Liberia News: WHO CHOPS PROSECUTORS’ US$150,000?

Monrovia-Feb-19-TNR:Controversial over the US$150,000 presented to prosecutors in the Gloria Musu-Scott’s murder case continues to linger as some lawyers including Counselor Adolphus Karnuah have denied having knowledge of the money.

Cllr. Karnuah, one of the prosecuting attorneys implicated by the County Attorney for Montserrado County, Cllr. Swahilo Sesayand also county attorneys across the fourteen counties to the alleged distribution of significant portion amongst themselves of the US$150,000 meant for prosecuting the former Chief Justice, Gloria Musu Scott’s murder case has denied and distanced himself from said allegation.

Cllr. Karmuah, who heads the Civil Litigation Unit at the Ministry of Justice and one of the lead prosecutors in the case continued to remain tipped lip about the US$150,000prosecution fund distribution in question, despite Cllr. Bobby Livingstone, other lead prosecutors, admitting that Cllr. Karnuareceived his share of the money.

As for Cllr. Livingstone, he admitted receiving US$6,000 from the money for his personal use and revealed that the actual amount received from Comptroller Milton Gaye for the trail was US$130,000 and not US$150,000 as alleged by Cllr. SwahiloSesay.

Comptroller Milton M. Gaye from the Ministry of Justice, when asked, acknowledged preparing the checks but chose to conceal details information about the money. He was referenced by Cllr. Karnuah to be the source of information regarding those who received and signed for their portion of the US$130,000. Comptroller Gaye deliberately avoided providing information that will lead to knowing who all signed for the money.

In the midst of the hauling and pulling between some of the prosecutors who participated in the Gloria Musu Scott et al case and allegedly got these hefty benefits, some county attorneys are pointing fingers at them for stalling their work and or making their work very different because from August 2023 the same month the Gloria Musu Scott et al case started until now they haven’t received prosecution funds to enhance their work.

It seems as though there is no doubt as to the fact that significant portion of the money was dished out between those prosecutors who participated in the trial. In fact it is rumored that Cllr. Nyenati Tuan, the former Solicitor General got his share of the money in the tune of US$15,000.00.

Despite claims and counter claims, Cllr. Kanuah continues to remain tight lipped on the matter at the same time Comptroller Milton M. Gaye refusing to provide details or clarity on the check signed since he’s responsible for financial matters at the Ministry.

“Even if I receive US$5,000 or more from somewhere, how does it affect County Attorneys?” Cllr. Kanua questioned. According to him, when journalists write story it should make sense but as regards this story about the US150, 000 he claimed it doesn’t make sense at all.

He continued that, “Go ahead and write your nonsense and rubbish.” Cllr. Kanuah furthered that, “I can assure you and those people who are helping you to write that story, we will institute legal action against you all,” “Go and be writing your trash and say you writing story.” “That thing you saying, makes no sense,” he argued with journalists.

“Even if I received money in Cllr. Scott prosecution case, it was meant for my vehicle repair, gasoline among others and how does it stop prosecutors from getting their prosecution fund?

It can be recalled that county attorneys across the country have complained of not getting prosecution fund since August 2023, the same month the prosecution of former Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia begun. The question county attorneys have continued to ask is that why was so much money allocated for just a single case when they too have equally important cases to try?

It is said that county attorneys are furious concerning the attitude of their colleagues and other hierarchies of the Ministry of Justice.

They continue to wonder-though being in sympathy with the bereaved-why US150,000 was allotment for just one murder case as if it Charloe Musu’s  death is more important and precious than other people who have died in similar manner.

“We only return to court because there is a new government and we don’t want to been seen as anti- regime elements though we have a valid reason to stay away. Everything that has to do with prosecuting is cost intensive thus we cannot continue to work without central government support. This is putting so much strain and stress on our pockets and has the propensity to breed corruption,” one of the prosecutors said.

“There is no history at the Justice Ministry for such money to haven been spent in or on a single case,” another county attorneys said.

Also reacting to the US$150,000 issue, Cllr. Lafayette Gould noted, “I worked for everything dime that I received, my dear. I started the investigation with the police, drew the indictment, argued the motion to admit to bail, attended the trial, and did direct examination of a witness as well. So I worked for it. The money that was given covered all these activities.”

The prosecution lawyer added, “I was also part of the preparation of witnesses before trial. I helped in the preparation of the evidence for discovery. So how someone say that I received money that I didn’t work for? If you say that I didn’t sit on the case then you were not following because I did the direct examination of the lead investigator in Anthony Blaye. Go and check the records. I was in court when Zion Tarr and two others testified. So go and check well my dear.”

He furthered, “For your information, the money was not US$130, 000. Let it be clear for the records that money was given by the government for the entire process of preparation of the trial, and the full trial. We didn’t steal it. It was given to the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry gave it to me. I didn’t steal a dime, and don’t know which budget line the money came from. All I know is that the money was given for the trial and we received some of it for our operation. This is not the first time. Money was given for the drug case; CBL, Cyber Mining, Angel Tokpah, Charles Julu, Judy Bryant and Snowe, and the Mercenary case. I can go on naming many cases. This is a normal practice.”

It is said that the case was originally contemplated to have been heard outside Montserrado which was the reason for such high amount to have been allocated to this single case.

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