Criminal Action Filed Against Tom Banks


Published: October - 1999

Over in West Africa, continuing subscribers know we have been keeping our eye on that criminal action filed against Liberia outfitter Tom Banks (reachable in California). And with good reason. At last count, Banks had close to 50 clients booked into Liberia this year and next. Many of those clients have hefty deposits on file with him. The criminal action against Banks, of course, has nothing to do with his Liberia operations but with some safaris to Burkina Faso that went seriously off the rails last year, inspiring some of the affected clients to push for criminal prosecution. The resultant charges (which are still before the court and going forward) are so serious that some observers have wondered aloud if he is going to be able to field safaris anywhere.

At press time, in a phone call, Banks pooh-poohed all such concerns, saying he had just returned from a check-up trip to Liberia. "The camp is fine and all booked safaris will go forward this winter," he said. He said a client who came along with him on the check-out trip in early October took a water chevrotain and a black-back duiker in a matter of days. The only remaining concern is the lack of an airplane to ferry passengers from Monrovia to the hunting camp. At this writing, there is still no aircraft in the country, which means arriving clients will have to go by road. That can be tricky, too, if bridges get washed out - which is just what happened last year, causing the disruption or postponement of several safaris. Banks said he was "absolutely sure" a plane would be operational by the time hunting season rolled around, and not just because of his need for one. "The US Embassy needs a plane and so do all kind of non-governmental agencies. There will be a plane in place by the time clients arrive," he promised.

Here at The Hunting Report, we do not pretend to know how and when Banks' legal situation will be resolved, and we aren't about to put our credibility on........(continued)

 
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