Final Judgment in Global Witness-Sable Mining Case

REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA) IN THE FIRST JUDICIAL CIRCUIT COURT,
MONTSERRADO CO. ) CRIMINAL ASSIZES “C” SITTING IN ITS
MAY TERM, A.D. 2019

BEFORE HIS HONOR: PETER W. GBENEWELEH...ASSIGNED CIRCUIT JUDGE PRESIDING

Republic of Liberia ……………PLAINTIFF)
)
Versus )
) CRIMES:
G. Varney Sherman, E.C.B. ) BRIBERY, ECONOMIC
Jones, Christopher Onnuga, ) SABOTAGE, CRIMINAL
Alex Tyler, Sable Mining Inc., ) CONSPIRACY, CRIMINAL
Richard Tolbert, Andrew ) SOLICITATION, CRIMINAL
Groves, Klaus Piprek, Eugene ) FACILITATION
Shannon, Morris Saytumah, )
and Willie Belleh of the City of )
Monrovia, Liberia………….DEFENDANTS)

FINAL JUDGMENT

The genesis of this case is as follows:

The trial of this case was conducted by the Presiding Judge sitting as Jury de facto, the Defendants having expressly waived their rights to trial by jury, which right is reserved to them. The Constitution, Art. 21(h); Criminal Procedure Law, Section 20.2.

According to the evidence adduced at this trial, on May 11, 2016, Global Witness, a non-governmental organization based in the United Kingdom, published a Report entitled “THE DECEIVERS”, which claimed to be an investigation into the financial activities of a Mr. Phil Edmonds and Mr. Andrew Groves in different parts of the world, including Liberia. On May 12 and 13, 2016, excerpts of THE DECEIVERS were widely published in the print and electronic media in Liberia. THE DECEIVERS catalogued financial schemes which Mr. Phil Edmonds and Mr. Andrew Groves had allegedly been involved in, and one of such financial schemes is their establishment of a company called Sable Mining Africa Limited (hereinafter “Sable Mining”), a company listed on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange. Liberia is one of several African countries where the pair is alleged to be involved in financial malpractices and other criminal activities; of the eighty-five (85) pages of THE DECEIVERS, eleven (11) pages covered Liberia.

Global Witness alleged in THE DECEIVERS that Sable Mining's executives came to Liberia in 2010, engaged the services of the law firm of Sherman & Sherman, and informed its founder, Counsellor Varney Sherman, that they were interested in obtaining mineral rights to the Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County, which has Liberia's “prized iron ore deposit”. Global Witness also alleged in THE DECEIVERS that when Sable Mining came to Liberia, the country was in the process of amending its Public Procurement and Concession Act 2005, which was first enacted into law in September 2005 (hereinafter the “2005 PPCC Act”).

THE DECEIVERS alleged that Counsellor Varney Sherman (hereinafter “Co-Defendant Sherman”) immediately hatched a plan for Sable Mining to get the right to mine the “prized iron ore deposit” of Wologizi Mountain without going through a competitive tender, which was required by the 2005 PPCC Act. The plan, according to THE DECEIVERS, is that in the amendment to the 2005 PPCC Act, which was then undergoing review and drafting, a provision would be included for “Non-Bidding Area”, which allows an applicant to obtain mineral rights in Liberia without a competitive tender.

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However, also according to THE DECEIVERS, Co-Defendant Sherman advised the Sable Mining executives that they would have to pay bribes to Liberian Government officials, some of which are also Defendants in this case. Sable Mining's executives agreed and began to send funds to the account of Sherman & Sherman at the International Bank (Liberia) Limited, which funds were used to bribe Liberian Government officials and to otherwise solicit or facilitate the insertion of a Section 75 into the “Amendment and Restatement of the Public Procurement and Concession Act 2005, which was enacted into law in September 2010 (hereinafter the “2010 PPCC Act”).

THE DECEIVERS said that the information which formed the basis of their accusations against Co-Defendant Sherman and the other Defendants came from “sources”, who were never identified, and from “leaked documents”. The leaked documents are essentially a thread of emails and a Spreadsheet which listed payments allegedly made by Co-Defendant Sherman to Liberian Government officials, the Unity Party and others to facilitate this scheme to include in the 2010 PPCC Act a provision for Non-Bidding Area, which would allow for the acquisition of mineral rights without having to go through a competitive tender.

THE DECEIVERS alleged that approximately the amount of US$450,000.00 was spent by Co-Defendant Sherman to implement his plan. US$200,000.00 was allegedly made to the Unity Party for its 2010 Convention intended to facilitate the election of Co-Defendant Sherman as the new Chairman of the Unity Party; US$25,000.00 was paid to Hon. Henry Fahnbulleh, who had been elected Secretary General of the Unity Party to get him to renounce his election; and payments of US$50,000.00 each were made to Hon. Richard Tolbert, then Chairman of the National Investment Commission, and to Hon. Morris Saytumah, then Minister of State for Finance, Economic and Legal Affairs in the offices of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Global Witness also alleged in THE DECEIVERS that payment of US$250,000.00 was made each to a BIG BOY ONE and a BIG BOY TWO for the same purpose; it was also alleged that payment of US$50,000.00 was made to Mr. Christopher Onanuga, a private businessman, to facilitate this scheme; and it was further alleged that US$10,000.00 was paid to Prof. Willie Belleh, then Chairman of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission, for the same purpose. THE DECEIVERS named other Liberian Government officials, such as Hon. Cletus Wotorson, then President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Hon. Sumo Cupe, then Chairman of the Ways, Means and Finance Committee of the Liberian Senate, Hon. Fumba Sirleaf, then Director of the National Security Agency, as recipients of similar amounts for the same illegal purpose.

On December 13, 2016, Co-Defendant Sherman delivered a Press Statement in which he denied the allegations of THE DECEIVERS; he challenged anybody who believed the contents of THE DECEIVERS to take him to court. Co-Defendant Tyler also gave a similar press conference. Shortly thereafter, President Sirleaf appointed a Special Presidential Taskforce to investigate the allegations of THE DECEIVERS and to prosecute anybody found culpable. The Special President Taskforce sent letters to all those Liberians implicated by THE DECEIVERS; and except for Co-Defendant Sherman and Co-Defendant Tyler who opted to exercise their constitutional rights against self-incrimination and decided not to submit to any investigation (The Constitution, Article 21(c); Dennis v. Republic, 20 LLR 47; Anderson v. Republic, 27 LLR 67) all the other persons implicated in THE DECEIVERS appeared in persons and/or gave written submissions by which each of them denied the accusations of THE DECEIVERS. These invitations and written denials were submitted into evidence by the Prosecution in this case.

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On May 24, 2016, the Special Presidential Taskforce obtained an indictment against Co-Defendants Sherman, Hon. E.C.B. Jones, former Deputy Minister for Operations at the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, Hon. Alex Tyler, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Christopher Onanuga, a private businessman, and Sable Mining for commission of the crimes of Bribery, Economic Sabotage, Money Laundering, Criminal Conspiracy, Criminal Solicitation and Criminal Facilitation. On June 8, 2016, the Special Presidential Taskforce obtained a second indictment against Hon. Richard Tolbert, former Chairman of the National Investment Commission, Mr. Andrew Groves and Mr. Klaus Piprek of England and South Africa, respectively, former executives of Sable Mining. These first two (2) indictments were obtained based primarily on the allegations of THE DECEIVERS and on oral testimonies of investigators at the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (“LACC”), who were investigators of the Special Presidential Taskforce.

On December 23, 2016, the Special Presidential Taskforce issued its Report, entitled: “Special Presidential Taskforce On The Global Witness' Report” which confirmed the accusations of THE DECEIVERS and named Dr. Eugene Shannon and Mr. E.C.B. Jones as the BIG BOY-ONE and BIG BOY-TWO to whom Global Witness alleged in THE DECEIVERS each was given US$250,000.00 for the same purpose of inserting Section 75 in the 2010 PPCC Act to provide for “Non-Bidding Area” for the acquisition of mineral rights in Liberia so that Sable Mining would get the “prized iron ore deposit” of the Wologizi Mountain without a competitive tender. On the basis of the Special Presidential Taskforce Report.

On January 4, 2017, the Presidential Taskforce obtained the third indictment against Eugene Shannon, Former Minister for Lands, Mines and Energy, Morris Saytumah, former Minister of State for Finance, Economic and Legal Affairs, and Willie Belleh, Chairman, Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC), for the crimes of Bribery, Economic Sabotage, Criminal Conspiracy, Criminal Solicitation and Criminal Facilitation. The third indictment was drown after the publication of the Taskforce Report on December 23, 2016.

Thereafter, the Prosecution filed a Motion to Amend Indictments on February 8, 2017, which was granted by this Court on March 2, 2017. It was after this Ruling that the crime of “Money Laundering” was eliminated from the heading of the records of this case, thus leaving the crimes of Bribery, Economic Sabotage, Criminal Conspiracy, Criminal Solicitation and Criminal Facilitation. This court on its own motion consolidated the amended indictment.

We shall hereunder quote the amended and consolidated indictment verbatim for the benefit of this final judgment:

1. “That H. Varney G. Sherman advised, encouraged and influenced Sable Mining to pay out money to public officials, received from Sable Mining about Six Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US$600,000.00) into accounts at the International Bank (Liberia) Limited, Monrovia, Liberia, to which he is signatory and out of which he paid out money to several public officials in consideration for their officials actions geared towards ensuring the passage of the revised PPCC Act of 2010 to give undue advantage to Sable Mining over the Wologizi Mountain, and which payments he later reported to Sable Mining through an email accompanied by spreadsheet attached thereto.

