Liberia: Court to Rule on Status of Bond Filed For Five Indicted Central Bank Officials
Monrovia – Presiding Judge Peter Gbeneweleh of the Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice is expected to put an end to the controversy between the prosecution and defense lawyers over the validity of the property and insurance bonds filed on behalf of five indicted officials of the Central Bank of Liberia when he rules on the matter on Monday, June 3, at 2:00 pm.
Report by Kennedy L. Yangian, [email protected]
Prosecution lawyers at the on-going conference hearing of the case through a motion have declared the over US$1m property and insurance bonds filed on behalf of the Defendants as insufficient and do not commensurate with the economic sabotage charges levied against the Defendants whom the prosecution lawyers have accused of allegedly squandering over US$1m and LD$ 5bn respectively while serving in various capacities at the bank. Defense lawyers have rejected these claims.
The court’s ruling comes as arguments heighten over the motion put on the floor by the prosecution and defense lawyers Tuesday, May 28.
During the arguments, defense lawyer Cllr. Abraham Sillah who took the stand to represent former Governor Milton Weeks stated that his client bond is sufficient.
He said what the prosecution needed was for his client to double the bond which has been rooted out by the Supreme Court in one of its previous opinions mainly for charges of economic sabotage.
“Your honor, please deny and dismiss the prosecution motion declaring my client bond as insufficient but what they need for us to do is doubled the gain but the law that they are relying on has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court especially for economic sabotage charges,” argued Cllr.Sillah.
Another defense lawyer Cllr. Johnny Momoh also told the court that reports submitted to the court about the Accident and Casualty Insurance Company, the insurance company that filed the bond, has huge assets that amount to US$1.6m, therefore, the prosecutions need not worry about a bond.
“Your honor, the prosecution should not be around here worrying about [the] bond they have charged these people all we want from them now is to go into the case,” added Cllr. Johnny Momoh.
Prosecution lawyer and Montserrado County Attorney Cllr.Edwin Martin, who was the last to counter-argue, said ex-governor Weeks’ bond on the court record amount to US$909,319.88 while the four other Defendants bond amount to US$240,000 which “are all insufficient”.
“Your honor this Court even has [a] problem in locating the property bond submitted to this court that property bonds are filled with discrepancies, therefore, deny it,” argued Cllr. Martin.
The five Central Bank officials who bonds are questioned are currently charged with economic sabotage, criminal facilitation and solicitation includes, former Governor Milton Weeks, Deputy Governor for Operation Charles Sirleaf, Director of Finance Dorbor Hagba, Director of Operation, Richard Walker and Deputy Director for Internal Audit Joseph Dennis.
The Defendants were indicted in March 2019 after the Presidential Investigative Team (PIT) Report into the alleged 16 billion Liberian Bank notes that was printed by the Crane Currency of Tumba, Sweden and brought into the country.