Liberia: Quarrel over Prosecution Evidence in Central Bank Economic Sabotage Case
Monrovia – Lawyers representing five indicted Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) officials Thursday, September 19, 2019 objected to the submission of several prosecution evidence against the Defendants but prosecution lawyers have termed the objection as a waste of the court’s time to proceed with the trial.
The Defendants’ objection to the evidence comes after the prosecution’s first witness, Barba Borkai, Program Manager and Supervisor of Enforcement and Investigation at the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), on the witness stand identified 44 species of evidence that the prosecution had asked the court to admit them into evidence.
The species of evidence Borkai had identified and submitted to be admitted into evidence are statements obtained from the Defendants, letter from former President Sirleaf to the Legislature for the printing of L$5 billion, the investigative reports of the LACC, among others.
“Your honor, one of the defense counsels will like to object to the submission of the prosecution evidence marked, 34,44,45,46, and 47,” said Cllr. Sunifu Sheriff who told the court some of the evidence submitted by the prosecution was not in the possession of the defense counsels.
Prosecution lawyer Cllr. Arthur Johnson counter-argued and told the court that the defense counsels were deploying tactics to waste the court’s time as some of the species of evidence they have objected to were not submitted to the court by the prosecution to be admitted into evidence.
The defense counsel’s decision to object to several of the prosecution’s evidence from being admitted into evidence caused the presiding Judge, Blamo Dixon, to adjourn the case until Monday, September 23, 2019 at of 2:00 pm. He would then rule on the defense counsel’s application. The ruling would be centered around whether to accept the evidence in question or reject it.
Outside of the court, one of the defense counsel Cllr. Augustine Fayiah told FrontPageAfrica that they are objecting to the evidence in question because the prosecution failed to provide them those evidence as the law provides. “What do they want to hide,” said Cllr. Fayiah.
However, Chief Prosecutor and Solicitor General Syrenius Cephas told this paper that the evidence is bulky. “This is what the defense did not understand, but the defense made a blunt objection because they did not state which evidence they specifically did not see.
“We have not gone an inch of our demonstration of evidence, after the marking of our evidence we will start to proceed with the demonstration of our evidence. The evidence is so huge until the Defendants themselves now have the second thought since we started the production of evidence,” Cllr. Cephas said.
The five Central Bank of Liberia officials who are on trial are former Governor Milton Weeks, former Deputy Governor for Operations Charles Sirleaf, Director of Finance Department Dorbor Hagba, Richard Walker Director for Operation and Joseph Dennis Deputy Director of Internal Audit.
The Defendants are on trial for allegedly printing the excess amount of L$2,645,000 out of the L$16B printed by the Crane Currency of Sweden and brought into the country.
The five Defendants are charged with economic sabotage, money laundering, criminal facilitation and conspiracy but all of them have since denied the charges hereby joining issues with state prosecutors to prove its case against them.