Monrovia – The May 2016 Term of Court across the country resumes Monday with a special ceremony to be attended by judges, lawyers, court officers, prospective jurors as well as party litigants.
There are four terms of the circuit courts—February, May, August and November Terms. Each has a 42-day sitting while the Supreme Court has two terms, March and October respectively.
The May term of court kicks off today with the trial of the former Minister of Commerce and the former Managing Director of the LPRC, T. Nelson Williams and others taking place.
Judge Blamo Dixon of the Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice while accepting a US$ 2m insurance bond for the five former government officials announced last month that the trial was set for the May Term 2016 of Court.
“The US$ 2m Insurance bond for the defendants is sufficient and is endorsed by this court, this case is adjourned and assigned for the May 2016 Term of Court,” said the tough talking judge Dixon.
His decision was reached after the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) lawyer, Cllr. Othello Pitman, asked the court in a motion to set aside the bond for the five former officials due to its insufficiency.
The five former officials have been indicted by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) for economic sabotage, misapplication of entrusted property, criminal conspiracy and facilitation
Those charged by the LACC to go on trial are: Miata Besylow, former Commerce Minister, Steve Flahn Paye, then Director of Price Analysis & Marketing Ministry of Commerce, T. Nelson Williams for Managing Director Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC), Aaron Wheagar, then Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery (LPRC) and Aminata & Sons.
According to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) indictment, the defendants jointly, while serving in various capacities without the color of right and fear of God and in total violation of the statutory law of Liberia, allegedly made and provided with criminal and wicked intent to deprive the government and People of Liberia their just benefits and portion of proceeds required from the distribution of the sale of Japanese petroleum products valued at US13, 083,350.
Ahead of the defendants’ trial which is to start 10-days after the court opens on Monday, two of the defendants have asked the court through their respective motions for separate trial.
Former Commerce Minister Besylow who first filed a motion to the court through her legal counsels, Pierre Tweh &Associate, told the court to grant her separate trial because her defenses are antagonistic to the rest of the defendants.
“ Movant says she is one of several co-defendants charged with the crimes of economic sabotage, misapplication of entrusted property, this motion of severance is based on the grounds that my defences clashed with and are antagonistic to those of the other defendants,” said the lone female defendant Besylow
The second defendant to file another motion for severance is the Aminata & Sons who claims that there was no factual basis or reason to have the company indicted with the other defendants, adding “MOU for the sale of the Japanese oil was signed with the company and the LPRC and it has met all obligations in the MOU.”
However, the court has not heard or rule on the motion to determine whether to grant the two defendants separate trial.
Kennedy L. Yangian [email protected]