46 minutes allegedly used by three defendants from the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) has been docketed for Thursday, August 21, 2014 at Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.

The defendants, Hussein Dakloub, Joe Touma alias Joseph Phillippe Touma and Chidi were indicted by the grand jury for Montserrado County during the 2014 March Term of Court on charges of Theft of Property and Economic Sabotage, a felony of the third degree, according to courts documents.
The defendant, Hussein Dakloub is a Lebanese national who is a technician and former employee of NOVAFONE, a local GSM company that replaced COMIUM in Liberia. The nationalities of the other two have not been established up to press time.
The three accused appearance before the court was based on a Bill of Information filed by their legal Counsel, Atty. Amos Kollie. He said his clients were acquitted by the Monrovia City Court.

After legal arguments were heard by both prosecution and defense lawyers, Judge Yussif D. Kaba, who is presiding over the case denied a Bill of Information on grounds that information given by the Informants are not sufficient to warrant the defendants being set free.

The Government of Liberia in its indictment against the defendants revealed that from the months of March to November, 2013, the defendants with intent to defraud the LTA and the Government of Liberia, purposely knowingly engaged themselves in the used of SIM Box and other equipment to terminate international calls resulting in the loss of revenue to the disadvantage of the Liberian Government.
The indictment said for the period under review a total of 1,665,008.46 minutes and calls valued at Four Hundred Sixty Thousand Two hundred one united states dollars (US$ 466,201.00) were terminated.

According to the indictment, these calls were converted to a local call thereby terminating the ‘international character’ of the calls, hence making it possible for only the number of the local GSM companies which SIM card is being used at the time to appear on the receiver’s screen.
It said that the defendants procured several SIM cards of various GSM companies operating in Liberia to enhance their criminal process thereby grossly reducing the amount to be paid to government and other partners.

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