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Sable Mining Bribery Case Resumes May 29, 2019

By R. Joyclyn Wea

Criminal Court “C” is expected to on May 29, 2019 resume jurisdiction over the merit of the sable mining bribery case after several months.

The matter which kickedoff in December 2019 was strongly suspended in the same month following continue plea and delay by Government lawyers to produce their witnesses to testified against the Sable Mining indictees.

During the resumption of the matter in December 2018, Government lawyers were seen on two occasions praying the court for time to have her witnesses appear before the court and testify against Grand Cape Mount County Senator H. Varney G. Sherman, Former House Speaker J. Alex Tyler, Kool FM CEO Christopher Onanugua, Richard Tolbert, E.C.B. Jones, Eugene Shannon, Morris Saytumah and Willie Belleh who are facing criminal prosecution.

They were indicted in 2016 for allegedly receiving bribe from the Sable Mining Company in the tone of US$900,000.00 to change the concession and other laws of Liberia in favor of the Company.

Appearing Monday, December 31, 2018, prosecution when asked by the court to put her witnesses on the stand Government could not produce any of her witnesses linking such failure to the Christmas Seasons.

Prosecution than told the Court that most of her pervious witnesses in the trial when contacted for the trial denovo said they were unable to show up on grounds that they are on Christmas holidays outside the country.

Prosecution in its previous motion for continuance to the court, requested court to have said case transferred to the February A.D. 2019 Term of Court or to defer it to the next term of court because it has noticed that many of its witnesses who testified in the previous trial would have been unavailable.

Due to the alleged inconsistency of government lawyers the court at the time fined prosecution lawyers three hundred United States dollars to be deposited in the Judicial Account within three days.

However, Government lawyers indicated that their request to the court to allow them to consolidate the two motions filed by the defendant’s counsels for subpoena duces tecum and ad testificadum so as to traverse said motions.

They further maintained that the consolidated motions being sound and grounded in law as enshrined in Article 21 (h) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia and Chapter 17, section 17.2 of the Criminal Procedure Law of and because the said consolidated motions are harmless to the Republic of Liberia.

The court also further noted that, during the last sitting on the case, on Wednesday, December 19, 2018, prosecution made a submission, requesting the court for continuance something which defendants counsel interposed no objection to leaving the matter with the court to use its discretion as to the exact period to grant for the continuance of the trial.

However, the court granted the motion for continuance pray for by the government lawyers.

The continuance requested on December 19, 2018, was for the purpose of allowing the prosecution time to appropriately response to the motion for subpoena duces tecum and testificadum file by defendants counsels to be issued and served on a number of persons, without addressing the issue as envisaged by the court.

Defendants counsel is requested to the court for compulsory process to have individuals named in the said motions to appear and or to produce documents, and in the mind of this court, such as request, as enshrined in the motions, should not be a basis for prosecution to baffle and delay the disposition of said motions.

Indictees Lawyers resisted the application made by prosecution, said that, while the exercise of the profession is described as practicing law, just law will not permit the Government of Liberia to practice at the expense of liberties of prominent individuals. “Counsels say, said application for continuance is void of all legal bases established in this jurisdiction and is made in bad faith.”

The defendant’s counsels further that, the matter to be heard has no relevance to the availability of the witnesses for prosecution, as the trial of the case has not commenced, where the prosecution’s witnesses are to testify.

“It will be prudent to pass on the motions and grant same as a matter of right and law, so that the prosecution can employ the instrumentality of the court to produce their witness’s prior to the actual commencement of the trial, even if testimonies are not to commence and may not be able to commence during this term of court. Therefore, the application made by prosecution is made in bad faith and further intended to delay and baffle this trial.”

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