Liberia: Prosecution Lawyers Opposed Charles Sirleaf, Milton Weeks Bond
Monrovia – State prosecutors are expected to challenge the bond filed by defendant Charles Sirleaf and Milton Weeks on Monday, March 11.
Sirleaf and Weeks were released on Friday, March 8 after the Judge of Criminal Court ’C’ Boima Kontoe approved the bond filed by their respective lawyers. Defendant Sirleaf filed an insurance bond while Weeks filed a real property bond, which secured their respective release.
According to Judge Kontoe, Weeks and Sirleaf have been ordered not to leave the bailiwick of Montserrado County without the Court’s consent. The court also ordered the two Defendants to report to the court twice every two weeks.
They have been ordered to surrender their travel documents to the court on grounds that they do not leave the country.
Although the two defendants are out of prison, state lawyers claim on Saturday that they are yet to receive a copy of the bond.
State prosecutors are expected to cite Chapter 15.86 of the penal law of Liberia in order to challenge the bond.
The law states that a person charged under this sub-chapter- F- shall be required to post a cash bond in the amount equivalent to the amount charged, but shall not be less than the amount of the fine of US$10,000 as prescribed therein.
Solicitor General Daku Mulbah said the state is prepared to see the bond and if it is not supported by law, it will be challenged.
“If the bond is filed, It is in the purview of the prosecution to assess the bond that is filed. Any bond that is filed that does not meet up to the law will be challenged,” said Cllr. Mulbah.
Prior to Sirleaf’s release, a motion was filed by lawyers representing him (Sirleaf) who cited medical conditions of “Severe Osteoarthritis of the Right Shoulder, Right Lobar Pneumonia R/O Lung Cancer, Alcoholic Liver Disease, Gout and Systemic Hypotension with hypercholesterolemia which makes his continued confinement at the Monrovia Central Prison to pose risk or death to him or serious permanent injury to his health”.
Mr. Sirleaf’s lawyers annexed to his three counts motion, a medical report over the signature of Eli M. Kiswahili, Medical Doctor, bearing license #664.
“At the call of the Motion for hearing, Prosecution requested Court for Permission to spread its response to response of respondent/prosecution is a tactic concession except that prosecution contends that the Movant not being a convict, cannot be the beneficiary of the compassionate leave. Respondent/Prosecution contends that Movant has more under Chapter 34 of the Criminal Procedure law instead Chapter 13 as the Motion portrayed,”
Mr. Sirleaf was scheduled to be released Thursday but due to the late filing by his lawyers, prosecutors did not have sufficient time to file a written resistance.
Prosecutors, while opting not to object to Mr. Sirleaf’s lawyers’ request, noted that because the trial ought to be carried on for an accused person who is well and or alive it would not at this stage interpose objections to “Compassionate Release” request.
Judge Kontoe in his ruling granted the condition compassionate release of Mr. Sirleaf set several conditions.
Judge Kontoe: “That the Passport/Passports and/or all travel document in the hand of the Movant be surrendered to this honorable court; That upon the release of the Movant from the Monrovia Central Prison, be placed under house of arrest under the supervision of this honorable court; That the movant be allowed to be visited by only close family members, his doctor and his lawyer and that while under house arrest the Movant be made to be executed and report to this honorable court.”
However, Judge Kontoe said hearing the case depends solely on the defendants.
He explained: “The indictment was filed during February term of court. If they ask for the advancement of the case it can be docketed during this term if not it will be next term, so, It is the defendant that can ask for it.”
The CBL executives were arrested following the released of the USAID-backed Kroll report and the report by the Special Presidential Investigation Team (PIT), which uncovered wide-range of discrepancies in the printing of billions of new banknotes and the controversial disbursement of US$25 million intended for infusion in the economy to curb the rising exchange rate between the Liberian and US dollar.
Mr. Sirleaf was arrested along with Dorbor Hagba also of the CBL while the pair was at work on Thursday, February 28.
Mr. Weeks turned himself to Liberia National Police on Friday, March 1, while Richard Walker, Director for Operations, and Joseph Dennis, Deputy Director for Internal Audit, were also arrested and detained at the Monrovia Central Prison.
All three- Richard Walker, Joseph Dennis and Hagba are still being held behind the walls of the Central Prison after failing to secure criminal bond. All five have been indicted by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County for multiple crimes including economic sabotage and misappropriation of public funds following the released reports of two separate investigations into the missing L$16 billion. If found guilty of economic sabotage, a felony of the first degree which is in violation of Chapter 15, sub-chapter “F” Sections 15.81 (a) (b) (c) and 15.82 (b)(c) of the New Penal Law of Liberia.