-As Govt Lawyers Struggle for Evidences in Sable Mining Bribery Case
By R. Joyclyn Wea
The government of Liberia is expected to drop criminal charges against Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney Sherman and seven others at Criminal Court “C” due to lack of substantial evidence.
Government Lawyers last Wednesday, pleaded with Criminal Court “C” Judge Peter Gbeneweleh for another one-week delay to review and analyze the weight of the evidence which led to the indictment of the eight defendants for alleged bribery.
Senator Varney Sherman, Richard Tolbert, Morris Saytumah, former House Speaker Alex Tyler along with four others were indicted by the Government of Liberia in 2016 for allegedly receiving US$950,000.00 bribe from a British Company, Sable Mining to change the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) Act and other related laws of the country in favor of the company, an allegation which the indictees have since denied.
Assistant Justice Minister for Litigation, Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh told the court during their May 29, 2019 appearance that the application for more delay of the trial is to determine as to whether government will continue or dismiss the indictment against Senator Sherman and his associates consistent with Chapter 18, Section 18.1 of the Criminal Procedural Law of Liberia.
Chapter 18, Section 18.1 of the Criminal Procedural Law states that “the prosecuting attorney may, by leave of court file a dismissal of an indictment or complaint or of a count contained therein as to either all or some of the defendants. The prosecution shall there upon terminate to the extent indicated in the dismissal.”
This request for delay by government was granted by Judge Gbeneweleh after defendants’ lawyers interpose no objection to government’s application.
This is not the first time the Court is granting such request by government, the application by continuance or more delay in this bribery trial is more or less becoming a tradition for prosecution (MOJ).
It can be recalled, on December 30, 2018, the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice which is the prosecution arm of government pleaded with Judge Boima Kontoe who was then judge of Criminal Court “C” for continuance into the trial after failing to place her witnesses on the stand to testify against the defendants.
Government Prosecution Team at the time linked said failure to the Christmas season on grounds that many of their witnesses who have previously testified at the start of the criminal proceedings were on Christmas break outside the country.
With these numerous excuses, legal pundits believed it is difficult for government to prove its allegation of bribery against the indictees and as such; will be left with no opinion than to back-off her plan of prosecuting these individuals.