Criminal Court "C" is situated at at the Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill, Monrovia. Judge Gbeneweleh made the pronouncement in open court on Monday, July 22, 2019 after the court heard final arguments of the case.
Durng the final arguments, Prosecution lawyer headed by Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh told the court that they provided all of the evidence and two rebutal witnesses to prove the case.
The prosecution team then prayed the court to render judgement in favor of the state.
Prosecutors are asking for the maximum sentence for 15 years in prison.
For its part, the defense team headed by Cllr. Cyril Jones argued that his clients are not guilty of the crimes for which they were indicted for by the Government of Liberia(GoL).He said the spreadsheet shows that the money that the Government is talking about was only intended for Sharman and Sharman by Sable Mining.According to Cllr. Jones, the money in ques+on was not public money so when they are asking about economic sabotage should be proven well.
He labeled Global Witness as an organiza+on that goes to developing countries and with the so propose of giving false report on individuals and ins+tu+ons in other to get money from their partners that they are working and called on the court not to take the organiza+on seriously.Among other things, he contended that to commit the crime of bribery there must be a reason and mo+ve, stressing that the dra/ing started 2007 and was completed in 2009 so there was no reason for someone to change the PPCC Act of 2010 because it was established that all was in it , “while you will want to pay money for something that you will not benet from’’.Sherman, Tyler and Jones were the three persons who testified for the defense team and subsequently denied the allegation of bribery and inserting Section 75 of the PPCC Act into the law to make Wologisi Mountain a non-bidding area for Sable Mining.
Mrs. Mildred N. Sayon, clerk of the House of Representatives; Joseph S. Neuvillie, former executive director of the PPCC; and Emmanuel O. Sherman, Deputy Minister for Operations at the Ministry of Mines an Energy and former chief of Geologist for the Liberia Geological Survey at the ministry, were witnesses the court subpoenaed to testify based on a request of the defense lawyers.
It may be recalled that in May 2016, former President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf ordered an inquiry into what has been described as Sable’s attempt to acquire an iron ore concession in northern Liberia after the Global Witness made accusations of wrong-doing.The defendants, who have since pleaded not guilty to the charges, include: Senator H. Varney Sherman, former Speaker Alex Tyler, Dr. Eugene Shannon, former Minister of Mines and Energy, former Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Ernest C.B. Jones, Senator Morris Saytumah, Richard Tolbert, former chairman of the National Investment Commission (NIC); Willie Belleh, former chairman of PPCC; and a Nigerian businessman, Christopher Onanuga.
The defendants are facing charges of bribery, economic sabotage,criminal conspiracy, criminal solicitation and criminal facilitation. The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to have used their positions to amend Liberia's public procurement and concessions law to have allegedly benefited Sable Mining to win the concession without a tender.
In the end, however, Sable Mining was not awarded the property, known as Wologizi.The case was tried under the gavel of Judge Yamie Gbeisay but was takenon appeal before the Supreme Court on a Writ of Certiorari.A Writ of Certiorari is an order a higher court issues to review the decisions and proceedings of a lower court to determine if there were any irregularities.Government prosecutors had prayed for the Writ in the wake of Judge Gbeisay's denial of their request to have controversial emails and spreadsheets marked permanently included in their oral and documentary presentations.However, the case was suspended in last October by the Supreme Court inorder to focus on cases that would have arisen from elections related irregularities during the October 10 Presidential and Representative Elections."We are going to concentrate on cases that would come from the ongoing electoral process for now, but not criminal matters," the Court said on October 3, 2017.
The Supreme Court's decision came as a result of government prosecutors'petition for a Writ of Certiorari against Judge Gbeisay's denial of the prosecution's request to have controversial emails and spreadsheets marked permanently included in their oral and documentary presentations.
During the October 3 hearing before the Supreme Court, lead lawyers for the prosecution in persons of Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould and Jonathan Fonati Koffa were absent. Cllr. Gould had since passed away while prosecutor Jonathan Fonati Koffa had resigned his post to contest legislative elections in Grand Kru County.
A spokeswoman for Sable Mining at the time said the company could not comment on the accusations made in the indictment, which covered a period including 2010 and 2011.Previously Sable Mining said the Global Witness report appeared to be based on "unreliable" testimony from three former business partner.