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Charges dropped against ex-Sierra Leone bank head

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September 1, 2013 09:30 AM EST | AP


FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — The former managing director of a government-owned bank in Sierra Leone has been cleared of fraud accusations.

Former Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Managing Director Crispin Bishop Deigh and his deputy, Patrick Conteh, had been charged last month with attempting to defraud the bank of $4.8 million.

A court in the capital, Freetown, on Friday said the pair had been "acquitted and discharged for lack of evidence."

Authorities had alleged that the defendants defrauded the bank by obtaining unsecured loans. Charges are still pending against several of their co-defendants.

Corruption is widespread in Sierra Leone, a West African nation that is one of the most impoverished countries in the world.