2. That during the period of 2010 through 2011, Sable Mining transferred to Cllr. Varney Sherman and Sherman and Sherman Inc. varying amounts for various purposes, including unlawful payments, and of which amounts transferred, Cllr. Sherman was instructed and did in fact pay the sum/amount of Four Hundred Forty Thousand United States Dollars (US$440,000.00) in bribes to influence Officials of the Government to change the PPCC Law (2005).

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3. That relating to the crimes charged, the relevant parts of the said report drafted and prepared by Cllr. Sherman and later sent to Sable Mining, Andrew Groves and Henie Van Niekerk shows the following:

a. That on April 22, 2010, Two Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US$200,000.00) was paid from Sable Mining's Account with Sherman and Sherman, Inc., to Sable's Lawyer, Cllr. Varney Sherman, intended for the convention of the Unity Party.

b. That on April 23, 2010, Fifty Thousand United States Dollars (US$50,000.00) to Richard Tolbert, Chairman of Liberia National Investment Commission (NIC)

c. That on April 26, 2010, a payment of Fifty Thousand United States Dollars (USD$50,000.00) was paid to Morris Saytumah.

d. That on June 14, 2010, a payment of Fifty Thousand United States Dollars (USD$50,000.00) was paid to Klaus Piprek.

e. That on August 25, 2010, Seventy-five Thousand United States Dollars was paid for payment (facilitation) for the revised PPCC Act.

f. That on June 6, 2010, a payment of Ten Thousand United States Dollars (USD$10,000.00) was made to Mr. Willie Belleh of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission.

4. That E.C.B. Jones received USD$250,000.00 in April, 2010 from executives of Sable Mining in his official capacity as a public official in consideration of his official action as Deputy Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy geared toward insuring the Amendment of the PPCC Act of 2005 to give undue advantage to Sable Mining over Wologizi Mountain. Earnest C.B. Jones, as Deputy Minister of Lands and Mines for Operations, was necessary and critical to any conspiracy to circumvent Mineral Laws of Liberia and award Mineral Concessions to any entity. He subsequently received US$4,500.00 on or about August 7, 2011.

5. Christopher Onanuga consulted, advised, facilitated and conspired with Sable Mining and G. Varney Sherman to endue Public Officials to violate the public trust during the amendment processes of the PPCC Law to give undue advantage to Sable Mining over the Wologizi Mountain.

6. Alex Tyler, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, demanded from Sable Mining (Klaus Priprk) USD$250,000.00 to insure the smooth passage of the PPCC Act favorable to Sable Mining but was paid USD$75,000.00 by and through G. Varney Sherman and Sherman and Sherman Inc. as consideration of his official action geared toward insuring the passage of the Revised PPCC Act of 2010 to give undue advantage to Sable Mining over Wologizi Mountain. That at the time of the said payment, J. Alex Tyler was not working in the Mineral Industry, and is not known to our work in the Mineral Industry, and as such, the designation as “Consulting Fees” was intended to disguise the scheme and frivolous. The intent of bribery as relates to the payment to J. Alex Tyler is confirmed in the Spreadsheet prepared and submitted to Sable Mining by Cllr. Varney Sherman as payment and for the revision of the PPCC Act.

7.
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8. That Sable Mining approved and transferred and/or caused to be transferred, money to Cllr. Varney G. Sherman and Sherman Law Firm which was intended to be paid and in fact was paid as bribe to several public officials to amend the PPCC Act of 2010 to give undue advantage to Sable Mining over Wologizi.

9. That Richard Tolbert solicited and accepted USD$50,000.00 from Sable Mining through Cllr. Varney Sherman in his official capacity as Chairman of the National Investment Commission (NIC) as consideration for his official action geared towards insuring the amendment of the PPCC Act of 2010 to give undue advantage to Sable Mining over Wologizi and received contribution of USD$20,000.00 through Invisible Eleven Sports Association (I.E) from Sable Mining as a “Pass through” which he later on demanded as a debt owed him by I.E.

10. That Andrew Groves was one of the Principal master-minders of the entire scheme who approved and transferred and/or caused to be transferred money to Cllr. Varney G. Sherman and Sherman and Sherman Law Firm which was intended to be paid and in fact was paid as bribe to several Government Officials of the Government of Liberia in consideration for their official actions as public officials to amend the PPCC Act 2010 to give undue advantage to Sable Mining over Wologizi.

11. That these Defendants have no affirmative defense.

Wherefore, the Grand Jurors aforesaid, upon their oath aforesaid, do hereby say that Defendants aforesaid, and in the form and manner aforesaid, did criminally, recklessly and purposely commit the crimes of Bribery, Criminal Conspiracy, Economic Sabotage, Criminal Solicitation and Criminal Facilitation, contrary to the statutory laws of the Republic of Liberia and against the Peace and dignity of the State in such cases made and provided.

12. That Defendants acts are contrary to 4LCR, Title 26, Section 12.50, 4LCR Title 26, Section 10.4, 4LCR Title 26, Section 15.80, 4LCR Title 26, Section 10.2 and 4LCR Title 26, Section 10.3 of the Statutory Laws of the Republic of Liberia and against the Peace and Dignity of the Republic of Liberia”
The records before this Court show that the Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss the Indictments on ground that the Institution of this Criminal Proceedings was time barred since the charges were felonies which, by law, should have been instituted within five (5) years as these offenses were allegedly committed in 2010. The Motion was resisted, heard and denied by this court. The Defendants were arraigned before this Court during the February Term A.D. 2017, and they pleaded not guilty to the crimes charged in the Indictment, thereby joining issues with the State. Thereafter, they prayed this court for a Bench Trial, which was granted.

On March 7, 2017, the Prosecutors for the Presidential Taskforce Force filed with the Clerk of this Court and had served on Counsels for the Defendants a list of twenty-seven (27) witnesses with their addresses stated in parenthesis following each name: 1. Aaron H. Aboah (LACC); 2. Baba M. Boakai (LACC); 3. Marc N. Kollie (LACC); 4. D. Blamo Kofa (LRA); 5. Samuel P. Jackson (Monrovia); 6. Heine van Niekerk (South Africa (Tentative)); 7. Paul O'Sullivan (South Africa); 8. Daniel Woart (LACC); 9. Ijaz E. Mason (LACC); 10. Pius E. Sonpon (LACC); 11. Samuel Peterson (LACC); 12. Nigel (Liberia); 13. Global Witness (UK); 14. Augustine S. Menh (LACC) 15. Cllr. Johnny Momoh (Sherman & Sherman, Inc., Monrovia, Liberia); 16. Simon Goodley (UK);

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17. Pieter Botes (South Africa); 18. Eric DeVillers (South Africa); 19. Fred Snorton (Monrovia, Liberia); 20. Lawrence Clark (Liberia); 21. Hon. Sam Russ (MLME, Liberia); 22. Nigel Morgan (South Africa); 23. Baker Tilly, London, (UK); 24. Tanda Both (South Africa); 25. Marc Brown (Serious Fraud Office/SFO); 26. Jonathan Gant (UK); 27. Mario Dilo (South Africa). Incidentally, the same Cllr. Johnny Momoh, named as a witness for the Prosecution, is one of counsels for the Defense. The filing of the listing of Prosecution's witnesses is consistent with Section 17.4 of our Criminal Procedure Law which requires Prosecution to file a listing of witnesses after a plea of not guilty is entered by a defendant in a criminal trial.

The Prosecution paraded two regular witnesses, namely: Marc Kollie and D. Blamo Kofa, and later sought to admit into evidence the emails and spreadsheet, indicating the expenditure of Sable Mining's funds which were objected to by the Defendants. The Trial Judge sustained the objection of the Defendants and this case went to the Supreme Court on a Petition for Certiorari. The Supreme Court granted the Petition and remanded this case with instruction to place permanent marks on the instruments that were temporarily marked by the court and that the trial court should determine the authenticity and materiality of the instruments during the determination of this case.

The Defendants were, again, arraigned during the May Term A.D. 2019 of this Honorable Court in accordance with Section 16.2 of our Criminal Procedure Law, and they, again, pleaded not guilty, thereby joining issue with the State. The Defendants, again, prayed for a Bench Trial, which was granted. The Prosecution prayed this court that the testimonies of the State's Witnesses and the Documentary Evidence adduced during the February Term A.D. 2017 be incorporated into this new trial. The Counsels for Defendants interposed no objection, and the submission was granted, thereby incorporating said Testimonies and Documentary Evidence into this New Trial. During this term of court, Mr. Fred Snorton, IT Specialist, and Mr. Aaron H. Aboah, former Investigator, testified as subpoenaed and rebuttal witnesses respectively.

As to the oral evidence, the Prosecution moved this Court to allow the general testimonies of Mr. Marc Kollie and Mr. Blamo Kofa at the first trial, which were admitted to, form a part of the records of this second trial for reason that these witnesses were unavailable to testify. The Prosecution also moved this Court to allow the testimonies of three (3) subpoenaed witnesses in persons of Mr. Christopher Bellepea, Ms. Roberta Parker and Co-Defendant Sherman, who had been subpoenaed to appear and did testify to disbursements of funds from the accounts of Sherman & Sherman, which appeared to correlate with the purported Spreadsheet of 30 June 2010, to also be made a part of the records of this second trial. The Prosecution further moved this Court to allow the testimony of an official of the International Bank (Liberia) Limited, who appeared and presented the copies of the returned checks for those disbursements and the statements of account for Sherman & Sherman's account with this bank to be made a part of the records of this second trial. There being no objection from the Defense to these applications, the testimonies were allowed to form a part of the records of this second trial.

Allowing the testimonies of Mr. Marc Kollie and Mr. Blamo Kofa (General/Principal Witnesses for the Prosecution), the testimonies of Ms. Roberta Parker, Mr. Christopher Bellepea and Co-Defendant Sherman (subpoenaed witnesses for the Prosecution) and the documents offered for admission at the first trial into evidence to be made a part of the records of this second trial, is in accordance with the legal precedence stated in the opinion of the Supreme Court which says that: “Testimonies from a previous trial of a case involving the same parties on the same matter may be introduced in evidence in the subsequent case where the witness in question or the evidence is otherwise unavailable for the next trial;…”. Swaray v. Republic, 28 LLR 194 (1979).

