Law and order (113)
The Judge of Criminal Court 'C' at the Temple of Justice has reserved ruling for pending assignment in the US$1.3M Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) case involving former Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai and other former staffs as defendants and the Government of Liberia (GoL).
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Francis Korkpor Sr., has cautioned citizens over the illegal sale of land in the country or else decisive action will be taken against them.
The leadership of the Alpha Old-timers Sports Association Incorporation has provided clarification concerning its ten acres of land situated in Zubah Town, Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
The Joint Public Account Committee (PAC) of the Liberian Legislature has granted the past and current administrators of the Ministry of Health at most one month to provide proper documentations to millions of United States Dollars, which the General Auditing Commission (GAC) says are unaccounted for.
A quantum of incontrovertible evidence presented at the ongoing trial and backed by a barrage of sustained testimonies of material witnesses that included both the Deputy and the current Army Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia(AFL), General Geraldine George and Major-General Prince Johnson have exposed the flaws and frailties of the countless excuses and justifications the former Defence Minister Brownie Samukai, Deputy Minister for Administration and the Comptroller, have been providing on the alleged misapplication of the AFL money, so much that all three defendants are now scurrying for covers, and are pretentiously claiming to be ill and have therefore asked the court for a continuance of the proceedings.
From the onset of the trial, Samukai and his company have been arguing that the money was spent on AFL operations in Mali but the material witnesses produced backed the evidence displayed by the prosecution that the money was allegedly misapplied and was illegally and surreptitiously withdrawn without the consent of the AFL.
Defendant Samukai was expected to have taken the stand on Monday morning at the Criminal Court “C” after the prosecution rested with the presentation of both documentary and oral evidence, reserving the right to recall or produce rebuttal witnesses if the need be, but he appeared in court looking deterred and baffled as if he was wrestling with some inner forces, and soon after the case was called for hearing, one of his lawyers, Cllr. Augustine Fayiah, jumped off his seat, saying “Your Honour, your honour, we have a submission to make, please hear us out”.
Judge YamiQuiquiyGbeisay was shocked at the pace at which Cllr. Fayiah took the stage and so he asked him to proceed, but only to find from him that defendant Samukai was feeling somehow indifferent as if he had been “kpankpan” (tied and beaten) by an unknown spirit. The court was informed that the other two defendants had allegedly been hospitalized for unknown sicknesses and though no hospital certificate was provided, their counsel claimed the two defendants were advised not to speak to anyone or come to court or else their sicknesses would get worst.
“Even the doctors told them not to walk around in public so they are bed ridden,” a source overheard the one of the defense counsel as telling a colleague.
Many onlookers, who attended the trial, could not believe what they were seeing and hearing from the countenance of defendant Brownie Samukai.
A lady in the crowd remarked: “This man thought the government was joking and could just take whatever he said, but now the noose around his neck is rapidly tightening up.”
“Your honour, we need two weeks to assess the evidence produce by the prosecution, and moreover so two of the defendants are ill,” Cllr. Fayiah pleaded.
The request was, however, reluctantly granted by Judge Gbeisay, but he urged the defence team to be ready with their clients when the time requested come.
It is not known why Mr. Samukai and his team are playing for time but insiders closely following the trial have hinted that he is quite aware that the die is cast and there’s no way he can avoid conviction.
“ This other trial the evidence is clear,” one of the men who is attending the trial told his friend.
A source, who also overheard an insider close to Mr. Samukai, confided in this paper that the former Defense Minister is walking like paper and he is said to have told a friend that regrets what his lawyers put him through and therefore would like to use the two weeks break to beg former President Sirleaf to call on the government to abort the trial.
The source added that it is rare for both the Solicitor-General and the Chairman of the LACC to jointly and continually attend a trial of this nature from start to finish.
“This government means business and is very determined to ensure that those who have been involved in alleged corrupt practices are prosecuted successfully to serve as a deterrent,” a source close to both the Solicitor-General and the Chairman of the LACC was quoted as saying.
The two prosecutors were seeing conferring with lawyers in the bar and giving them pep talks and direction on what type of question to ask and why. At one point, the Solicitor-General vehemently objected to the defence counsel’s motion in a rather striking tone to send a strong message that the government is very serious about the case, and Judge Quiquiy after reviewing the materiality of the objection said: “ the objection is hereby sustained on all grounds cited by the prosecution. And it is so ordered.”
That objection apparently brought cold bumps on Samukai skin as he could be seen from the far left looking around like a strange on the surface of the moon and gasping for breath.
In a post-trial briefing to journalists posted on the social media, Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson, who chairs the prestigious Assets Recovery Project of the government of Liberia under the office of the Solicitor-General did not minced his words in forewarning all and sundry.
He told journalists that the evidence involving Minister Samukai and other have different grades ranging from critical to severity with each speaking to the same issue of blatant theft, misapplication of entrusted property, economic sabotage and criminal conspiracy and warned that the prosecution will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that Samukai and others understand the gravity of their actions and should be willing to pay back the money.
In concluding his statement, he said time is still on their side to call a spade a spade or face the unending embarrassment of convicted and confiscation of their properties to serve as a deterrent to other would-be corrupt officials.
Calls for the establishment of a war and economic crime court for Liberia has once again been reignited as another pressure group in mass number on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 stormed the compound of the Capitol Building to petition members of the 54th Legislature for the court to be established for Liberia.
The Plenary of the Liberian Senate on Thursday, February 13, 2020 overwhelmingly voted for a comprehensive audit of the Liberian Senate of the 53rd and 54th National Legislature.
The Director General of the Internal Audit Agency (IAA), Mr. Emmanuel B. Nyeswa, has disclosed that the IAA has concluded resource mobilization with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) for the contracting of a public accounting firm to audit the books of the agency to include its payroll for the period under the Director General’s stewardship.