Judge Approves US$2M Criminal Appearance Bond For Former Officials


Monrovia – Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court C’ put smiles on the faces of former and present Government officials when their US$2 million bond was accepted by the court. The ruling by the judge follows a two day argument by prosecution and defense lawyers following prosecution exception and a motion to justify surety filed by the defense in the proceeding.

Miata Beyslow former Minister of Commerce, Steve Flahn-Paye then Director Division of Price Analysis and Marketing, Ministry of Commerce T. Nelson Williams, former Managing Director and Aaron Wheagar, then deputy managing director for operations all of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company were indicted by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission on Economic Sabotage, Misapplication of entrusted Property, Criminal Conspiracy, Criminal Facilitation and violation of required Public Procurement and Concession Commission procedures and process.

According to the State the exception to the criminal appearance bond filed by the defendants is fatally, defective, insufficient, and does not meet the requirement and standards of law.

In a 16 count exception, the state prayed the court to set aside the bond until same is made adequately sufficient. But the defendants filed a motion to justify the surety contained in 18 counts, praying that their bond be confirmed and allowed by the court.

The defendants withdrew their motion to justify surety and filed an amended motion to justify surety and attached a certificate of the insurance company-Accident and Casualty Insurance Company Assets. After hearing a writ of subpoena was issued on the Central Bank of Liberia in order to testify to the certificate issued to the said Insurance Company by the Bank.

An authorized officer of the bank in person of Ivan Dorbor Korvah Assistant Director for Insurance, Central Bank of Liberia, appeared before the court confirmed and affirmed the said certificate in favor of the surety for the defendants.

The Accident and Casualty Insurance Company was represented in court by Preston A. Miller Sr, General Manager of the said insurance company, the surety also confirmed, reconfirmed, affirmed and reaffirmed the criminal appearance bond of the defendants and the certificate issued in favor of the insurance company by the Central Bank of Liberia.

Prosecution requested the court to grant its exception to the criminal appearance bond invalid and set same aside.

But in his ruling the Presiding Judge of Criminal Court C’ Dixon said the defendants met the requirement and standard contained in the case Margaret E. Robertson, Et-AL, versus Quiah Brothers , Et-AL referencing the 2012 opinion of the honorable Supreme Court of Liberia.

“The primary purposes of bail in a criminal case are to relieve the accused of imprisonment, to relieve the state of the burden of keeping the accused pending trial and at the same time to keep the accused constructively in the custody of the court, whether before or after the conviction, to ensure that he will submit to the jurisdiction of the court and be in attendance thereon whenever his attendance is required” IBID: 37LLR, Page 604, SYL4 (1994).

Also the 1986 constitution of Liberia Article 21(d) (1&2) provides: “All accused persons shall be bailable upon their personal recognizance by sufficient sureties, depending upon the gravity of the charge, unless charged with capital offenses as defined by law.” “Excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed, nor excessive punishment inflicted.”

Judge Dixon therefore decided “Wherefore in view of the foregoing, and the laws controlling, the court is inclined to grant defendants’ amended motion to justify surety.”

The Judge added: “The bond is hereby allowed, confirmed, affirmed and endorsed by the court. The court shall not imprison the defendants because their bond is now sufficient in law by virtue of the certificate issued in favor of the surety of the defendants”.

Judge Dixon noted the Accident Casualty Insurance Company by the Central Bank of Liberia, the Prosecution’s exception to the defendants’ criminal appearance bond is hereby denied and dismissed.”