LACC Requests Judge to Recuse Himself From Aminata Case


Monrovia – The case involving the Liberia at Corruption Commission (LACC) verses Aminata and sons Incorporated has taken a different trend as the presiding judge has been asked by the LACC to recuse himself.

Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo/ [email protected]

The LACC is requesting the recusal of Judge Emery Paye on grounds that he has heard and granted three separate motions for severance for three of the five co-accused.

The hearing of the motion is set for Wednesday, November 2.

The LACC, representing the state in the case said all of the accused were joined in one indictment for trial together for the commission of the crimes.

Aminata &Sons was indicted for economic sabotage and misapplication of entrusted property along with others former and present government officials including  former Commerce Minister Miatta Beysolow, Steve Flahn-Paye and former Managing Director of LPRC, T. Nelson Williams.

In a nine counts’ motion the state said that under the law, ‘practice and procedure in this jurisdiction’, a trial judge can recuse himself from hearing and conducting a proceedings.

“Here it’s showing that he has relationship within certain categories of consanguinity of affinity; pecuniary or other interest in the parties or the subject matter of the cause, previous expression or a point of view touching the merits of the case, or previous representation as counsel,” the LACC stated.

The LACC said the judge is required at stages of trial when the he/she is ask to recuse himself for  neutrality in the conduct of a case, so as to ensure that all the parties are and free and get fair trial.

“That Respondent/ Your honor,  is the sitting judge in the case who has heard and granted three of the separate motions for severance for three of the five co-defendants (accused) all of the defendants were joined in one indictment for the trial together for the commission of the crimes,” the LACC averred.

The state also wondered why the court granted the severance motion filed co-defendant Beysolow and the motion to dismiss the indictment, adding that dismissing the indictment against former commerce Minister expressed that the judge formed an opinion prior to the trial of the case.

Count six of the motion by the LACC motion: “Clearly the statement in the said ruling demonstrates that your honor has formed an opinion on the merit of the case which makes it, if not, impossible for your honor conduct the trial fairly and transparently as required by our law practice and procedure in the jurisdiction.”

“That respondents/ your honor by your statements herein above mentioned made in your ruling dismissing the indictment against one of the co-defendants in the case, you have expressed/ adopted a point of view touching the merits of the entire case in favor of all defendants even before it is heard.

“And movant submits this point of views expressed by Respondent/Movants warrants your recusal from further proceeding with this matter.”

Additionally, former LPRC Managing Director requested the court to dismiss the indictment and quash the charges.

The state resisted the motion citing criminal procedure law 16.7 (1) Living counselors et al VS. RL {2008} LRSC 22 (18 December 2008.

The state also cited LACC Act section 11.4 and later requested the court to take judicial notice of the entire case file.

“The Commission may directly prosecute acts or cases of corruption through the courts if:  (a) The Ministry of Justice, for whatever reason(s) does not take action to prosecute a case of corruption forwarded to it by the Commission within three (3) calendar months of the receipt of the request to prosecute.”