Liberia: Min. McGill ‘Actively’ Involved with Cummings’ Trial as Henry Costa Admits, “The Govt is Working for Us”
MONROVIA – Section 1.5(a) of the Criminal Procedure Law gives the government power to prosecute every crime, but when the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, who is not an agent of the Ministry of Justice, is directly interfering with the prosecution, then there’s a cause for concern.
This might be the situation of the Alex Cummings’ ongoing trial. New leaks show that Minister of State Nathaniel McGill has been having direct communication with the political leader of the All Liberian Party (ALP), Benoni Urey, who filed the complaint of forgery and criminal conspiracy against the Alternative National Congress political leader.
Mr. McGill is also believed to be in communication with the Solicitor General on the matter.
From the onset of the case when the Monrovia City Court issued Writ of Arrest for the ANC political leader, he accused the Weah-led administration of manipulating Mr. Urey for the sole purpose of disintegrating the Collaboration Political Parties (CPP) of which both the ANC and the ALP are constituent members along with the Unity Party and the Liberty Party.
“I think the ALP has decided to leave the CPP which is their right and therefore I don’t understand the basis for these allegations, they’re unfounded and I believe they’re all political. I believe unfortunately, that Mr. Urey is, perhaps, being used by the government because a united opposition makes it difficult for Mr. Weah to replace himself,” Cummings told the BBC on last Monday.
When Cummings alleged the government’s interference, the Minister of Information was quick to debunk the allegation. He told FrontPageAfrica that the government “The Liberian Government is focused on continuing its efforts at delivering on the national development agenda and has interest in the petit and divisive internal political arrangements of the CPP.”
Mr. Ledgerhood Rennie went on to say, “…it is common public knowledge that real reason for the disgraceful commotion within the CPP is simply because of individual desperation for political power.”
However, leaks from the Council of Patriots (COP) WhatsApp chatroom of have exposed McGill and the government’s interference with the case and indicated that the allegations against the ANC political leader were all “trumped up”.
The message reads, “Further to our conversation the other day, I have made some inquiries. The prosecution of Alexander Cummings on what appears to be trumped up charges has not been well-received. There is renewed interest in Nathaniel McGill, whom you know from our previous conversations there is a dossier on. Now Benoni Urey and his daughter Telia have also attracted attention, as has the Solicitor General Cyrennius Cephas. I think people are also looking into the judge’s record, to see if he has a history of corruption. Just wanted to let you know, based on our relationship. Other than that, I hope you have a good weekend.”
The message was posted in the COP chatroom by Henry Costa who indicated that it was forwarded by McGill.
Costa had apparently forgotten or did not know that Mulbah Yorgbor who until Sunday morning served the Secretary General of the COP and also the Director of Communications for the ANC was still a member the chatroom.
When questioned by Mulbah why the COP was doing business with the government, he replied, “We sued ANC… the government is working with us as our lawyers”. Costa stated the government shared the information with their legal team.
Minister McGill has refuted forwarding the message to Henry Costa though he admitted forwarding same to the ALP political leader Benoni Urey, Solicitor General Cllr. Cyrennius Cephus and Lenn Eugene Nagbe.
The message, according the chats, was sent by Riva Levinson to the Liberian Ambassador in Washington, Mr. George Pattern who then forwarded to the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill.
However, FrontPageAfrica got clarification that the message emanated from the office of U.S. Congressman Chris Smith’s chief of staff to Amb. Pattern, who also forwarded to Minister McGill.
Urey, The Real Regime Collaborator?
In 2016, Mr. Urey who is now believed to be collaborating with the ruling CDC at the detriment of the opposition CPP, sparked a similar controversy when the opposition attempted to unite to unseat the then ruling Unity Party.
Back then, Mr. Urey initiated a fight with the late leader of the opposition Liberty Party, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine. The feud was triggered by an argument between both opposition leaders, setting off a heated exchange regarding the structure of what was drafted as the Ganta Declaration when four political parties considered forming a collaboration.
At the time, Mr. Urey raised an issue regarding the legal structuring of the Ganta Declaration, which it said was prepared by Cllr. Charles Brumskine. Mr. Urey also accused Cllr. Brumskine of being a regime collaborator with the then-ruling Unity Party.
Cllr. Brumskine took offense with Mr. Urey’s comment and then stated in a boastful tone that he is the most learned and most read lawyer in Liberia. Mr. Urey came back at him saying that he won’t allow Cllr. Brumskine to talk down to him as he is known for doing to others.”
In response, Cllr. Brumskine suggested that there was a long period in Liberia’s history when Liberia was a one-party state. But Mr. Urey and others reportedly rejected the claim, stating that there had always been an opposition, only that they were not strong. Things got so heated, according to the source that Cllr. Brumskine asked Urey: “What do you know about law?”
Cllr. Brumskine added: “I will not denigrate the office of the presidency to which I aspire. The Liberty Party and myself have criticized the policy of the Sirleaf-Boakai administration longer and more than another opposition political party.”
Mr. Urey, on the other hand remained firm on this firebrand rhetoric of blast of criticism against President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the rest of her administration. “It’s time to get serious, our people are dying, and they are hungry. This country is basically running itself and we are not afraid as we care about no favor. We will say what it is in black and white because we believe we owe it to the Liberian people,” he said.
Solicitor General Reacts
Meanwhile, in a reaction to messages which were screenshot and posted to Facebook by Yorgbor, the Solicitor General Cllr. Cyrennius Cephus stated his involvement in the prosecution of Mr. Cummings is prescribed by the Liberian Criminal Procedure Code.
“The purported author of the text message should understand that at the moment Cummings and his collaborators are, under the principle of presumption of innocence, still presumed innocent until the contrary is established beyond all reasonable doubts. Being that the burden of proof rests on the state, it’s but fair to all and sundry to be circumspect rather than being judgmental and inflammatory in their attacks against their perceived enemies, not least the Honorable Solicitor General and Chief Prosecutor of this sovereign Republic,” he stated.