Liberia: Lead Prosecutor Withdraws from Former Defense Minister’s Economic Sabotage Trial

Cllr. Arthur Johnson’s withdrawal from the case, according to him, is based on the lack of will within the government to fight corruption and the failure on the part of the government to settle his nine months salary arrears

Monrovia – The lead prosecutor in the economic sabotage case involving former Minister of Defense, Brownie Samukai, has backed off from the case and all other cases being tried by the government.

His withdrawal from the case comes as a result of his resignation from the Asset Investigation, Recovery and Restitution Team (AIRReT) for which he served as the head of the team.

According to Cllr. Arthur Johnson, his resignation from AIRReT was prompted by the lack of will by the government to fight corruption. 

The case against Samukai was a result of AIRReT’s investigation. 

Cllr. Johnson also mentioned in his resignation letter that he and his colleagues on the team have not been paid for about nine months which undermines the fight against corruption. 

In his letter of resignation, Cllr. Johnson stated: “I am so constrained to tender in my resignation from the position of Chairman of the Assets investigation Restitution and Recovery Team (AIRReT) due to the fact that my anticipation and perception about the fight against corruption is not achieving its objectives. I expected that there will be a “WILL” in the fight against corruption but this belief of mine had proven to be an illusion and therefore, I cannot continue to risk my career and reputation”.

Cllr. Johnson resignation comes at the time State lawyers are finding it very difficult to prosecute former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai and his two former deputies, Joseph J. Johnson, for Deputy Minister for Administration and J. Nyumah Dorkor, Former Comptroller, especially where the defendants are expected to take the witness stand beginning Monday, March 9, 2020 to prove their side of the case

The trio has been undergoing trial at the Criminal Court ‘C’ in Monrovia for the alleged commission of the crimes of economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, misuse of public money, and money laundering, among others.

They were indicted on October 9, 2019 by the grand jury of Montserrado County for the alleged commissioned of the crimes.

However, they pleaded not guilty to the commission of the crimes when they were arraigned before the court, joining issue with the State to prove them guilty.