Liberia: Court Orders Samuel Tweah, Wolokollie Arrest
Monrovia – FrontPageAfrica has reliably learned that Finance Minister Samuel Tweah and Deputy Minister for Expenditure Samora Wolokollie have been charged with contempt of court and have been ordered arrested.
A source at the Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice, who hinted this paper Thursday evening March 11, 2020 but asked for anonymity, said that the two top Finance Ministry’s officials were ordered arrested by Judge Yarmie Gbeisay.
The source stated that the arrest order issued by Judge Gbeisay Thursday, March 12 grew out of the two officials alleged refusal to honor the court’s order when they were asked on two separate occasions to testify in the case involving former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, his former Deputy Joseph Johnson and Comptroller Nyumah Dorkor.
“The two officials were first subpoena and later issue a writ of summon but turned down all of these requests without any notice which the court sees as disrespect,” added the source, who claimed that when the court invites someone the person must appear “but when you refused without any notice to the court, it equates to contempt”.
According to the source, although the arrest orders for the two officials are out, there has been no return by the Court Sheriff as to whether the two officials have been served the writ of arrest.
However, FPA also reliably learned from another source outside of the court on late Thursday, March 11 that while the arrest order for the two Finance Ministry’s officials were already out, the pair finally agreed to appear in court on Friday, March 13 to testify in the case.
Under Liberian laws and practices, contempt of court charge may constitute a fine or imprisonment for anyone but any of the penalties is discretion that can be exercised by only the Judge.
“The two officials were first subpoena and later issue a writ of summon but turned down all of these requests without any notice which the court sees as disrespect,” added the source, who claimed that when the court invites someone the person must appear “but when you refused without any notice to the court, it equates to contempt”
Former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai and his former deputy Joseph Johnson, and former comptroller Nyumah Dorkor are on trial allegedly embezzling compulsory savings funds for the Armed Forces of Liberia.
According to the indictment, in July 2009, the Ministry of National Defense established a contributory savings fund which deducted salaries from all ranks of the AFL to serve as a supplementary pension benefit to provide assistance to wounded soldiers and to families of deceased soldiers.
The indictment states that the former minister misapplied over US$1.2 million of the US$1.9 million deposited during former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s regime.
The indictment also accused Samukai of authorizing the transfer of all transactions of the compulsory savings account, except US$16,000, which was directly paid to a Joseph Gegeh. Gegeh has not yet been identified and the authorization of the amount is still under investigation.
All three Defendants have been charged with multiple criminal offences, theft of property, criminal conspiracy, economic sabotage, misuse of public money and money laundering but have since pleaded not guilty hereby joining issue with state prosecutors to prove its case against them.