By Feima Sesay
Yaya Billah Sillah banker working at the Access Bank Siaka Steven Street in Freetown on Wednesday 8 February, 2023 made his second appearance before magistrate Mark Ngegba of Pademba Road Court No.1 as he was standing trial before the Court for being in possession of counterfeit notes at the bank.
The accused was arraigned before the court on two hundred and twenty (220) count charges of possession of counterfeit notes contrary to section 34 (1)(b) of the Bank of Sierra Leone Act No. 5 of 2019.
The charge sheet states that the accused on Saturday 17 September, 2022 at Access Bank head office Siaka Steven Street in Freetown, was found in possession of one hundred United States Dollars ($100) with serial number ME01504825B reasonably suspected to have been counterfeit or unlawfully obtained.
Led in evidence by Sergeant 9929 Lahai Farma, the witness Mohammed Jalloh Head of Domestic Operations Access Bank Sierra Leone Limited recognized the accused as their staff employed by the bank as Counting Notes Officer.
He recalled on the said date, adding that on that day, they were having an Anti-money Laundering Training at the Bank.
He said after the training, he went down the banking hall having a discussion with Mr. Sanny who is the country manager of the bank.
He furthered that whiles having his discussion, the accused met him requested to have a word with him, out of cutesy he told him to wait as he was having a discussion with the country manager and so the accused went away.
He said few minutes later the accused came for the second time to talk to him, but he told him to wait and after the conversation with the country manager he went to the accused and asked him why he requested to speak to him.
The witness said the accused then took out $100 and gave it to him but when he looks at it he noticed that it was counterfeit and he asked him what he wants him to do.
He said the accused then answer and said since he is a senior person at the bank he wants him to swap the money with the ones that are at the bank.
The witness furthered that he then asked the accused how much money he has and he reply that he has $40,000 more.
He said he then took the $100 from him and he went to the management of the bank and explained to them about the incident and the management call at the Criminal Investigation Department to investigate the matter.
He said when the CID Officers came to the bank, the accused was call upon and they took him to the bulk room and he removed another $100 counterfeit note from his bag, adding that a search was conducted on him and another $11,000 counterfeit notes were found with him and the money was handed over to the Police and the accused was taken to the CID for investigation.
The witness was cross examined by the defense Counsel Ahmed Mansaray who also renews his bail application for behalf on behalf of the accused.
The accused was denied bail and the matter comes up on 16 February 2023 for further hearing.