The subpoena duces tecum is similar to the subpoena ad testificandum, which is a writ summoning a witness to testify orally. However, unlike the latter summons, the subpoena duces tecum instructs the witness to bring in hand books, papers, or evidence for the court.
The issuance of the writ of Subpoena Duces tecum and Ad Testificadum was prompted by the prosecution’s request to Judge Jomah Jallah of the Mpnrovia City Court to issue said writ on Madam Brown-Lansanah to appear before the court to testify and produce the original copy of the CPP Framework Document.
During the hearing on Monday, May 2, 2022, the prosecution lawyers headed by Solicitor General Cllr. Saymah Syrenius Cephas said the application is by law that the original copy of the said document be produced to enable their witnesses to testify in the ongoing trial.
Cllr. Cephus quoted Civil Procedure Law section 9, which states that Equality of Parties in the Civil Procedure in regard to procedural rights, parties are equal and the court shall ensure that the parties have equal opportunity to exercise their rights in order to protect their interests.
Cllr. Cephus, among other things, asserted that the said document of which, Ignatius Wesseh, who is the head of Political Affairs at the NEC was subpoenaed to produce and testify to was not the original copy of the CPP Framework Document, was submitted to their office by the ANC Leader- Cummings on behalf of the CPP.
In resistance, Defense Lawyer led by Cllr. Abraham Sillah said the submission made by prosecution is in tandem to the best evidence rule because pursuant to a previous subpoena, which was served and returned on Wesseh to produce, testify and serve to the court at the time, the prosecution did not oppose the return of the original copy of the said document.
Cllr. Sillah argued that the issue is no more about the availability or unavailability and marked by the court.
According to him, the request made by prosecution is contradiction to the law in this trial.
It can be recalled that during the last sitting, Judge Jomah ruled that based upon the application made by prosecution, they notified the court to call the witnesses when necessary.
Judge Jallah averred that under our practice and law it is well settled that evidence of which the case is about must be produced . Moreover, a photo copy documents can only be allowed when the documents is missing on in the averted party.
"In this case the original copy of the CPP Framework Document is in the possession of NEC Chairperson," Judge Jallah further averred.
The judge emphasized that the prosecution insisted that subpoenaed witnesses cannot testify to photo copy documents.
Judge Jallah furthered that the original CPP Framework Document should be produced before any of its witnesses can take the witness stand.
Meanwhile, Madam Brown-Lansanah will appear in court on tomorrow, Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at about 10:30 Am. At the same time, former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai and Mo Ali could not testify in the case because the original copy of the CPP Framework Document was not in the passion of prosecution. Therefore, they will be callrf later and after the subpoenaed witness NEC Chairperson appear before the court as per the requested by prosecution.
During the hearing, the prosecution beefed up their legal team to additional four lawyers. They are Cllr. Augustine Fayiah, Cllr. Johnny Momo, Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott and Cllr. Cole Bangalu.
It can be recalled that before the resumption of the trial, the Monrovia City Court ordered the arrest of Mr. Cummings based on a complaint filed by the All Liberian Party (ALP).
The ALP, which is wholly owned by businessman Benoni Urey, sued his opposition compatriot for forgery and criminal conspiracy for alleged framework tampering.
The writ of arrest, issued by Stipendiary Magistrate Jomah S. Jallah of the Monrovia City Court, comes just days after the ALP, via its National Executive Committee, voted to withdraw from the CPP.
The ALP, which is a strong political ally of the Unity Party (UP) of former Vice President Joseph Boakai in the now crisis-laden CPP, promised to seek legal action for what they termed as “unlawful attachment” of its leaders’ signatures to the CPP framework document.