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TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2019
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After the evidence from the first trial was ordered admitted into evidence in this second trial, the Prosecution gave notice that it had one additional witness in person of Mr. Aaron H. Aboah, one of the signatories to the Special Presidential Taskforce Report, to testify; but when the time scheduled for this witness to testify arrived, without explanation, the Prosecution exercised its right to waive the testimony and did waive the testimony of the witness. The Prosecution, thereafter, submitted its side of the case on the totality of this evidence, both oral and documentary.

We shall now summarize the testimonies of Prosecution's Witnesses: The first witness for the Prosecution was Marc N. Kollie, former Senior Corruption Investigator at the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), with specific responsibility to investigate acts of corruption in both Public and Private Sectors of Government with specific emphasis on Public Sector Corporation. He confirmed the Global Witness Report in THE DECEIVERS published on the internet on May 11, 2016. He also confirmed the Report of the Special Presidential Taskforce on Global Witness Report, which said report of the Taskforce was published on December 23, 2016. He confirmed that Sable Mining remitted the sum of USD$400,000.00 to Sherman and Sherman Inc. which Co-Defendant Sherman paid as bribe to top Government Officials named in both the Global Witness Report and the Taskforce's Report for the purpose of changing the Amended and Restated PPCC Act of 2010 by inserting therein Section 75, thereby providing for non-bidding process to give Sable Mining undue advantage over Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County. He also testified to the effect that Klaus Priprk informed the Investigative Team that Sable Mining's executives in persons of Andrew Groves, Henie Van Neikerk and Klaus Priprk came into Liberia in a special flight on April 14, 2010 with USD$500,000.00 which Klaus Priprk told the Investigation, was given to Co-Defendants Eugene Shannon and E.C.B. Jones in the home of Co-Defendant Eugene Shannon.

The Team invited and interviewed those listed in The Deceivers who appeared, with the exception of Co-Defendants Varney Sherman and J. Alex Tyler, and denied in their written submissions, the allegations contained in The DECEIVERS.

The Investigative Team travelled to the UK on June 18, 2016 and had discussion with Global Witness. Global Witness confirmed the Emails exchanges contained in The Deceivers, but referred the Investigative Team to one Paul O'Sullivan, an Investigative Journalist in South Africa. The Team also travelled to South Africa on August 10, 2016 and met with Paul O'Sullivan who gave them the very emails with the spreadsheet. The Team also met with Klaus Priprk who told them that he was copied and “CC” in most of the emails concerning conspiracy to change the law of this Country in favor of Sable Mining. The Investigators also spoke to or interviewed Henie Van Niekerk who also told them that he was “CC” and emails directly sent to him which he turned over to the Investigation. He testified to and identified the instruments of the Prosecution. See 22 day's Jury sitting, Friday, March 10, 2017 as found on sheet-3.

On the cross examination, he said “the investigation concluded that based on the offices of relevance, the law was written to suit in the interest of Sable Mining; why do I mean. The Minister of Mines, as per the law, had the discretion to grant mining license and its actions are reviewable or checked by the Inter-ministerial Committee and in the case of mining, the geographical survey report”. See 30th day's jury sitting, Tuesday, March 21, 2017, sheet 11.

When asked on cross, whether in the course of his investigation, did he come across the final draft of the Amended PPCC Law of 2010 which was completed in 2009; this witness answered: “The investigation referred to law and not a draft”. See 30th day's jury sitting, Tuesday, March 21, 2017, sheet 13.

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When asked on the cross whether he did come cross during the course of his investigation, the decision made by the Cabinet in 2010 that Wologizi would be tendered, this witness said, “not to my recollection.” See 30th day's jury sitting, Tuesday, March 21, 2017, sheet 17.

Again, on the cross, the witness was asked, whether he came across and reviewed the draft act that was forwarded to the Legislature under cover of the Letter he testified to, identified and confirmed during his investigation? He answered “the investigation saw the draft law in passing. The scope of this investigation is that the laws were passed and that Defendant Alex Tyler received USD$75,000.00”.

On the cross, the witness was asked whether the Legislature made any change or changes in the Draft PPCC Act which was submitted by the President of the Republic of Liberia under cover of the latter dated August 5, 2010, to the then Speaker of the House of Representatives? The witness answered: “The provision that was included in the new law was Article 75”. See 30th day's sitting, Tuesday, March 21, 2017, sheet 23.

In answering to a court's question whether his investigation found out the USD$500,000.00 was declared at the airport in Liberia where the plane landed? He answered “No”.

Prosecution's second witness in person D. Blamo Kofa, former Chief of Investigation and Enforcement Division of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), was responsible to review and approve all investigations reports, and assign cases based on the nature and specialized skills and expertise of his officers, etc., etc. He confirmed the testimony of Prosecution's first witness in person of Marc Kollie. He said that he was part of the first trip to the UK, but did not travel to South Africa. The Investigators met with Henie Van Neikerk who gave them emails and other attachments which show payments to the Defendants. He, however, did not corroborate the testimony of Marc Kollie that the Investigative Team met with Klaus Piprek in South Africa, and gave the Team the very emails and other attachments.

During the trial, Prosecution produced subpoenaed witnesses to produce and testify to the bank statement of Sherman and Sherman Inc., covering January 1, 2010 to September 30, 2010 and 14 returns checks of the Sherman and Sherman Inc. The bank statement and return checks were produced.

Subpoenaed witness in person of Joseph Bayogar of the Sherman and Sherman Inc. who served as expeditor for 16 years, testified to the effect that he went to the bank in May, 2010 and collected the bank statement and returns checks sealed up in envelope, given to him, which he took to the office and presented to Cllr. Sherman. He also testified that he gave it to Mrs. Rosetta Parker in the absence of Cllr. Sherman and that Cllr. Sherman received the statement and the return checks from Mrs. Parker.

Cllr. Sherman took the witness stand and explained before this court that Mr. Joseph Bayogar had worked for the Sherman and Sherman Inc. for many years as Expeditor, who received the monthly bank statements and return checks from the International Bank Liberia Limited through June of 2010. He said, as of June of 2010, he believed International Bank Liberia Ltd, had sent payments without return checks, and received those bank statements and return checks each month through June 2010. He continues to receive the statements up to today. He further said that his law firm did not keep the return checks and the bank statements for nearly seven (7) years ago. Having been certified that there were no discrepancies between the return checks and the statements.

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TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2019
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The Second subpoenaed witness was Cllr. Boakai Harris, in house Legal Counsel, International Bank Liberia Ltd., who explained before this court that he did not come with those checks for the period of April as the checks were received and signed for by Sherman and Sherman's representative, and therefore did not have copies of those checks. He said the check for June 25, 2010, was already received by the Assistant Clerk of this Court on January 10, 2017 which was among the first batch of checks, signed for by the Assistant Clerk of this court, Marie Wreh. For the checks of June 31, 2010 and August 31, 2010, the bank could not discover those checks after diligent search, and, therefore, they were considered lost. On the issue of the CD ROM, after 5 to 6 years, they were all destroyed. The Bank, however, presented statement of accounts.

Edwin Kamada, appeared before this court as a subpoenaed witness, who served as Branch Manager, Head Officer, International Bank of Liberia Ltd. He told this court that the bank tirelessly checked its storage at both its head office and at other branches and the only conclusion the bank came up to was that these checks were lost and could not be recalled.

Christopher Bellepea, Administrative Officer of the Sherman and Sherman Law Firm, told this court that he was employed since 2005 to present. He told this court that his functions also included bank transaction of Sherman and Sherman Law Firm. He confirmed the check issued on the 14th of June, 2010 with the value of US50,000.00 which was bearing the note (Sable Mining/Klaus Priprek) which he enchased and turned the value to Cllr. Varney G. Sherman. He also confirmed the check of 15th July, 2010, valued US5,000.00 bearing the note Sable Mining written in his name, which he enchased and gave the value to Cllr. Sherman.

Robertta Parker, Financial Officer of the Sherman and Sherman Inc., explained before this court that she paid employee salaries, made disbursement of petty cash to lawyers and staff of Sherman and Sherman Inc., received retainer checks from clients and also made deposit of said checks. She confirmed the check of August 31, 2010, valued USD$50,000.00 in her name, which she enchased at the International Bank Liberia Limited, and the value was given to Cllr. Varney Sherman.
The Prosecution rested with production of both oral and documentary evidence, and submitted into evidence the below species of evidence:

1. R/1 in bulk which includes the email exchanges and the spreadsheets which shows statement of Sabo Mining Account with Sherman and Sherman Inc.;
2. P/1 which is the passenger data for Mr. Andrew S. Groves;
3. P/2 which is the travel dada for Eric Stephanus De Villier;
4. P/3 which is the travel detail of Mr. Claus Piprek;
5. P/4 which is the travel information for Lawrence Matthew Clark;
6. P/5 in bulk entitled Companies' run by X-Cricketer (Phil Edmone) paid bribes to officials
7. P/6 which is the communication written by Cllr. Funati Kofa, Chairman of the Special Presidential Task Force, to Co-Defendant Willie Belleh;
8. P/7 in bulk, a communication written by Co-Defendant Morris D. Saytumah to Atty. Kunkunyou Wleteh of the Special Presidential Tax Force;
9. P/8 in bulk, voluntary statements and other attachments of Mr. Fumba Sirleaf;

