Belleh Files US$10K Criminal Appearance Bond in Global Witness Case
Monrovia – Chairman of the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) who recently resigned his post due to alleged involvement in the corruption scandal revealed by Global Witness, has filed a criminal appearance before Criminal Court “C”.
Report by Bettie K. Johnson Mbayo, [email protected]
Prof. Willie Belleh was indicted late December along with Eugene Shannon (Big Boy 1) and E.C.B. Jones (Big Boy 2). Shannon and Jones served as Minister and Deputy Minister for Operations, respectively at the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy. Morris Saytumah, former Minister of State for Legal and Economic Affairs was also indicted by the Special Presidential Task Force.
Prof. Belleh appeared before the court Monday with his lawyer. He was initially believed to be on the run as he was out of the country at the time the indictment was filed.
He and the co-defendants face charges of Economic Sabotage, bribery, criminal conspiracy, criminal solicitation and criminal facilitation crimes.
The criminal appearance was filed by the Insurance Company of Africa who claimed to have properties both real and personal at the value of US$20,000.00 is been set aside as security for the criminal appearance in the case.
It is not known if the state will find an exception to the criminal appearance bond filed by Mr. Belleh.
The Global Witness reported that on June 2010, US$10,000 was paid to Belleh, who held a key position in the tender process for mineral concessions and helped review the procurement act. Belleh denied receiving any payment.
He said his conscience belongs to God prior to his recent resignation as board chair of the PPCC.
The case against Mr. Belleh came from an email exchange between him and Cllr. Varney Sherman, former head of the ruling Unity Party and current Senator from Cape Mount County.
The report alleged that defendant Belleh received bribe to create a loophole in the PPCC law.
The email to Cllr Sherman dated August 2010 stated: “We finally got the revised PPCC Act completed.
According to Mr. Belleh, the email was a fabrication. “It is not true. I did not send any such email to Cllr. Sherman. On the face of it, it undermines its own credibility.”
Mr. Belleh: “First, the email suggests that I met with the President on the night of August 6, 2010 along with the then Minister of Justice. I submit that the then Minister of Justice and I never, ever met with the President on the draft law.
Global Witness also alleged that Prof. Belleh influenced the changing of the PPCC law in favor of Sable Mining to enable it to get a Wologizi concession without a tender process, an allegation Belleh categorically refuted.
Mr. Belleh told the Task Force: “When the process of amending the PPCC law commenced and, for much of its development, I was not the Chairman of the PPCC.”
Mr. Belleh also explained that by the end of 2008, the revision of the PPCC law was underway and noted that the 2008 PPCC Annual Report said two legal experts funded by the United States government through the International Business Initiative (IBI), were recruited to harmonize the Minerals and Mining Act (MMA) of Liberia and the Petroleum Laws of Liberia with the PPCC Act.
According to him, by the time he was appointed Chairman of the PPCC on April 5, 2010, the process of reviewing and amending the law was far advanced.