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LAICO boss tells court how ex-employees stole company documents

THE managing director of Libyan African Investment Company (LAICO) Zambia Limited has told a court how former employees broke into the company offices and stole documents, which they used to steal money from the firm.

This is in a matter where Clement Wonani, an accountant, is facing eight counts of criminal trespass, making documents without authority, uttering a false document and theft.

Testifying before Lusaka magistrate Humphrey Chitalu, LAICO managing director Shukri Eljaiedi said the former managing director of LAICO, Taher Khalil, and former accounts manager Clement Wonani broke into the company offices at Millennium Village and stole documents which they used to steal K360,000 and US$5,000 from Finance Bank Zambia Limited and First National Bank.

Eljaiedi told the court that Khalil and Wonani had defied the order of 2014 obtained from the Lusaka High Court which prohibited them from accessing the premises or offices of LAICO Zambia Limited.

He said he was appointed as LAICO Zambia Limited managing director on October 28, 2015 after a board resolution and came to Zambia to take office in December the same year.

“Wonani was employed by the company between 2005 and 2013 and in 2014 the company placed a notice in a newspaper warning members of the public that he was no longer an employee of LAICO Zambia Limited and not to deal with him in anything relating to the company,” Eljaiedi said.

The managing director said in January 2016 he returned to Libya and whilst there on February 12, 2016, he received a phone call from the company secretary Gabriel Bwalya informing him that Khalil, Wonani and others had broken into the office without authority.

Eljaiedi said that he advised Bwalya to secure the office and lock it.

He said on February 14, 2016 he returned to Zambia and reported the case to Lusaka Central Police Station.

Eljaiedi said that he established that Wonani had blocked his MTN office mobile phones by giving instructions to the mobile company through a letter dated February 13, 2016.

“When I went to Finance Bank to get the February 2016 monthly bank statement, I discovered that Wonani had withdrawn cash amounting to K60,000 from the company on February 13, 2016 and another K100,000 on February 16, 2016,” Eljaiedi said.

“After some months I opened a company bank account at FNB and when I printed out a bank statement for the month of July, I discovered that Wonani had withdrawn $5,000 on July 21, 2016 and a further K200,000 on the same day.”

He told magistrate Chitalu that he then reported the developments to Bank of Zambia, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and police headquarters after which Wonani was arrested.

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