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10. P/9 in bulk, a communication written Co-Defendant Willie Belleh to Global Witness which was a response to the allegation of bribery to Global Witness;
11. P/10, a letter written by Co-Defendant Willie Belleh to Hon. J. Funati Kofa, pledging his cooperation with the special Task Force;
12. P/11 in bulk which is a release entitled: “ Global Witness Sparks Probe”, accused to face task force;
13. P/12 in bulk, a letter written by Co-Defendant Morris D. Syntumah and addressed to Atty. Kunkunyou Wleteh of the tax force;
14. P/13 in bulk which is a letter written by Madam Ellen Johnson Sirlead to Co-Defendant J. Alex Tyler, Speaker of the House of Representative, transmitting for review, restatement and amendment of the PPCC Act of 2005;
15. P/14 in bulk contained Co-Defendant Christopher Onanuga's voluntary statement to the special Presidential Tax Force;
16. P/15 in bulk entitled “Sable Mining: Bribes and Questionable Payment in Liberia.” This exhibit contained spreadsheets of bribe statement to the defendants in the amount of US958,668.00;
17. P/16 in bulk captioned: response to Global Witness's Allegation by Co-Defendant Willie Belleh;
18. P/17 in bulk which is a letter written by Co-Defendant Morris Syntumah as Minister for State of Economic Affairs entitled “Delta Mining consolidated “PTY” Ltd.;
19. P/18 in bulk containing voluntary statements and questionnaire - Co-Defendant Christopher H. Onanuga;
20. P/19 in bulk entitled: “Delta Mining Challenges Government decision of Western Cluster Iron Old Deposit Concession and Penal Ruling;
21. P/20 in bulk contained Co-Defendant H. Varney G. Sherman response to the invitation of Global Witness Report of Liberia;
22. P/21 in bulk entitled: “as a basis to elicit expression of interest for a final tender request. This exhibit contained the iron ore prospect of Liberia;
23. P/22 in bulk which is a memorandum by Peter Leon to Hein Van Niekerk of Delta Mining Consolidated Ltd. on the withdraw of Delta case filed against the Government of Liberia;
24. P/23 in bulk contained a cooperation between Delta Mining and Dialstat Trading;
25. P/24 a letter written by Co-Defendant Eugene H. Shannon, Minister of Land Mines, informing Delta Mining that they may rebid in the Western Iron Ore deposit;
26. P/25 captioned: “Liberia President Sirleaf Sact all but one Cabinet Minister;
27. P/26 in bulk captioned: “Alternative Investment Market”;
28. P/27 entitled: “Cities Hits Out over US casino jibe at him”;


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29. P/28, letter addressed to Mr. Fumba Sirleaf by the Special Presidential Task Force;
30. P/29 entitled: “a follow up invitation” by Co- Defendant Willie Belleh to Atty. Kunkunyou Weleteh of the special presidential taskforce;
31. P/30 letter of invitation addressed to Hon. Sumo G. Kupi, Managing Director of LPRC from the Special Presidential TaskForce;
32. P/31, letter addressed to Mr. Abu Kamara, Registrar, Liberia Business Registry by the Special Presidential Task Force requesting for companies registration records;
33. P/32 letter of invitation extended to Co-Defendant Morris G. Syntumah by the Special Presidential Task Force;
34. P/33 which is a letter of invitation extended to Hon. Henry B. Fahnbulleh by the Special Presidential Task Force;
35. P/34 letter of invitation extended to Co-Defendant Earnest C. B. Jones by the Special Presidential Task Force;
36. P/35 letter of invitation extended to Co-Defendant Christopher Ouanaga by the Special Presidential Task Force;
37. P/36 letter of invitation extended to Co-Defendant J. Alex Tyler by the Special Presidential Task Force;
38. P/37 letter of invitation extended to Co-Defendant H. Varney G. Sherman by the Special Presidential Task Force;
39. P/38 letter of invitation extended to Mr. Sam G. Ross by the Special Presidential Task Force;
40. P/39 letter of invitation extended to Co-Defendant Willie Belleh by the Special Presidential Task Force;
41. P/40 which is a follow up letter extended to Co-Defendant Eugene Shannon by the Special Presidential Task Force;
42. P/41 which is a letter of invitation to Dr. Charles Clark by the Special Presidential Task Force;
43. P/42 in bulk, letter written by Mr. Sumo G. Kupe, Managing Director, LPRC
44. P/43 a follow letter written to Hon. Sumo G. Kupe by the Special Presidential Task Force;
45. P/44 in bulk contained written response of Co-Defendant Shannon to Global Witness
46. P/45 in bulk, Sable Mining Ltd. Report and accounts, 2010 to 2011.
47. P/46 Task Force invitation to Co-Defendant Varney G. Sharman;
48. P/47 in bulk a share purchase agreement among Sable Mining, the Trustee for the time being of Avalon Trust, Mikakor CC, Hans Vanniker and Pieter Wiese relating to shares in Delta Mining;


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49. P/48 letter of invitation extended to Mr. Sam Gibson by the Special Presidential Task Force;
50. P/49 contained voluntary statement made to the Task Force by Co-Defendant Eugene Shannon;
51. P/50 letter of invitation extended to Hon. Cletus Watterson;
52. P/51 letter of cooperation addressed to the Tax force by Hon. Kupe;
53. P/52, voluntary statement made by Dr. Charles Clark to the Task Force
54. P/53 letter written by Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia to the then Speaker of the House of Representative, Co-Defendant J. Alex Tyler, on the Restatement Agreement;
55. P/54 Letter inviting Co-Defendant Richard Tolbert for a Task Force hearing;
56. P/55 letter of invitation extended to Co-Defendant Morris Saytumah by the Task Force;
57. P/56 in bulk contained special presidential Task Force on global witness report;
58. P/57 in bulk entitled: “President Sirleaf Sent the Entire Cabinet Ministers on Administrative Leave”;
59. P/58 in bulk entitled “President Sirleaf named first minister to return to cabinet”
60. P/59 marked additional ministers recalled by President Sirleaf;
61. P/60 entitled: “More cabinet minister accept President Sirleaf offer to resume duties;
62. P/61 in bulk entitled: “new minister of land and mines and Post and telecommunication named in latest appointment and
63. P/62 in bulk which contained the statement of account and 14 return checks of the Sherman and Sherman account holding with International Bank Ltd. which were testified to, identified, either confirmed or reconfirmed by State's witnesses in these proceedings so as to form a cogent part of the case at bar. And respectfully submits.
The Defendants produced three regular witnesses in persons of Co-Defendants Varney G. Sherman, E.C.B. Jones, Jr. and J. Alex Tyler. The Defendants also produced three subpoenaed witnesses in persons of Madam Mildred Sayon, Emanuel O. Sherman and Joseph Neufville.

We shall now summarize their testimonies before this Honorable Court.
The first witness for the Defendants was Co-Defendant H. Varney G. Sherman who testified before this Court as follows:
“During the course of my career as a Lawyer in Liberia, especially my practice in the Field of Professional Lawyer, I had the opportunity of participating in the drafting of the Mineral and Mining Law of Liberia and of the Petroleum Law of Liberia during the term of office of Former President Charles Taylor. During the term of office of Chairman Gyude Bryant of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, I participated in the drafting of the Public Procurement Policy and Procedure and the subsequent Executive Order #3 which gave full force and effect to the aforesaid Public Procurement Policy and Procedure.

 

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Considering that an Executive Order is effective only for one year, it was necessary and I participate in the drafting of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission Act of 2005 which was enacted into law in September of 2005. Of course, during my career, I advised, consulted and prepared documents for many foreign investors, including Sable Mining Africa Ltd. Some of the agreements which I negotiated or provided counsel for are the Mineral Agreement for Bea Mountain, the Anlib Mineral Agreements for iron ore in Montserrado County, River Cess County, and I believe other counties; the Putu Iron Ore Agreement for Putu Mountain in Grand Gedeh County, the B.H. Billiton Iron Ore Agreement, the Production Sharing Contract for Exon Mobil, Shebron and Anmadarko Petroleum. This information is intended to inform the court of my knowledge, skill and experience with the Investment Laws of Liberia.

The Deceivers consists of 85 pages; only 11 of those pages are on Liberia. The rest are on Zimbabwe, Guinea, South Africa, Mozambique, London and several other countries. The Deceivers was published on May 11, 2016 and - my God - because it accused us of corruption, the Liberian Media carried it wild. This forced me, a lawyer who does not conduct his case in the media, to, on May 13, 2016, give a press conference which was printed in several newspapers - one of which I recorded, is the Daily Observer Newspaper. In my press statement, I attempted to show the impracticality and improbability of the accusation against us. One of the ways I tried to, was to say that change of Liberian law regarding acquisition of Mineral right would have the involvement of the Minister of Land, Mines and Energy, Dr. Eugene Shannon, and the Deputy Minister for Operations of the Ministry of Land, Mines and Energy, Mr. E.C.B. Jones, Jr. and, if I had any plan and intention to bribe anybody, which plan and intention I never had, Eugene Shannon and E.C.B. Jones would have been two of those to be bribed but Global Witness did not say that either of them was bribed by me.

You see, Your Honor, there is a section 5.3 of the Mineral and Mining law of 2000 which provides that anybody who has the technical expertise and financial resources, could apply for an exploration license to explore anywhere in Liberia which area had not already previously been granted to another person. This exploration license could be elevated to a production license if the applicant discovers a commercial quantity of the mineral; and then subsequently, the applicant could get a class “A” or Class “B” mining license and, if it is a Class “A” Mining license, then the applicant could get a Mineral Development Agreement. At the Accra Peace Conference of 2003, it was alleged that President Taylor relied on this provision of the Mineral and Mining Law, had granted out Liberia resources under agreements which were not for the benefit of the Liberian People; some delegates claimed that those agreements were for his personal benefit. So, in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of August 2003, I believe Article XVII, a Contracts and Monopoly Commission was established, with the accompanying provision that all contracts to be entered into by the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) must go through a competitive tender prior to an award. It was pursuant to that provision of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2003 that in 2004, the Public Procurement Policy and Procedure which I have already testified to and its Accompanying Executive Order #3, which I have already testified to, was promulgated. Now, I testified to these processes because I was involved. I assisted in drafting some of those instruments and I do not think that Jonathan Gant of Global Witness… knows any such thing and he did not care to find out. (Emphasis ours).

