Liberia: Lebanese Father and Son Sentenced to Jail by Criminal Court ‘C’ Amid Guilty Verdict for Theft of Property

The pair were ordered to restitute the amount of US$1,370,390.60 to the private prosecutor, Ezzat Eid

Monrovia – Criminal Court ‘C’ Judge Yarmie Q. Gbeisay has sentenced Lebanese businessmen Salah Farhat and Tamer Farhat after they were found guilty for the crimes of ‘Theft of Property, Misapplication of entrusted property and Criminal conspiracy’.

The pair served as defendant in the case “Republic of Liberia by and through Tayo Motors, represented by Ezzat Eid versus Salah Farhat and Tamer Farhat, who were charged with theft of Property, misapplication of entrusted property and criminal conspiracy.

The defendants were ordered to restitute the amount of US$1,370,390.60 to the private prosecutor, Ezzat Eid.

The maximum period of imprisonment for Theft of Property in which the amount exceeds 50,000 is five years, the same as a felony of the second degree.

In the sentence, the court said in obedience to Chapter 31, section 31.5 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Liberia, instructed the Probation and Parole Services Division of the Ministry of Justice to conduct a pre-sentence investigation of the defendants’ character and to file its report to the court in 15 days.

According to the court, the report was filed, and it was gathered that there is no history of criminal record of the defendants.

The report further revealed that the private prosecutor, Ezzat Eid and Salah Farhat, both Lebanese nationals, have been friends for a long time.

However, effort by the Lebanese community of Liberia to resolved the problem between them, through an arbitration was rejected by co-defendant Salah Farhat, opting for the court.

“This court notes that a situation of this nature involving business transactions and allegation of misuse of money, an arbitration proceeding consisting of professional or careered business talcum would have been the best alternative,” the Judge said in the sentence.

On April 56, 2020, Salah Farhat and his son Tamer Farhat were found guilty for stealing over US$1 million dollars from Tayo Motors. They had pleaded not guilty throughout the trial.                                                                                                                                                                                                             In addition to the stealing, Salah Farhat, a shareholder in the company and son, Tamer Farhat, an employee, were also found guilty of theft of property, misapplication of entrusted property and criminal conspiracy. The charge of money laundering was dropped.

In his verdict, Judge Gbeisay declared that based on the evidence adduced during the trial and the laws cited, the court found that the prosecution proved its case beyond all reasonable doubts that the defendants jointly and severally committed the crimes.

“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, defendants are adjudged guilty of the crimes of criminal conspiracy, theft of property and the misapplication of entrusted property,” ruled Judge Gbeisay.

Defendants Salah Farhat and son Tamer Farhat were indicted by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County in February 2019 for the alleged commission for the crimes of theft of property, money laundering misapplication of entrusted property and criminal conspiracy based on complaint by the majority partner of Tayo Motors Liberia, represented by Ezzat Eid.

The indictment stated that Defendant Salah Farhat, a 25-percent shareholder, had allegedly misapplied the company’s fund and properties in the amount of US$1,663,186.58.

The Criminal Court ‘C’ Judge at the Temple of Justice had ordered the two defendants who were in court for the ruling to restitute the amount of US$1,370,390.60 to the management of the Tayo Motors Liberia.

Judge Gbeisay claimed that the manner and form in which the records of the business were kept and money expanded, one does not have to be a rocket scientist to know that the managing partner had a nefarious motives or separate agenda in running the business to the detriment of the majority partner, Ezzid Eid.

Cllr. David Woah, representing the defendants took exception to Judge Gbeisay’s ruling by taking an appeal to the Supreme Court during the October 2020 sitting of the high court.