Liberia: State Prosecutors Plead for Time to Gather Evidence Against Indicted Former Central Bank Officials
Monrovia – Government lawyers have pleaded with Criminal Court C Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay for a two-week extension in order to gather evidence against five former officials of the Central Bank of Liberia.
Report by Augustine T. Tweh, [email protected]
According to the prosecution, the extension will afford them the time to adequately prepare to prove their side of the case against the defendants.
They made the application on Monday, 29 March when the court was in readiness to proceed with the trial.
Pleaded the state lawyers: “Prosecution begs Court for two weeks for the continuance of these proceedings and says further that during the period so requested, the prosecution shall disburse to this court all evidence or information on any subsequent action to be taken in the aforesaid case. Prosecution says that, this request is made in good faith and it is not intended to delay or baffle these proceedings.”
Lawyers representing the Indicted former CBL officials interposed no objection to the state lawyers’ application for the two weeks extension.
“Counsel for co-defendants says that while it is true that a continuance of this case for two weeks is a very, very long period. However, the counsel for co-defendants interpose no objection,” the lawyers for the defendants said.
The defense team also pleaded with the court to hold a separate trial for defendants Charles E. Sirleaf, Dorbor Hagba, Richard Walker and Joseph Dennis, excluding defendant Milton A. Weeks, whose case is before the Supreme Court on Certiorari.
In his ruling, Judge Gbeisay said the two weeks requested by the prosecution, if granted, will extend beyond the court term as it is left three days for the March Term of Court to elapse.
“The Court notes that today is the 39th day jury sitting and it has left three more days for the jury term of the court. Besides, if you were to add additional 10 days chambers sitting, it would be 13 days for this judge to preside over this term of court which is less than the 14 days requested for by the prosecution. Though the defense team did not interpose to the submission, it is expedient for the judge to assign the case after the term time which is the May term of court A.D 2020,” the Judge said.
He continued: “This court hereby grants the submission for continuance and therefore this case will resume the next term of court.”
Judge Gbeisay also reserved ruling in the defense team’s application for separate trial for four of the five defendants, pending the May term of court which has now been scheduled for the trial of the case.
Defendants Milton A. Weeks, former Executive Governor, Charles E. Sirleaf, former Deputy Director for Operations, Dorbor Hagba, Director for Banking, Richard Walker, Director for Operations and Joseph Dennis, Deputy Director for Internal Audit were indicted for economic sabotage following investigation into the alleged “missing L$16 billion”.