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As I said before, by law, a Presidential Executive Order, such as Executive Order #3, is valid and effective for only One year; for it to continue to be effective, it must be enacted into law. This is the background and the reason for the enactment of the 2005 Public Procurement and Concession Act which provides at Section 122, Subsection 2, that every exploration license or every grant of mineral rights must be preceded by a competitive bid. Some of us who were involved with the drafting of this 2005 PPCC Act warned against the practicality of this provision of the law, but Mr. Jyude Bryant was adamant that he would not allow a law during his tenure which was consistent with the requirement of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on competitive tender for all acquisitions of Mineral Rights. That law established the Public Procurement and Concession; and the first Chairman of that concession of President Sirleaf Government beginning January 2016 was Mr. Keith Jubah.

The problem we anticipated during the drafting of the 2005 Public Procurement and Concession Act was faced by the Keith Jubah PPCC. And what was that problem? Liberia did not have an up to date Geological information on its Mineral Resources; the latest, which could be found was in the 1970s; some records have been destroyed during the course of the civil crisis. We have no commercial information on our Mineral Resources. In the absence of such material information, it was impossible to advertise Liberia Mineral Resources for competitive bidding. Your Honor, an example is the Mount Nimba Iron Ore Resources. We did not have any information to put it out for competitive bidding during the Gyude Bryant NTGL Government. I tell you this from personal experience; I was the lawyer for one of the Mittal Brothers, Laskmi Mittal, who competed with his other brother for what was then the Mount Nimba Iron Ore Deposit which was previously abandoned by LAMCO in 1989. And we beat the other Mittal Brother not based on competitive tender but based on the initial payment that Mr. Laskmi Mittal was prepared to make to the Liberian Government. It is a public knowledge that Mittal Steel Company later became ARCELOR Mittal after its merger with the French Mining Company called ARCELOR Mining Company.

The problem that I have identified regarding the inconsistency between section 5.3 of the Mineral and Mining Law of 2000 and Section 122 subsection 2 of the 2005 PPCC Act had to be managed by the Kieth Jubah PPCC. It is the European Union which founded the expert who came to Liberia and, on study of the incompatibility of these two provisions of law, drafted what eventually became the PPCC Regulation #002, which designated as the Interim Procedure for Exploration license for Liberia Minerals. This PPCC Regulation #002 provides, that, in the absence of Geological and Commercial Information of our Mineral Resources, that the first applicant for an exploration license will be served first. This means that if three or four companies apply to explore for mineral resource on the ground of this building, for example, it is the first applicant who will be given an exploration license; and it is only after he fails on that exploration license, then the second applicant will get an exploration license for the same mineral resource.

I recalled that one of President Sirleaf's enunciated policies was that, she would review all laws enacted and all contracts entered into by the Taylor Government and Bryant Government. Two of the laws which she sought to review are the 2000 Mineral and Mining Law enacted under the Taylor Government and the 2005 PPCC Act enacted under the Bryant Government. With funding from USAID, through IBI International of the State of Virginia, Untied States of America and the Governance and Economic Management Action Plan (commonly known as GEMAP), Mr. Fui Tsikata, a Ghanaian Mineral Expert and Lawyer,


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was contracted to assist the Liberian Government in harmonizing the 2000 Mineral and Mining Law with the 2005 PPCC Act. Mr. Tsikata wrote a report on his task, and this draft report, I believe, carries the title “ Draft Report on the Harmonization of the Mineral and Mining Law with the PPCC Act” and it is dated 6 October 2008. If I may call this Report “The Tsikata Report”, I ask Your Honor to look at the acknowledgment page and there you will see the names of Staff of the PPCC and the Ministry of Land, Mines and Energy who assisted him or with whom he consulted for his report. If I remember right, Cllr. Amos Bartue's name is there. He was the lawyer at the PPCC; Mr. Joseph Neufville's name is also there. He was the Executive Director at the PPCC and there were other officials of the Ministry of Land, Mines and Energy whose names were listed. Mr. Tsikata confirmed the incompatibility of the 2000 Mineral and Mining Law with the 2005 PPCC Act and also confirmed the efficacy of the PPCC Regulation #002 and its underlined “First in first serve principle” which principle is used by countries all over the world, such as Liberia where there is insufficient geological information to publish a mineral resource for competitive tender but Mr. Tsikata also raised a valid point that PPCC Regulation #002, though necessary for exploration of Liberia's Mineral Resources, it was ineffective, as a matter of law; because, it was inconsistent to Section 122 Subjection 2 of the 2005 PPCC Act. He, therefore, recommended the amendment of the 2005 PPCC Act to include the outlined provisions of PPCC Regulation #002 that was among others recommendations he made.

This is how the amendment and restatement of the 2005 PPCC Act started and this was in 2008. It is important to note that even Global Witness and the Special Presidential Task Force admit that Sable Mining came into Liberia in late February 2010. Your Honor, I refer you to the 2007, 2008 and 2009 Annual Reports of the PPCC; and I will not ask you to go in-depth of those reports. Just limit yourself to the Executive Summary. This discussed the PPCC Regulation #002, the Tsikata Report, the incompatibility between the 2000 Mineral and Mining Law, the 2005 PPCC Act and the recommendation/proposal for that identical Section 75 to be included in the new law. This along before Sable Mining came into this Country, Global Witness say that Sable Mining gave me money to bribe Liberian Government Officials in April, May and June of 2010 for a law that has been proposed and the draft for which had already been written in 2007, 2008 and 2009, as confirmed by PPCC Annual Reports for those years…”

During the cross examination, Co-Defendant Varney G. Sherman testified as follows:

“Yes, Sable Mining was one of our clients; but I should explain how Sable Mining became one of our clients. A company by the name of Delta Mining Consolidated of South Africa, whose chief Executive Officer was Mr. Heine Van Niekerk bidded for the WESTERN CLUSTERS IRON ORE DEPOSIT, which consisted of the old Mano River and Bomi Iron Ore Deposits and another Mountain in Cape Mount. Delta Mining Consolidated won the bid but while negotiating a Mineral Development Agreement with the Government of Liberia, the Government unilaterally cancelled the transaction. Mr. Van Niekerk came to me at Sherman and Sherman and I filed a legal action against the Government of Liberia for the wrongful cancellation of that transaction. While that case was pending, Mr. Van Niekerk was invited by the Liberian Government to amicably settle the dispute. The settlement was, that Delta Mining Consolidated will leave the Western Clusters Deposit alone and, if it wanted other mineral resource, it could apply for it. Alternatively, Delta Mining Consolidated could bid whenever the Western Clusters Iron Ore Deposit was submitted for a new bidding process.

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After that, Sable Mining and Delta Mining Consolidated went through a merger; while that merger process was going on, Mr. Heine Van Niekerk returned to Liberia, this time, in the name of Sable Mining. He came to my only law firm in Liberia he knew from his past experience with us. And that is how Sable Mining became a client of Sherman and Sherman.

Sable Mining's funds with us was disbursed only upon the instruction of Sable Mining. And I do recall that our Finance Officer, Ms. Robetta Parker, and our Administrative Officer, Mr. Christopher Bellepea, were subpoenaed by you to testify and identify checks evidencing disbursements from our account for and on behalf of Sable Mining. You even placed me on the stand and I testified to and confirmed those disbursements; and I did. I cannot say more.

The forgery is not about the bank statement from International Bank Liberia Ltd. Each disbursement from that account was made by a check; some, if not all of which, were subpoenaed and were testified to and have been admitted into evidence on the Prosecution's Application. The forgery is with the statement of account (spreadsheet) that the Prosecution submitted into evidence, which carried, at the bottom of it, that the statement ends 30 June 2010. And the forgery is that where legitimate disbursements are made, such disbursements appear to be made to Liberian Government Officials. As a matter of fact, and as revealed by the Real and Actual Statement of Account (spreadsheet) which I testified to, the account ends at 31 August 2010 and the disbursements, which appeared in the forged spreadsheet to be made to Liberian Government Officials are in fact for legitimate business purposes for Sable Mining. If you were to read The Real Deceivers which I have also testified to, you will see that those investigators validated The Real and Actual Spreadsheet in contrast to Global Witness which never validated the forged spreadsheet they gave to the Prosecution.

