Rep. Koffa Responds to Defendant Varney Sherman’s Claims of Receiving US$4.5M to Prosecute Him
Monrovia – Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, who headed the Special Presidential Taskforce established by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to probe the Sable Mining bribery scandal report, has challenged Defendant Varney Sherman to prove claims of him (Koffa) receiving US$4.5 million from the government to prosecute him (Sherman).
Cllr. Koffa, who is a representative in the House of Representatives, challenged Cllr. Sherman’s allegations when he (Sherman) took the witness stand in court to testify to what he knows about charges brought against him and others in the Sable Mining case.
According to Sherman, a senator in the Senate, Cllr. Koffa’s special investigative taskforce received that amount to do a witch-hunt against him and others.
“I challenge Cllr. Sherman or anyone making this allegation to produce authentic evidence to show that under my supervision, I received US$4.5 million to prosecute him.”
The Grand Kru County Representative stated that if he received such amount as alleged by Sen. Sherman, it would have been justified and that the accused would have been giving his testimony from South Beach. South Beach in Monrovia is where the notorious Monrovia Central Prison is situated.
“We have prosecutors and investigators who worked day and night with their credibility on the line, some of whom have not received their full compensations and for Sherman to make claims about receiving such money is defamatory and slanderous. I challenge people making those allegations to prove these allegations.”
He disclosed that he received US$1.1 million but wasn’t too sure about the amount.
Koffa, at a news conference Thursday, July 4, described Sherman’s testimony of the US$4.5 million as defamatory, and prejudicial.
“Not only did he deflect from whether he sent the emails or made the payments, Sherman also claimed that I don’t know anything about Liberian law. Yes, I don’t know anything about giving bribe, I don’t know anything about bringing Danish people and giving them passport but what I do know is that I was a Valedictorian of the Supreme Court Bar.
“What does this has to do with this case? To buy public sympathy? That you are the biggest man here? Not with me.”
Cllr. Koffa, who resigned from the taskforce when decided to run for the House of Representatives, thinks that most of the lawyers who are now in the Ministry of Justice’s Prosecuting Department on this case, should recuse themselves because they were defense counsel for Cllr. Sherman under the former regime and are now conflicted.
“This case from its very inception has been a critical hall mark against the fight against corruption.”
On the witness stand, Cllr. Sherman averred in his testimony that charges against him are based on “witch hunt and political vendetta.”
Sherman had taken the witness stand on the direct examination from the defense counsel on Monday, July 1, denying his involvement of receiving money in the amount of US$950,000 from the British company Sable Mining to bribe government officials to change the Public Procurement and Concession Act of 2010 in favor of the firm to mine the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County.
Cllr. Sherman has considered the charges of economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, facilitation, and solicitation levied against him and the seven others a “witch hunt and political vendetta” masterminded by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf because he had accused her regime of corruption and nepotism.
The Grand Cape Mount Senator bragged that the state does not have evidence to convict them and called on the Judge to review the indictment against them because it was drawn based on testimonies of two witnesses – Marc Kollie and Blamo Kofa – of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).
His argument against the state comes after the prosecution had submitted 62 pieces of evidence. The evidence was confirmed, affirmed and admitted into the record by Judge Peter Gbeneweleh, who is presiding as Judge and jury.
Also in his testimony, Sherman claimed that the Global Witness May 2016 Report, which indicted them, came from Jonathan Grant – the head of the organization – and his associates, who were incompetent and had no knowledge of Liberia Mineral and Investment Laws.