Liberia: Pending Corruption Cases Extend to November Term
Monrovia – Pending or would-be alleged corruption cases before or to be filed before the Criminal Court ”C” at the Temple of Justice, will not be heard on the merit now due to the end of the sitting of the court.
Presiding Judge Blamo Dixon announced the closing of the August Term of the court at a brief ceremony of court marked with a prayer offered by a court official Tuesday, October 8, evening.
The Judge praised Chief Justice Francis Korkpor for his preferment to the court responsible to try economic crimes and their related cases. He also thanked prosecution and defense counsels for the cooperation afforded him during the course of the 42-day sitting of the court.
Head of the team of Roving Prosecution from the Ministry of Justice, Cllr. Samuel Jacobs, who spoke on behalf of the Justice Ministry thanked the Judge for the successful term but added that the aim of the Justice Ministry is not only to prosecute but ensure that justice is done to all.
Judge Blamo added that though the term of court had ended, the doors of the court will remain open but not for formal hearing of cases as is done during normal term of court.
By law the Criminal Court “C” is to officially open its November 2019 Term the last term of the year alongside Criminal Courts “A”, “B”, “D” & “E” on the second Monday of November 2019.
Judge Blamo was appointed Judge of the Criminal Court “C” during the August 2019 Term to replace former Judge Peter Gbeneweleh, who was re-assigned to Grand Kru County.
Prior to taking over as Judge of the Criminal Court “C”, Dixon had also served as Judge in the same Grand Kru County.
Judge Dixon boasted of a successful August Term under his watch. However, one case that dogged that term and no determination was made is the case involving five Central Bank officials. It has drawn the attention of both Liberians and their foreign partners.
The five former Central Banks’ officials, Executive Governor Milton Weeks, Deputy Executive Governor Charles Sirleaf, Director of Finance Dorbor Hagba, Director of Operations Richard Walker and Deputy Director for Internal Audit Joseph Dennis have been charged and gone on trial at the time for money laundering, economic sabotage, criminal facilitation and conspiracy.
The five men’s indictment grew out of the report of the Presidential Investigative Team (PIT) set up by President George Weah to probe the alleged missing L$16 billion printed by Crane Currency AB of Sweden and brought into the country through the Central Bank of Liberia.
PIT’s investigation accused the five men of printing the excess of L$2,645,000 out of the L$16 billion. Judge Dixon was unable to adjudicate the case. He recused himself midway into the case without stating any reason.
“I am constrained to say that I have recused myself from this case for reason best known to myself,” ruled Judge Dixon. His ruling was rejected by the prosecution.
While Judge Blamo had recused himself from the case, he heard and made determination in the case involving employees of Manco Manufacturing in which the nine employees were acquitted by a 12-member jury of theft of property, burglary and criminal conspiracy.