No, No, and No. I had absolutely no reason to give any money to any sitting Government Officials for any purpose and on behalf of any person. If I had known, you might had asked this question, I would have brought all of our retainer agreements which carry a clause that we are prohibited from making any payments to any Government Officials; that we are prohibited from violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of the United States; and that we are prohibited to from violating the OECD Convention against payment to Foreign Government Officials. Sir, we policed ourselves against corruption and it gives confidence to our clients to do business with us whenever they read that clause in our form retainer agreement.
The last entry on sheet three of this document carries the date: 24/06/10 and it says for the disbursement “Amount requested by Heine Van Niekerk for payment to Tolbert for investment in Liberia Cocoa Corporation” and the amount is “US150,000.00” and the balance in our account for Sable Mining is shown as “US3,897.54”. The Tolbert is Mr. Momolu Tolbert not Mr. Richard Tolbert, my fellow indictee, and I hope this answer proves to you that Sable Mining was not interested in only the Iron Ore in Wologisi as you and Global Witness have tried to impress the Liberian people but that it was also interested in investing in the agricultural sector of our economy…”

No Sir. You will observe that the forged spreadsheet states therein that US200,000.00 was paid to the Unity Party and Global Witness made it appeared as though that payment was made to Dr. Charles Clarke who was then the National Chairman of the Unity Party. Dr. Charles Clarke appeared before the Special Presidential Task Force and denied ever receiving US200,000.00 from me or Sable Mining for any reason whatsoever. Global Witness claimed that that money was used for Unity Party's Convention of 2010 to ensure that I would be

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MAY TERM, A.D. 2019

elected as the National Chairman of the Unity Party upon the merger of the Liberian Action Party with the Unity Party. I have also denied any such payment and stated that there was no reason to make any such payment because as a condition of the merger, I as a Political Leader of the Liberia Action Party would be the new National Chairman of the Unity Party. So, why would Sable Mining or I paid US200,000.00 to the Unity Party to make me chairman; I ask this rhetorical question. Christopher O'Connon was in house counsel in London for Sable Mining and I recalled we exchanged emails on legal matter which we were handling for Sable Mining in Liberia, we never exchanged email on financial matter; because as I already testified to, we were merely a conduit through which Sable Mining people in Liberia got their money. That is one of the reasons why I say these emails had been doctored; Mr. Christopher O'Conner and I never exchanged emails on financial matter; our emails were only on legal matters.

In answering to court's questions, Co-Defendant H. Varney G. Sherman further testified as follows:

“Yes, Sable Mining did by a letter to Honor Eugene Nagbe, then Minister of Information. In that letter, Sable Mining denied the accusation and even informed the Liberian Government of its Internal Anticorruption Policy and Regime but like the Global Witness, the Liberian Government ignored and proceeded to get the indictments. What is most important is that subsequently, the same Liberian Government through the Taskforce, filed a Nulle Prosequoi for Sable Mining and Andrew Groves to the effect that they committed no crime in Liberia and yet the Liberian Government filed no Nulle Prosequoi for us.

Sir, Global Witness never identified its sources of information and never had certified or otherwise authenticated they claimed to be linked to them which form the basis of their accusation against us. Even the Taskforce used documents they say they got from South Africa such as the Forged Affidavit and the Doctored and faked spreadsheet without proper authentication. So, we had had no document which have been properly certified and authenticated and the Prosecution had presented no certified and authenticated documents at this trial.

Yes, Sir, and we presented into evidence that draft of the December 2009 which carries the Section 75 and which, according to the 2009 annual report of the PPCC, would have been submitted to President Sirleaf in early 2010. The Taskforce itself acknowledged that Sable Mining came into Liberia in late February, 2010. The obvious conclusion is that Sable Mining could not and did not give us money and we did not intend to bribe anybody for that section 75 to be included in the law or for the idea of “non-bidding process” for acquisition of Mineral Rights which started in 2007, commencing with PPCC Regulation #002, could had been influenced either by Sable Mining or by us…”

Defense second witness in person of Co-Defendant E.C. B. Jones, Jr., former Deputy Minister for Operation of Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, from 2006 to 2010. He testified on the direct examination denied receiving money as bribe to change the Amendment and Restatement of the 2010 PPCC Act. He also corroborated the testimonies of Co-Defendant Varney Sherman as to the Harmonization of the Mineral and Mining Law of 2000 and the 2005 PPCC Act as well as the Regulation No.:002 of the PPCC. In other words, there was no change in the final draft law submitted by the President to the Legislature.

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He further testified on the direct as follows:

“On this issue, Mr. Kollie and Mr. Kofa who are signatories to the investigation report actually wrote one version of their findings of the report and came to court, attempted to modify it because what was written in their report on page 10 of the investigation on this particular issue did not seem credible. There are slight differences; one is, that in their report, they testified that Andrew Groves, on their way from the Airport to Dr. Shannon's house, opened the vanity case and said to them “this is how half of million dollars look”. In their testimonies, they said that they attempted to confirm that whatever was in that bag was US500,000.00.My second observation is that in the investigation report, they said that Dr. Shannon and me have our wives at the dinner. In their testimonies, they said only Dr. Shannon and Mr. Jones were there. Let set aside the issue whether or not whatever money that was in that brief case was confirmed to be US500,000.00. But whosoever attempted to make up that story, really did not understand our culture. I do not think any of the men in here would be called to go take bribe and he will carry his wife behind him.

The other discrepancy between the testimonies and the report is that in the indictments and during their testimonies in court, the State witnesses who signed the investigation report stated that Mr. Andrew Groves gave Dr. Shannon US250,000.00 and gave me US250,000.00 at the dinner. None of the State witnesses was present at the dinner; they admitted to that and the person who gave them the story according to them, admitted to them that he was asked to leave the room and when he was leaving, he saw Andrew Groves handling over the bag. Now, this is a bag that they claimed to have had US500,000.00 and that their witness claimed to have seen his boss turned over to Dr. Shannon. So, how could they confirm under oath in this court that the US500,000.00 was divided fifty, fifty between the Minister and his Deputy. The whole story is just a big lie. The last thing I want to say here is that, this Andrew Groves and Sable Mining are one who Global Witness and the Special Presidential Taskforce have accused us and indicted us for having bribed us but we see that on February 8 of last year, the same Special Taskforce filed a Motion with the Supreme Court of Liberia to dismiss all criminal charges against Andrew Groves who allegedly gave me US250,000.00 and gave Dr. Shannon US250,000.00 also; and Sable Mining, the company for which all of us are accused to have committed the various crimes prescribed in the indictment. Now, I do not understand the procedural issues of the law, but in my view by filing that Motion to Dismiss the Criminal Charges, the Special Taskforce was sending a message to me, to the Supreme Court, to this Court and to the people of Liberia and the world as a whole that they themselves do not believe and trust in the validity and integrity of the evidences they collected during their investigation…”

During the Cross Examination, he testified as follows:

“Yes, I know Henie Van Neikerk to be associated with Delta Mining Company at the time of the Tender.

Your Honor, I testified here that the company called Sable Mining filed an application for the Wologisi Iron Ore Deposit and I said that at that time, there were several reasons why the ministry could not even assess that application and I explained those reasons. So, I don't know Andrew Groves and Klaus Preprik.

No, I was not present in any meeting at Dr. Shannon's house along with Andrew Groves and Klaus Preprix – never…”

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TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2019
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Defense third witness in person of J. Alex Tyler, Sr., former Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Liberia in both the 52nd and 53rd Legislature. He testified on the direct as follows:

“Yes, I received the communication forwarding the Amendment and Restatement of the Public Procurement and Concession Act of 2005 from the President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, at the time.

The House of Representatives received it, read it on its plenary floor, submitted it to the Public Procurement and Concession Committee, headed, at that time, by Mr. Edwin Melvin Snowe, for review and passage by the plenary of the House which was done without any change and forwarded to the Liberian Senate for concurrence. The Senate then returned the Act to us as we passed it and it was engrossed by the House since that was where it originated from with the appropriate signatures and forwarded to the President of the Republic of Liberia at that time, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

First of all, let me say that the allegations are baseless, unfounded and have no iota of true; to simply put it, this is blatant and calculated lie. I did not receive any money or US75,000.00 as they have alleged from Cllr. Sherman or any person for that matter for the passage or changing of any law.

Let me say again that this allegation is baseless an unfounded and simply not true. It is a lie. I do not know Mr. Henie Van Niekerk and Mr. Klaus Preprik, never met them, never interacted with them, never had any discussion with Cllr. Sherman concerning the passage of any law on the Restatement and the Amendment of the PPCC Law. To even state or allege that I demanded US250,000.00 to pass it through the Senate - seems to me that who making the allegations, do not understand the workings of the National Legislature. I was never the presiding officer of the Senate. The Senate has the President of the Senate who is the Vice President of the Country that presides over plenary section of that chambers and in his/her absence as the case may be, the President Pro Tempore or Temporary, as the Presiding Officer. So, how can I demand money to pass a law through the Senate? It is simply a lie. At no time, did I meet these people, Mr. Henie Van Niekerk and Klaus Preprik as it was alleged in the Indictment and in the testimonies of the two State witnesses to have any interaction with them; neither do I know of any email because I never had any exchange of emails with them. I do not know about any email and the allegations in the alleged emails are simply not true. I did not interact with them neither did I communicate with them. Up until the publication of the Global Witness Report, I did not know that a company existed called “Sable Mining”. Lest to say I interacted with its officials...”

During the cross examination, he confirmed and corroborated the testimonies of co-Defendants Varney G. Sherman and E.C.B. Jones, Jr., that the Legislature enacted the Amendment and Restatement of the 2010 PPCC Act with the Section 75, sent in the Draft Law by the former President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. There was no change in the law as the Draft Law was enacted by the Legislature without any change. Section 75 was passed as it was sent in the Draft Law by the President.

Defendants first subpoenaed witness in person of Madam Mildred N. Sayon, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives from 2011 up to present, 2019.

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She serves as the Administrative Officer, responsible to oversee the clerical work of the House of Representatives, the custodian of records of the House of Representatives and she carries out Mandates of the House of Representatives, among other things. She confirmed and recognized the letter of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, dated August 5, 2010, transmitting the Draft Act of the Amendment and Restatement of the 2010 PPCC Act to the Legislature for review and enactment.

On cross examination, she testified: “I received the Instrument and the letter on the 10th of August to be placed on the agenda and on the same day it was read and referred to the committee that got authority over it. Giving the time I received it and the time it was referred, I could not have read the entire draft instrument”.

During the Court's Questions, she testified as follows:

“I have here the original copy of the communication from Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of the Republic of Liberia by which the Amendment and Restatement of the Public Procurement and Concession Act of 2005 was submitted to the House through the Speaker, J. Alex Tyler. I also have the Draft Amendment and Restatement of Public Procurement and Concession Act that was submitted. I also have here the final copy of the amendment and Restatement of the Public Procurement and Concession Act of 2005, approved September 16, 2010, and published by authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Monrovia, Liberia, printed into handbill on September 18, 2010.”

