L$16 Billion Case Dead?


-AS Government Seeks Out Of Court Settlement

By R Joyclyn Wea

It now becoming clear that the alleged missing sixteen billion Liberian dollar banknotes has died a perpetual death as national government is now press to have an out of court settlement with former Central Bank of Liberia Governor Milton Weeks, the lone indictee hooked for the missing monies.

The state at the call of the case on Monday, May 25, 2020 pleaded with Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay of Criminal Court ‘C’ for three weeks delay into the matter on grounds that it is seeking an out-of-court resolution or to mitigate the charges levied against Weeks even though it has previously claimed to have had enough evidence to convict him (Weeks).

Though the states did not say whether Milton Weeks and the four other associates who charges were recently dropped were wrongfully arrested, the government through the Ministry of Justice has also informed the court that she has resolved to arrest a new batch of people in connection to the missing billions.

The state did not also say in its motion for continuance as to how it intends to carry out her mitigation with former Governor Weeks thus leaving Court to wonders why now the Weah led Government is clearing those ex-CBL executives, after nearly a year since the indictment was released against them.

Milton Weeks and four other former officials of the bank include the son of former Liberian head of State Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf were indicted on June 14, 2019, by the Grand Jury of Montserrado Count upon request of the George Weah led Government over allegation of economic sabotage, money laundering, criminal facilitation and theft of property, but in the course of one year they are being cleared of the allegation levied against them.

The state on May 13, 2020, took similar decision in favor of Charles Sirleaf, Richard Walker, Dorbor Hagba, and Joseph Dennis excluding co-defendant Milton Weeks thereby giving the impression that it has cogent material evidence against him (Weeks).

Prosecution disclosed in its motion that both the state and Weeks are endearing to find a common ground on the way forward in resolving the matter to save time, energy, and resources, as such it is proper for an application of this sort to be made so that the parties can have ample time to discuss and reach a peaceful agreement before proceeding.

The court mentioned that indictments are drawn based on oral and documentary evidences introduced before a grand inquest, meaning that before an indictment is released, the State has gathered enough evidence against a defendant; something which seem far from the matter at hand.

The court terms the behavior of the state’s lawyers as a mockery to that honorable court and the Justice System of Liberia.

Judge Gbeisay bewailed ‘‘This case being a so-called high profile case, these consistent and continuous requests for postponement, speaks volume and gives different impression of the court and the judge presiding to the public and tends to erode public confidence in the judiciary.’’

Gbeisay further that while the state has the right to Nolle Prosequoi its case under section 18.1 of the criminal procedural law, the court also reserve the rights to dismiss the case under section 18.2 of the same law for unnecessary delay as in the instance case.

Judge Gbeisay indicated that the court cannot be held hostage by the prosecution until it is ready as such Government three weeks request for continuance granted with modification that it (State) reverts to that honorable court within the course of seven days, failure of which the court will proceed to ‘sua ponte’ and dismiss the matter and move on with other matters before it. TNR.

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