NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The appellate court yesterday upheld the conviction and sentencing of a former Bank of the Bahamas employee, who used his position to steal $21,000 from several account holders.
Court of Justices John Isaacs, Stella Crane-Scott and Roy Jones handed down there ruling on the matter yesterday.
Renrick Bowe was named as the appellant, with the Commissioner of Police was named as the responded in the matter.
Bowe, a manager in the information technology department at the Bank of The Bahamas, was responsible for the oversight of the bank’s euro-net system, which among other functions, controls the automate telling machines (ATM).
Unauthorized withdrawals were made from four of BOB’s client’s accounts at different branches totaling $21,000 between January and February 2015.
The card numbers linked with the unauthorized ATM withdrawals were identical to two ATM test cards assigned to Bow in February 2014.
BOB fired Bowe.
He was arrested and charged with stealing by reason of employment, attempted stealing by reason of employment and unauthorized use of a computer.
He was convicted and sentenced to three and a half years for the first charge and two years each for the second and third, though the sentences were to run concurrently.
The lower court also required Bow to pay $21,000 in full before the completion of his sentence.
Failure to do so would by default add an additional year to his sentence.
An audit report was produced when the bank ran a query on its euro-net platform for information on the appellants access to the bank’s computer system which were not in line with his job.
While Bowe’s defense team argued that the report ought not to have been admitted as the report was inadmissible hearsay and not in compliance with the Evidence Act, the court was of the view that the information in audit report was recorded by computer without human intervention.
The appellate court concurred.
It also said there was nothing to suggest that the magistrate took irrelevant matters into consideration or that there were any issues of fairness that affected the trial.
The appellant’s attorney also argued that the sentence of three and a half years was unduly severe in the circumstances.
However, the court disagreed, noting the maximum sentenced for the respective charges was 10 years.
“Relative to whether the appellant’s sentence was unduly severe, the maximum sentence possible on the stealing was ten years; the sentence imposed was three and a half years,” the court said.
“Based on the sizable discount it can be inferred that the magistrate must considered the appellant’s good character.”
In his judgement, Justice Jones said: “For all above reason, we dismiss the appeal and affirm the convictions and sentenced in the court below subject to the following. The appellant was convicted and sentenced on 16 January 2018, and was granted bail pending appeal by the court on 23 February 2018.
“In these circumstances, one month is to be deducted from the appellant’s three and a half year sentence. Therefore, the appellant is required to serve three years and five months imprisonment with from today’s today.”
The court also stayed the magistrate’s order for Bowe to pay the $21,000 back or face another year in prison.