Defense's second subpoenaed witness in person of Joseph Neufville, former Executive Director of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission from January 2006 to February 2009. He later served as Advisor to the Commission in 2009 February to 2013 February. He corroborated the testimonies of Co-Defendants Varney G. Sherman and E.C.B. Jones, Jr. as to the Harmonization process of the two laws with the assistance of International Experts. He further testified that the Draft Law was presented to the President of Liberia in June 2010, and that the President presented same to the Cabinet sub-committee, headed by the Minister of Justice at the time, to review the document and advise the President on its acceptability. The President was accordingly advised. He confirmed that Section 75 in the Draft Law is included in the Approved Law.

Defense's third subpoenaed witness in person of Emmanuel O. Sherman, former Chief Geologist for the Liberia Geological Survey, Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, former Director of the Liberia Geological Survey, Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, former Assistant Minister for Mineral Exploration and Environmental Research at the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy and now, Deputy Minister for Operations at the Ministry of Mines and Energy. He too confirmed and corroborated the testimonies of Co-Defendants Varney G. Sherman, E.C.B. Jones, Jr. and Subpoenaed witness Joseph Neufville as to the harmonization of the Mineral and Mining Laws of 2000 and the PPCC 2005 Act with the assistance of International Partners. He confirmed and corroborated with the testimonies of Co-Defendants Varney G. Sherman and E.C.B. Jones, Jr., and subpoenaed witnesses Mildred Sayon and Joseph Neufville, that there was no change in the Draft Law as presented by the former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf which was enacted into law.

Defense rested the production of both oral and documentary evidence and submitted their species of evidence marked by court from D/1 through D/40 in bulk.

The first rebuttal witness for Prosecution was Fred Snorton, IT Specialist. He testified among other things on the direct as follows:

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“…Back to the question, sir, if whether an email could be hacked in total with all of the details being tempered with, I will say from my professional point of view and in categories, yes. As to whether an email can be hacked with all of its contents being wiped away, I will say under oath, “NO”…

…A hacker can enter my email and alter thing within my email. What remains with this email is time stamp. This time stamp runs with date, time signature, geo-location, etc. etc…

… Once this process which is sending picture or video to the internet, is termed as uploading…

… When I receive the upload, I have the ability at times to then download…

During the court's questions, he said the following:

“Ok. Sir, there are many ways and, I repeat, there are many ways that an email could be hacked. For this lecture, let limit it to at least one or two with specification and I remain clear, with specification. For example for the common man to understand. I take up a cell phone and I want to find some details of certain conversation or document that was being made on this cell phone as a hacker, I will go back to something the hacker called “PING”. This particular thing that is called “ping” allows me to understand or know the IP Address of a specific cell phone that want to temper with when I shall have PING this cell phone I am open to now triangulate from whence this call a document that I want came from with specification, the cell tower, the cell phone company, the date, the time and the location this particular that is called PING, trace rout is used by hacker across the world, that is one point”.

The second rebuttal witness for Prosecution was Aaron H. Aboah, former Law Enforcement Officer, Liberia Anti- Corruption Commission (LACC). He said on the direct as follows:

“Regarding the issue of the Report published by Global Witness, I was a part of the team that went to the UK to meet with the Authority of Global Witness and had hours of meetings and several issues were discussed. On the issue of the emails, Global Witness confirmed that those emails were the actual emails; however, they referred us to Paul O'Sullivan who is an Investigative Journalist. He also confirmed those very emails. I was also on the team that traveled to South Africa and met with Mr. Henie Van Neikerk who also gave us additional documents. Regarding the notarization of those emails, I cannot speak to it as the documents that were given to me in South Africa were not notarized. The notarized document was handed to the investigation by the late T.C. Gould to include the statement from Klaus Preprik. At no time did the investigation doctor or fake any of those documents. So, the emails in question were all exchanges that were given to us during the course of the investigation.

To answer this question, I will like to say that the issue of payments that were made was based on a spreadsheet that was submitted to the Sable Mining Team and that spreadsheet was used to verify amounts that were paid. In so doing, the investigation requested the bank statement of Hon. Sherman and the statement showed that the date and the amount as indicated on the spreadsheet were reflected on the bank statement. However, the bank statement did not name those individuals that were listed on the spreadsheet.

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The return-check showed that payments were made to employees of the Sherman and Sherman which the Investigation thought that these amounts were far too high to be salaries of employees. Also, Van Neikerk confirmed that he had indeed sent money to Liberia. The Sable Mining Board of Directors, through its lawyer, (I cannot remember his name) confirmed that they did send money to Liberia but did not give instruction as to giving Government Officials money. So, what was certain is, Sable Mining confirmed that the money in question was strictly under the supervision of its Country Director, Henie Van Neikerk.

For instance, Henie Van Neikerk confirmed that he visited Hon. Richard Tolbert, he confirmed that he did make a payment of US10,000.00 to IE and these payments were all reflected on the spreadsheet.

This is a difficult question for me - for the fact that as to the special flight, I was not privileged to the meeting at Shannon's house and that whatever occurred in that meeting was re-laid through an email to the investigation on ground that Klaus Preprik would testify as to what happened in that meeting. Klaus Preprik was the Country Director. When we went to South Africa, we were not privileged to have spoken to him, Klaus Preprik. However, he sent statement by email. In that statement, he said couple of things which are known to this court and the records are here, and thereafter it was agreed that he would testify to those things that were mentioned in his statement that is before this court.

To answer this difficult question, I will like to say that the spreadsheet did show US75,000.00 to Hon. Tyler. The bank statement showed that, that amount was paid as per the spreadsheet. But the return check did not show the amount in question being paid to Speaker Tyler. However, in an email from Klaus Preprik informing his bosses that he had had a meeting or a scheduled meeting with Speaker Tyler to discuss the issue of his, Speaker Tyler's House. In that email, the amount requested was US250,000.00, if my memory serves me right, which the authority of Sable Mining felt, was too expensive. It was in that email that Klaus Preprik confirmed the payment to Speaker Tyler of which he, Preprik, promised to testify in court”.

In answering to court's question, he answered as follows:

“While in the UK, all of the legal formalities were handled by Global Witness and thereafter communicated to the Chairman of the Taskforce.

…As the matter of fact, all of the documents were not notarized, specifically, it is Sable Mining Account; Liberia Iron Ore Mining – I cannot really remember…”


THE ISSUE:
The single issue before this Court, therefore, is, whether the Prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that one or more of the Defendants committed one or more of the crimes for which they were indicted?
To determine this issue, this Court must firstly determine whether the Draft Act of the Amendment and Restatement of the PPCC Act of 2005 that was submitted to the Legislature by the President under a cover letter dated August 5, 2010 contained Section 75.
We shall now hereunder quote the President's Letter verbatim for the benefit of this Final Judgment:

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TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2019
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“Republic of Liberia
August 5, 2010
THE PRESIDENT
EJS/MOS/RL/564/010

Honorable Alex Tyler
Speaker of the House of Representatives (In Session)
The Capitol Building
Monrovia, Liberia

Dear Mr. Speaker;

I am pleased to submit herewith, for review by your Honorable Body the Amended and Restated Public Procurement & Concession Commission Act (PPCC) of 2005.

The need to review the PPCC Act of 2005 was conceived in 2006 when the newly elected government reviewed all contracts that had been entered into by the NTGL. This exercise, which was undertaken under the auspices of the Governance Economic and Management Assistance Program (GEMAP), recommended the review of the PPCC Act for the primary purpose of improving the competitive bidding process and harmonizing the enabling legislation of the PPCC with those in the minerals, petroleum and other sectors.
The process of review, restatement and amendment of the PPCC Law has been protracted. It has, particularly, benefited from a wide-range of technical expertise and international best practices. Extensive technical assistance was provided by the World Bank, which has been Liberia's premier partner in supporting the establishment, mobilization, and operations of the PPCC. Elaborate technical assistance has also come from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the International Senior Lawyers Program (ISLP).

Additionally, professional and technical support has come from Liberian institutions. Valuable inputs have come from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, Ministry of State for Economic, Finance and Legal Affairs in the Office of the President, the National Investment Commission, and the commission itself. National inputs have been exceptionally useful in providing the appropriate insight and environmental context against which international best practices have been tested and passed upon.

Within the context of the above, this restated and amended PPCC Act is duly informed by national professionals, Liberia's international partners, and international best practices around the world. Specifically, this restated and amended act has been successful in achieving the following:
· Enhanced the core value of transparency in the bidding and concession process to ensure value for money in public procurement and economic value for concession rights;

· Harmonized bidding processes with concession granting and incensing procedures in the mining and other sector legislations (Forestry, Agriculture, Hydrocarbon);

· Rationalized thresholds established in the 2005 Act, removing it from the law and placing them in regulations since they may be subject to change periodically; and

 

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· Strengthened the complaint process under the law by clearly defining and articulating the functions of the Complaints, Appeals, and Review Panel (CARP) a complaint review and disposal process.

Mr. Speaker; I believe that this revised Act is best for Liberia and in the interest of our country and people and recommend that you submit it to the Honorable Legislature for enactment.

Sincerely,

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf”

This above quoted communication from our former President transmitted the Draft Act stated therein to the Legislature through the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, which was received on Tuesday, August 10, 2010. It was also placed on the agenda and on the floor of the plenary of the House of Representatives and was presented to the appropriate committee for review and recommendation.

This court says that it is important to examine the draft act and the enacted act to determine whether Section 75 was contained in the Draft Act, presented to the Legislature by the President. This will enable this court to determine whether or not there was change in the Draft Act and that the Legislature inserted Section 75 in the Enacted Act.

