However, the jail term has been suspended. Mr. James Nyumah Dorkor, a former comptroller of the Ministry of Defense, was sentenced to jail for six months.
Judge Gbeisay, sentencing the convicts yesterday, said the court is suspending the sentence provided the former Defense Ministry officials agree to restitute the whole amount or significant portion of the amount within six months. He said the balance is stipulated to be restituted within twelve months as of the ruling.
But he pointed out that failure on the part of the former Minister Samukai and his deputy to do same, they will be left with no alternative, but to serve the full two- year sentence.
“This court says considering his physical condition and his minor role in the commission of the crime, is hereby sentenced to six months Imprisonment; which six (6)months sentence is also hereby suspended, provided he restitutes his share of the judgment sum in whole or in substantial part in six (6) months and file a stipulation to pay the balance in twelve (12) months; failure of which he shall serve the full six months in common prison and make restitution, ” said the court ruling of co-defendant James Nyumah Dorkor who elected to reserve the right to the privacy of his health status.
Pursuant to an indictment charging the Defendants, J. Brownie Samukai Jr., Joseph P. Johnson and James Nyumah Dorkor for various crimes, the court said following a regular trial, adjudged all three Defendants guilty of the crimes of misuse of public money, a felony of the first degree, theft of property for 1.3 million United States Dollars, a felony of the second degree and Criminal conspiracy.
Nevertheless, the court ruling said the minimum term of imprisonment not being stated, it is presumably left within the sound discretion of the trial court, giving due consideration to the fact and circumstances of the commission of the crimes and the Defendants previous records.
It can be recalled that the final judgment of the Criminal Court ‘C’ ordered the restitution of USD 687,656.35 to the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) retirement funds and USD 460,000.00 to the Government of Liberia (GoL) account and further ordered the probation services division of Montserrado County, to conduct a pre-sentence investigation of the Defendants conduct and file its report to the in fourteen days in obedience to Chapter 31.5 of the Criminal procedure law.
Meanwhile, the defense lawyers headed by Cllr. M. Wilkins Wright have taken an exception to the ruling and announced an appeal before the Supreme Court, the final arbiter of justice in the country.
According to the them, the lower judge blundered in both the guilty verdict and the sentencing. On the other hand, prosecution lawyers also took exception to the sentence of the Defendants.
It can be recalled that when the guilty verdict was handed down last month, the defense lawyers took exception and announced that they would be taking an appeal to the Supreme Court.
However they later conceded that they cannot do anything on account that the state cannot take an appeal before the Supreme Court.