Monrovia - Following weeks of legal wrangling between some accused in the Global Witness Report and the Special Presidential Task Force set up to probe the report, the Government of Liberia on Wednesday indicted the Speaker of the House of Representatives Alex Tyler and Grand Cape-Mount County Senator Varney Sherman for allegedly committing multiple criminal offences, bribery, economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, solicitation and facilitation.
The writ of arrest issued Wednesday by the Criminal Court “C” before his honour Judge Emery Paye from the Clerk of the court Knowles Shain reads: You are hereby commanded to arrest the living bodies of Varney Sherman, E C B Jones, Christopher Onanuga, Alex Tyler and the Sable Mining Inc by and thru its authorized representative charged with the commission of the crimes, bribery, criminal facilitation, conspiracy, solicitation and economic sabotage.” The writ further stated that the defendants have been charged based upon the indictment prepared against the Grand Jury of Montserrado County duly selected empanelled and sworn to inquire in and for the people of Montserrado county sitting in its May 2016 Term and forthwith bring them before this court to answer to the crimes mentioned supra. The two lawyers appeared in the court in the morning hours of Wednesday amid a large-waiting crowd, taking turns at booing and cheering while others vented their anger, mostly at the House Speaker Tyler, referring to him as a rogue. Both Speaker Tyler and Senator Sherman were taken to the judge’s office and after spending over an hour walked out of the office and boarded their respective vehicles with the large crowd waiting in front of the court house to know the outcome of the case. A source closed to the Judge office told FrontPageAfrica that the two lawmakers along with two other defendants, ECB Jones and Christopher Onanuga were released on a US$1.5m insurance bond. One of the bonds was offered by the Omega Insurance Company and the other from the Sky International Insurance Company in the amount of US$1,500.00 filed on behalf of Speaker Tyler. “Boo… Boo, Rogue… Rogue… Speaker Tyler Rogue, Rogue” the angry crowd chanted and vented their anger openly in the courtyard as they chased the vehicle carrying the speaker disembarked from the court. The indictment against the four defendants’ states that between the period of 2010 and 2011, the defendants as a team through various communications and each being strategically placed in various positions with the support of the Stable Mining did criminally, wilfully requested and given more than US$900,000.00 to perform their respective positions. Co-defendant Ernest C. B. Jones Deputy Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy at the time requested and allegedly received US$5,000.00 for providing the technical advice for the alteration of the law, while Speaker Tyler allegedly received the amount of US$75,000.00 for conducting the smooth passage of the Amended Procurement and Concession Commission Law containing the provision for the Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy to have the power to declare a concession area a non-bidding area (Article 75) of the amended PPCC Act so as to create an easy passage for the awarding of the concession agreement on the Wologisi mines. According to the indictment, Cllr. Sherman being the mastermind of the crime of economic sabotage and with the full knowledge, was threading a dangerous path to obstruct every effort to retrieve credible records and interactions with persons who were part of the conspiracy to send and receive cash for the achievement of the objectives. The writ concluded: “The Grand Jury for Montserrado County upon oath do hereby find more probably than not that defendants Varney Sherman, ECB Jones, Christopher Onanuga, Alex Tyler and Sable Mining Inc committed the crime of criminal solicitation; a felony of the first degree”. The indictment also indicated that the co-defendants induced and persuaded one another to engage in acts which they knew constituted the commission of the crime under the laws of the Republic of Liberia The defendants’ acts, according to the indictment are contrary to 4LCR title 26,Section 12.50 and section 10.3 of the statutory laws of the Republic of Liberia and against the peace and dignity of the Republic of Liberia.