Liberia: International Investigators Conclude that There’s No Ground for Cummings’ Prosecution; Say Allegation Is Politically Motivated

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MONROVIA – In the view of the Omnia Strategy and ALACO Analytics, the ongoing prosecution of Alexander Cummings and the two co-defendants from the ANC is worthless, premised on a political process masquerading as a neutral investigative review of the CPP Framework Document by an independent team set up by the very accusers.

The two agencies were hired by Mr. Cummings and his Alternative National Congress to conduct an independent forensic investigation of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) Framework Document vis-à-vis the allegation that it was altered by Mr. Cummings.

Before the start of the independent investigation, the ANC stated in a press release, “Throughout his corporate, philanthropic, and political career, at home and abroad and his recent political engagements in Liberia, Mr. Cummings has always been committed to high standards of integrity, honesty, probity, and transparency. These allegations are an attempt to question and undermine his values.”

Omnia is an international law firm that specializes in dispute prevention and resolution around the globe. It is led by Cherie Blair CBE, QC. 

Alaco is a leading business intelligence firm, providing due diligence, dispute and investigation services since 2002. 

Their Investigation

In the foreword of the Report, Cherie Blair cautioned Liberians to examine whether the Rule of Law is being ignored – or even intentionally flouted – to arrest the progress of a prominent political opponent of the Weah Government as in the case of Cummings’ prosecution.

Insisting that their investigation of the CPP Framework Document was thoroughly independent and forensic, the old adage that there is “no smoke without fire” does not apply to the allegations against Cummings.

“To the contrary, this Report lays bare how baseless complaints have been upheld and bolstered by a fundamentally unreliable, amateurish, political process masquerading as a neutral investigative review, and are inexplicably now before the criminal courts,” she noted.

Both Omnia and OLACO analyzed the evolution of the Framework Document from the draft to the final copy filed with the National Elections Commission; scrutinized the communications by and among the All Liberian Party, the Unity Party, Liberty Party and the Alternative National Congress during the process of negotiating, finalizing and registering the Framework Document.

They also reviewed the findings of the CPP Investigative Committee established by the political leaders of the CPP to examine the allegations and forensically compared various WhatsApp chatroom logs and those submitted by the Prosecution in the ongoing Liberian Criminal Proceedings to identify and assess any discrepancies.

The investigation by the two firms established that the CPP Investigative Committee Report is fundamentally flawed, both in terms of its process and its stated conclusions.

The CPP Investigative Report, according to them, did not provide any substantiation for the allegations and is a “wholly unsafe basis for any criminal prosecution. Given the inevitably.”

“The manner in which the allegations have been casually amplified and wrongly given credence raises important questions about the motivations of the CPP Investigative Committee and the enthusiasm with which its findings have been used by the Government of Liberia to underpin the criminal prosecution of a political opponent,” the firms noted.

The foreign forensic investigators opined that there are substantial differences in structure and content between the Original Framework Document whether dated April 25, 2020 or May 19, 2020 and later versions.  However, such is not in dispute because the evolution of the Framework Document is logical and a consequence of the iterative process of negotiating the Framework Document.

They made specific reference to the introduction of the legal advisors’ proposed amendments to the Original Final Document which were incorporated into the Post-Reviewed Final Document and was reviewed and approved by the Constituent Parties prior to registration of the Document with the NEC.

They further established that the CPP investigative committee did not take into consideration the key events relating to the Constituent Parties’ review and approval of the Post-Review FD (between 25 June and 14 July 2020). In their view, such failure “significantly undermines the findings and credibility of the CPP Investigative Committee Report while the omission of these events from the CPP Investigative Committee’s analysis is inexplicable.”

They further stated: “In particular, because the circumstances of these events were within the direct knowledge of the CPP Investigative Committee by virtue of the involvement of a number of its members in the very events under review, including the Chairman of the CPP Investigative Committee, Mr [Theodore] Momo. Not only does this glaring oversight raise questions regarding the competence and motivations of the CPP Investigative Committee but, more importantly, the CPP Investigative Committee Report is shown to be flawed and unreliable.”

Addressing the cardinal issue of the allegation that the signature page of the Framework Document filed with the NEC was lifted from the previous Framework Document, they explained that their findings established that there was no single signature sheet emanating from the 19 May 2020 virtual signing bearing all of the required signatures of the Party Leaders and Chairpersons of the Constituent Parties; and there are structural and formatting inconsistencies between the signature sheet used during the 19 May 2020 virtual signing and the fully-executed signature sheet that was filed with the NEC on 14 July 2020.

Omnia and ALACO also revealed that though it is the ALP who levied the allegations against Mr. Cummings, their investigation established that the ALP Chairman acknowledged receipt of the Reviewed Framework Document when it was placed in the WhatsApp Chatroom on June 27, 2020 by Mr. Cummings. He went on the state in the chatroom that the ALP was working on a resolution for the adoption of the Framework Document on June 29, 2020.

Momo subsequently stated during a Zoom meeting on July 1, 2020 that he saw “nothing major” with the Legal Advisors’ edits to the Framework Document as reflected in the Post-Review Framework Document and signed, alongside Mr. Benoni Urey, the ALP’s resolution approving and adopting the Framework Document on 7 July 2020, after the Post-Review Document was in circulation.

The investigative report concluded: “In light of our investigation, we have serious concerns regarding the findings of the CPP Investigative Committee Report, which was lacking in each of its scope of review, analytical rigour and conclusions. Accordingly, its process and outcome are fundamentally unreliable. Together with omissions in Prosecution evidence, this calls into question, therefore, the very basis upon which the Prosecution has commenced criminal proceedings against Mr Cummings and his co-defendants. Indeed, informed by the findings in this Report – including that it is plainly evident that the Constituent Parties discussed, agreed and approved the version of the Framework Document that was ultimately filed with the NEC – it is difficult to conceive how the allegation that Mr. Cummings and others conspired to tamper with the Framework Document could be thought to have any legitimate foundation at all let alone provide safe grounds for prosecution.”

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