The writ of arrest reads:
REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA, TO CAPTAIN LARRY GORMORYOU, MAGISTRATE POLICE OR HIS DPUTY GREETINGS:
“You are hereby commanded to arrest the living bodies of Alexander B. Cummings and others to be identified, defendants and forthwith bring them before the Monrovia City Magisterial Court, Temple of Justice, to answer to the crime of Forgery and Criminal Conspiracy, based upon the oath and complaint of the Republic of Liberia by & thru All Liberian Party by & thru its National Chairman, Theodore Momo, plaintiff in which it is substantially alleged as follow to wit:
That during the period of AD 2020, up to and including July, AD 2020, in the City of Monrovia, Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia, the within named defendant being there and then in violation of section 15.70 of the New Penal Law of Liberia, purposely connived, conspired, and jointly did alter the frame work documents of the CPP, thus deceiving the private prosecutor and the public regarding the content and averments of the said document specifically the period a part may exit from a CPP, which was unresolved, but said defendants out of deception surreptitiously altered same, thereby making it to appear that the party has formerly resolved that issue and others appertaining thereto.
The alleged act of the defendants being unlawful, wicked, criminal, illegal and intentional is in violation of section 15.70 and 10.2 of the New Penal Law of Liberia there and then the crimes herein the defendants did do and commit.
HENCE THIS WRIT OF ARREST.
CONTRARY TO THE FORM FORCE AND EFFECT TO THE STATUTORY LAWS OF LIBERIA IN SUCH CASES MADE AND PROVEN AGAINST THE PEACE AND DIGNITY FOR THIS REPUBLIC, AND FOR SO DOING. THIS SHALL CONSTITUTE YOUR LEGAL AND SUFFICIENT AUTHORITY AND HAVE YOU HAVE THERE THIS WRIT OF ARREST.
GIVEN UNDER OUR HANDS AND SEAL OF COURT,
THIS 3RD OF DAY OF JANUARY, A.D. 2022
In response to the writ, an aide to Mr. Cummings accused the ALP chair of filing “a bogus personal lawsuit against Alex Cummings for Forgery and criminal conspiracy, 15.70 and 10.2 of the Penal Code.”
“A writ has been issued for Mr. Cummings’s arrest. Benoni Urey and Joe Boakai seem to be behind it,” the aide said. “The government also seems to be involved. Cyrenius Cephas is involved as he was at the court.”
Before the ALP pulled out of the CPP, its political leader went on record to say that “Cummings is not fit to lead…” Now, two years later, the ALP has accused the ANC, of altering the CPP framework document without the consent of his colleagues in the CPP.
However, lawyers of the CPP confirmed that they (lawyers) were the ones who altered the structure and content of the framework document, which the ANC and its leader have been accused of.
Yet, the lawyers’ letter does not state whether the revised document is the same — structurally and content-wise — as the one filed by the ANC and Cummings at the National Elections Commission.
The ALP said its decision to pull out of the CPP was made as a result of a comprehensive review of the party’s participation in the CPP, the uncertainties about the political future of the collaboration, the lack of strong will to implement the findings of the CPP Framework Agreement Investigative Committee’s findings of the alterations of the CPP’s Framework Agreement, among other issues.
The CPP came to prominence as an alliance of the four major opposition political parties comprising the Unity Party (UP), the All Liberian Party (ALP), the Liberty Party (LP) and the Alternative National Congress (ANC), for the sole purpose of amalgamating forces and resources for the removal of President George Weah and his party, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), through the 2023 presidential elections.
The coalition demonstrated its strength in the 2020 midterm Senatorial Elections, in which it won the majority of the seats. It is worth noting that gains made by the CPP during the 2020 Senatorial election were achieved with Mr. Cummings at the helm of the CPP.
But a year after a show of strength in actuality, the CPP became embroiled in a series of internal wrangling due to allegations of framework tampering levied against the ANC by the ALP, from which a trade of counterclaims and mudslinging ensued between the ALP, UP and LP on the one hand, and the ANC on the other.
And now that the CPP is breaking up under the leadership of former Vice President Boakai, the chances of the opposition unseating President Weah in 2023 have grown dangerously slim.