Liberia: Court Gives Alexander Cummings 72-Hour Ultimatum to Produce Original CPP Framework Document
Monrovia – The Magistrate of the Monrovia City Court has given the political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, 72 hours to produce the original copy of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) Framework Document which would be used by the Prosecution to prove their allegation of forgery and criminal conspiracy against Cummings.
Last week, the State prosecutor, Solicitor General Cllr. Syrennius Cephus prayed the court for ‘SUPENO DU CE TECUM’ which will compel Mr. Cummings to produce the original copy of the CPP Framework Document.
According to Cllr. Cephus, there were five copies of the Framework Document signed to be distributed amongst member party within the CPP following the submission of the document to the National Elections Commission, but same was never done by Cummings up to date.
Cummings’ lawyers had argued that it was against the jurisprudence and the Constitution of Liberia to compel a defendant to produce evidence against him/herself.
However, in his ruling on Wednesday, Judge Jomah Jallah stated that the document in question is a public document and not self-incriminating to any of the parties, as such, Cummings needs to turn over the instrument.
According to Judge Jallah, Article 21(h) of the Constitution as his legal reliance for his action and maintained that the ANC Political Leader needs to surrender the CPP’s Framework Document to kick off the litigation at the Monrovia City Court after pleading not guilty to allegation of forgery and criminal conspiracy.
“This court, therefore, holds and submits that the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination as provided for under Article 21 (h) of the 1986 Constitution does not apply to business records, public documents or political contracts that are normally executed by the parties own rules and regulations as they may deem fit. That said motion should be and same is hereby granted as a matter of law,” Judge Jallah stressed.
He continued, “The respondents are hereby ordered to bring and produce to this court within 72 hours, the two (2) copies of the same original signed framework document of May 19, 2020, as of the date of this ruling.”
However, Cummings’ lawyers led by Cllr. Abrahim Sillah took exception to Magistrate Jallah’s ruling, saying they will take advantage of the law controlling.
Magistrate Jallah’s ruling is a major boost for prosecuting lawyers, as the evidence in question is crucial for them in establishing their case against the ANC Political Leader and his two officials on allegation of forgery and criminal conspiracy.
The government is prosecuting ANC Political Leader Alexander Cumming and two of his top officials, Senator Daniel Naatehn, Chairman of the party, and Atty. Alloysius Toe, Secretary-General at the Monrovia City Court for allegedly tampering with the Collaborating Political Parties’ framework documents when the Political leader was serving as Chairman in 2021, following a complaint from All Liberian Party Political Leader Benoni Urey.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the CPP, Joseph Boakai and Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence would be testifying against Mr. Cummings.