We shall now under quote Section 75 (3)(a) on Page 67 of the Draft Act which it is alleged by the Prosecution that the Legislature inserted in the enacted law for the benefit of this final judgment:
“For the purposes of subsection (2) of this Section 75:

(a) A “Non-Bidding Area” is established as to specified Minerals when (i) the Minister responsible for Mines determines, based on a reasoned recommendation of the Geological Survey Department of Liberia (or successor institution), that the available information as to the existence of such Minerals in such area indicates that there are insufficient quantities and/or qualities of such Minerals in such area to support meaningful bidding for the granting of Prospecting or Exploration Licenses for such Minerals in such area and (ii) such determination has been approved by a committee comprised of the ex officio members of each Inter-Ministerial Concession Committee”

Section 75 of the amendment and restatement of the Public Procurement and Concession Act, approved September 16, 2010 and published on September 18, 2010, also contained (3)(a) on page 72 which we hereunder quote for the benefit of the final judgment:

(a) A “Non-Bidding Area” is established as to specified Minerals when (i) the Minister responsible for Mines determines, based on a reasoned recommendation of the Geological Survey Department of Liberia (or successor institution), that the available information as to the existence of such Minerals in such area indicates that there are insufficient quantities and/or qualities of such Minerals in such area to support meaningful bidding for the granting of Prospecting or Exploration Licenses for such Minerals in such area and (ii) such determination has been approved by the IMCC excluding the representation from the sector entity”

This court says that Section 75 scope, Application and General Principles is contained in the Draft Act on pages 62 – 69, and Section 75 is also contained in the enacted law on pages 69 – 74.


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TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2019
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This court holds that there is no change in the law as alleged by Global Witness in The Deceivers, the Presidential Taskforce Report and the Indictment.

The first witness of the Taskforce in person of Marc Kollie testified before this court that the Investigative Team read the Draft Act in passing. This court says that the Draft Act should have been thoroughly read and compared with the Enacted Law before concluding that the Enacted and Restated PPCC Act of 2010 had been changed at the Legislature by inserting Section 75 in the Enacted Law. If Section 75 was absence in the Draft Act, the investigators would had a reasonable believe of bribery, if any, for changing the Law at the Legislature by inserting section 75 in the Enacted Law.

We shall now determine the issue of bribery as alleged by the Global Witness Report contained in THE DECEIVERS, the Special Taskforce Report and the Indictment. It is a fact that Sherman and Sherman represented Sable Mining Company in Liberia, and that an account for Sable Mining was created by and through Sherman and Sherman Inc. to support the projects of Sable Mining in Liberia. The allegation of bribery as alleged, is primarily based on statement of account or spreadsheet Co-Defendant Varney Sherman sent to Sable Mining with an email in August, 2010. The Taskforce produced before this Court a statement of account or spreadsheet as at 30 June 2010, wherein it is alleged that Co-Defendant Sherman received from Sable Mining USD$400,000.00 which he paid as bribe to top Government Officials including the Defendants herein, to change the Amended and Restated PPCC Act of 2010 by inserting Section 75 therein at the Legislature.

Co-Defendant Varney G. Sherman challenged the spreadsheet or account statement as at 30 June 2010, which is attached to the affidavit purportedly issued by Henie Van Neikerk in South Africa on grounds that the spreadsheet is faked and doctored because it has four entries in July 2010 and four entries in August 2010. He also challenged the spreadsheet to be faked and doctored because it contains illegal payments to top Government Officials including the Defendants contrary to his actual and true statement of account or spreadsheet as at 31 August 2010 which contained legitimate business payments for his client, Sable Mining. This testimony of Co-Defendant Varney G. Sherman is not denied or rebutted by the Prosecution and is deemed admitted. See Dennis and Bloh-Mullehburg vs. Republic 20 LLR 47 (1970). This court also notes from the records that the Global Witness Report and the Taskforce Report admitted that Co-Defendant Sherman sent his account statement to Sable Mining in August of 2010. However, the Taskforce failed to produce the account statement or spreadsheet for Defendant Sherman for August, 2010; instead, the Prosecution, during the February Term A.D. 2017, produced before this Court the account statement or spreadsheet as at 30 June 2010. This court says that the account statement of August 2010, upon which the allegation of bribery is based, should have been produced during the trial in this case under the best evidence rule in this jurisdiction. See Section 25.6.1 of our Civil Procedure Law of 1973.

This court also says that the doctrine of burden of proof rests upon the Prosecution to prove the allegations contained in the indictment beyond reasonable doubt. See Keller Vs. Republic, 28 LLR 49 (1979); Wreh vs. Republic, 30 LLR 459 (1983). A mere allegation in an indictment does not constitute proof, but a clear, convincing and conclusive evidence beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal trial constitutes a proof for conviction. See section 2.1 of our Criminal Procedure Law on the principle of presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt.

As to the issue of Affidavit, Co-Defendant Varney Sherman challenged the authenticity of the affidavit on grounds that it did not bear the signature of Henie Van Neikerk, and that it was not authenticated by Apostille under the 1961 Hague Convention, to which South Africa and Liberia are signatories. A careful perusal of the affidavit shows that it does not contain an Apostille under the 1961 Hague Convention. The convention, in summary, required that documents are signed in the presence of the Notary Public who then authenticates said document with his signature, stamp and seal.

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The Notary Public then forwards said documents to the High Court of South Africa where an Apostille Certificate is affixed to authenticate the signature of the Notary Public. See also the Swissair vs. Kalaban 35 LLR 49 (1988) where in the Supreme Court opined that the Warsaw convention is a part of the domestic law of Liberia. The affidavit purportedly issued by Henie Van Neikerk, does not meet the requirement of the 1961 Hague Convention and the Supreme Court Opinion in the Swissair Vs. Kalaban.

This court takes judicial notice that Prosecution rebuttal witness in person of Aaron H. Aboah, could not testify to the affidavit. It therefore follows that Mr. Aboah is not legally competent to also testify to the authenticity of the spreadsheet and the emails that are attached to the affidavit. Mr. Van Neikerk did not also appear to testify to his own affidavit he purportedly executed on March 7, 2017, 20th day's jury setting during the February Term A.D.2017, after the investigators left South Africa in August, 2016, Mr. Paul O'Sullivan also did not appear to testify to the emails and other documents he provided to the investigators in South Africa.

This court notes that the email dated August 7, 2010, alleging that Mr. Preprik met with Co- Defendant Tyler on Friday night, August 6, 2010 at which time former Speaker Tyler gave him the Act and requested USD$250,000.00 for the passage of the Act through the Senate. This court says the records before this court show that the Act was received by the Office of the Speaker on August 10, 2010, three days before Mr. Preprik allegedly met with former Speaker Tyler. This creates a serious doubt in the mind of this court for Speaker Tyler to have met with Mr. Piprek and received a copy of the Act which was still in the Office of the President of Liberia.

This court notes the contradiction in the testimony of Marc Kollie that the investigative team met Mr. Klaus Piprek in South Africa who gave them emails and other documents, and the testimony of subpoenaed witness, Aaron H. Aboah, that the investigative team went to South Africa but did not see Mr. Klaus Piprek. This court says that is a material variance or contradiction in the testimonies of these two witnesses which creates a reasonable doubt in the mind of this court in favor of the Defendants.

As to the issue of USD$500,000.00, the records before this court show that Mr. Klaus Preprik told the Investigative Team that USD$500,000.00 was given to Co-Defendant E.C.B. Jones, Jr. and Co-Defendant Eugene Shannon in the home of Co-Defendant Shannon and promised to testify during trial. Mr. Preprik failed to testify. This court says that the testimony of the Prosecution is hearsay evidence which is not admissible before this court.

A careful perusal of Prosecution exhibit P/5 entitled: “Companies run by ex-cricketer Phil Edmonds paid bribes to officials” show the following:


“…Van Neikerk was dismissed from the Liberia division in 2012 for 'theft of intellectual property' just a month before he took Sable to court over a dispute involving him selling Sable a different Liberia mining business.

Van Neikerk and Sable settled the case and Van Niekerk said the terms of the deal did not allow him to comment on Sable, but he added that he was not aware of any bribes being paid. His dismissal was ruled unfair in 2013 by the South Africa's Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration…” This court says that the denial of bribery by Van Neikerk, former Executive of Sable Mining in Liberia at the time of the alleged bribery, as contained in Prosecution's own Exhibit P/5, negates the allegation of bribery against the Defendants in this case, and also supports the denial of the Defendants for the allegation of bribery.

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TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2019
MAY TERM, A.D. 2019

This court says that the Prosecution did not prove the allegation of Bribery, Economic Sabotage, Criminal Conspiracy, Criminal Solicitation and Criminal Facilitation as alleged in the Indictment.

Wherefore, and in view of the foregoing, Co-Defendants G. Varney Sherman, E.C.B. Jones, Jr., Christopher Onanuga, J. Alex Tyler, Richard Tolbert, Eugene Shannon, Morris Saytumah and Willie Belleh are not guilty of the offenses charged in the indictment. They are hereby discharged from further answering the multiple offenses charged in the indictment without any delay, and their Constitutional and Statutory Rights are hereby restored with immediate effect. Their Criminal Appearance Bonds are hereby ordered returned to them by the Sheriff of this Honorable Court. And it is hereby so ordered.
GIVEN UNDER BY HAND AND SEAL OF THIS HONORABLE COURT THIS 30TH DAY OF JULY A.D. 2019


Peter W. Gbeneweleh
ASSIGNED CIRCUIT JUDGE PRESIDING

To which ruling of your honor, counsel for prosecution excepts and gives notice to court that they shall take due advantage of the law, and respectfully submits.

COURT: EXCEPTION NOTED. AND MATTER SUSPENDED AND IT IS HEREBY SO ORDERED.

 

 

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