According to the communication addressed to Chief Justice Korkpor, a copy of which is in the possession of this paper, Senate Secretary Singbeh lamented that in the February 8 edition of the Heritage Newspaper, Vol. 24 No. 35162 under the headline, “Startling Revelation”: Assistant Justice Minister Wesseh Requested ‘Bribes’ for Jurors emanating from a leaked audio in the possession of the Heritage, that Cllr. Wesseh requested the amount of US$200 from Mr. Hans Armstrong as private prosecutor for jurors as stated in the leaked audio by Mr. Armstrong to indict the Secretary of the Senate et al.
According to the leaked audio, Mr. Armstrong boastfully revealed that even the Justice Minister and Attorney General of the Republic of Liberia, Cllr. Musa Dean is his (Armstrong) best friend and lawyer while speaking to some jurors and that if Singbeh and others were indicted, he (Armstrong) will call them (jurors) back for a handsome reward and that the US$200 requested for them (jurors) by Cllr. Wesseh serving as State Prosecutor did not mean that they were being taken cheap and will call them (jurors) back not for US$20 0r US$50 but a very good amount based on their status.
Although Cllr. Wesseh who earlier referred to the leaked audio as not being authentic, later admitted in an interview reported by a local daily on August 16, 2021 requesting for US$200 from Mr. Armstrong as a payment for services to the Jurors due to the lack of funds from the Ministry of Justice to pay the services of jurors and not a bribe. In this twist-turn explanation by Cllr. Wesseh, it leaves more rooms to deliberate further on the requested money, that is, was it legal and lawful for a State Prosecutor to solicit money from a party litigant to pay jurors or a party litigant tampering with jurors promising a handsome reward if an indictment goes through?
Though the Case involving Hans Armstrong as Private Prosecutor through the Ministry of Justice versus Nanborlor Singbeh et al was dismissed recently based on a request from the defense counsel that Mr. Armstrong et al were indicted during the February 2021 Term of the 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Sanniquellie, Nimba County through the Ministry of Justice with Mr. Singbeh as Private prosecutor. Four months after the case was filed by the same Ministry of Justice in Nimba County, the same Ministry of Justice again filing similar case at Criminal Court C with Mr. Armstrong this time as Private Prosecutor without first adjudicating the one in the 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Nimba County which served as a basis for the dismissal of the Case which was before Criminal Court “C”.
While the case in the 8th Judicial Circuit Court was called for on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, based on a Motion for the Change of Place of Trial filed by Counsels for Private Prosecutor, Nanborlor Singbeh, Cllr. Wesseh instead of representing the Private Prosecutor, “clandestinely” filed a Motion for nolle prosequi quite repugnant and unknown to Private Prosecutor Singbeh.
The Judge of the 8th Judicial Circuit Court having being earlier accused by defendant Armstrong with the matter presently before the Judiciary Inquiry Commission (JIC), recused himself and granted the Motion for a Change in Venue to the 9th Judicial Circuit Court in Gbarnga, Bong County.
When Mr. Singbeh was contacted on the matter, he stressed that “it is very strange that Cllr. Wesseh who weeks ago served as State Prosecutor representing the Ministry of Justice and assisted by the Gongloe and Gongloe Law firm in the dismissed indictment in Criminal Court C, both are now serving in the interest of defendant Armstrong instead of representing me as Private Prosecutor calling for the dismissal of said case without my knowledge.”
He further lamented that “how can Cllr. Wesseh who is at loggerhead with me on his support to Mr. Armstrong will come in this point of time to represent me in an ill-manner of calling for a dismissal of my case without my knowledge and input by taking instruction from Justice Minister Dean who earlier served as Counsel for Mr. Armstrong during the beginning of said matter in Nimba County,” he stressed.
When quizzed on the behavior of Cllr. Wesseh, a judicial luminary, who maintained anonymity, pointed out that “the assertion made by Mr. Singbeh needs to be investigated and if found to be true, then, Cllr. Wesseh should be barred from taking part in the on-going trial at the 9th Judiciary Circuit Court in Bong County including other prosecutors from the Ministry of Justice siding with defendant Armstrong and that Mr. Singbeh, as Private prosecutor be allowed to find a Counsel to represent his interest.”
A former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, who professed not to be named, also lamented that, “these are the behaviors of some of our colleagues that tend to undermine the integrity of our noble institution thus bringing the Judiciary into public ridicule and disrepute,” furthering, “ Cllr. Wesseh and those at the Ministry of Justice must be made to realize that their actions speak of a double-face dealing that must not be condoned in our jurisdiction where everyone is equal before the law whether one who sits at the Ministry of Justice with vested interest in a matter will act repugnant to the rule of law.”
Meanwhile, Senate Secretary Singbeh has reiterated his firm belief in the Liberian Judiciary System and is of the fervent hope that “justice will be done in order to expose and weed out those quack lawyers that tend to destroy the good image of the Judicial system just to satisfy their “egocentric and personal aggrandizement” such as Justice Minister Cllr. Musa Dean, Assistant Minister Cllr. Wesseh and their likes,” he accentuated.