-As Court Determines Weeks, Sirleaf, Others’ Fate Today
By R. Joyclyn Wea
Criminal Court “C” Judge Peter Gbeneweleh is expected to render judgment on the merits and demerits of criminal appearance bond filed with the court prior to the five executives of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) released from South Beach, as the bond fray between defendant and prosecution lawyers heats up with fate of accused hooked between the scissors.
This follows heated argument between government and defense counsels on the weight and sufficiency of the CBL officials’ bond before judge Gbeneweleh last week.
Charles Sirleaf, Dorbor Hagba, Richard H. Walker, Joseph Dennis and Milton Weeks are facing prosecution for allegedly stealing L$2billion Liberian banknotes.
Judge Gbeneweleh’s verdict into the bond will either witness the defendants being sent back to prison or lead to the start of the merits and demerits of their L$2billion criminal case.
It can be recalled that on March 19, 2019, Government lawyers led by Montserrado County Chief Prosecutor Counselor Edwin Martins questioned the sufficiency of defendants Charles Sirleaf, Dorbor Hagba, Richard H. Walker, Joseph Dennis and Milton Weeks’ criminal appearance bond before Judge Boima Kontoe then, Judge of Criminal Court “C”, but was for undisclosed reason delay.
During the argument, Government Lawyers through Cllr. Edwin Martins maintained the bond proffered by the five former CBL Officials were inadequate to secure their release from south beach and wants the court set aside the defendants’ bond by keeping them behind bars until a valid criminal appearance bond can be filed to secure their release.
He explained that the US$60,000.00 bond proffered by defendants Charles Sirleaf, Dorbor Hagba, Richard H. Walker and Joseph Dennis were grossly inadequate to secure their respective release from the Monrovia Central Prison thereby questioning defendant Milton Weeks’ US$900,000.00 property bond in similar manner.
The Montserrado Country Chief Prosecutor maintained that the five indictees’ bonds did not meet the legal requirements as provided for in Chapter 63, Section 63.1 of the Civil Procedure Law of Liberia.
The government through the Ministry of Justice is demanding the defendants to do what is termed as double-the-game under Chapter 50.9 of the new panel code of Liberia that is to proffered twice the L$2billion accuse of.
Accordingly, defendant lawyers justifying said double-the-game as mentioned in Article 50.9 of the new penal code is not applicable to the matter at hand.
Cllr. Abraham Sillah indicated that Article 50.9 is a special provision created by the National Legislature to address economy sabotage cases.
Cllr. Sillah further narrated that while the Article also called for restitution, restitution is done only after a person accused is convicted of the crime accused of and not before conviction as claimed by Government lawyers.
“Our bond is sufficient and sureties are legally qualified. The justice is yours, so judgment day would be,” Cllr. Sillah told Judge Gbeneweleh.