Samukai ‘Nails’ Finally

By: R. Joyclyn Wea

MONROVIA-The Supreme Court has revoked the suspension of the two years jail sentence of Lofa County Senator-elect and his two deputies having collectively failed to comply with the mandate and judgment of the Supreme Court in which they were ordered to pay 50% of the judgment sum in the amount of US$573,828.15 within the period of six months.

This means that J. Brownie Samukai, Joseph Johnson, and James Nyuman Ndokor will now serve two years imprisonment and pay the full judgment amount of US$1,147,656.35 less the amount already paid by them.

Brownie Samukai, Joseph Johnson, And James Nyuman Ndokor were indicted and found guilty for theft of property, criminal conspiracy, misuse of public money, and money laundering in the sum of one million, one hundred forty-seven thousand, six hundred fifty-six united states dollars thirty-five cents (US$1,147,656.35).

They were each sentenced to two years, but the same was suspended by the Supreme Court of Liberia with a condition that they (defendants) restitute 50 percent of the amount guilty of within a period of six months, conditions which the defendants had allegedly breached.

Reading the high court’s verdict on January 27, 2022, Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh threatens that Samukai and his two deputies shall remain in prison until the balance amount is fully liquidated at the rate of US$25.00 per month for what she terms as a gross violation on the part of the defendants.

The Associate Justice furthered that the defendants will now be placed behind bars while restituting the full Armed Forces of Liberia personal funds haven’t breached its February 8, 2022 mandate in the two years prison sentence was suspended.

Prior to the Supreme Court’s Thursday judgment, Samukai has made the payment of US$191,276.05 in three separate checks before Criminal Court “C” Judge Blamo Dixon, but Justice Yuoh holds that said payment by Samukai does not constitute 50% nor adherence to the conditions in which the jail sentence was suspended by the supreme court.

The law provides that where criminal defendants are jointly adjudged guilty of a crime, they are together, considered collectively responsible for any fines or penalty until the judgment is fully satisfied.

She furthered that the defendants were jointly charged and convicted and that at no time, did that honorable court order any of the defendants to make payment separately from the others, as such the issue of separate payment by the defendants has no place in its verdict.

In this regard, Justice Yuoh noted that Judge Dixon improperly executed the mandate of that honorable Court when he (Dixon) relied on Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay’s ruling which was modified by that court and apportioned the judgment amount of US$1,147,656.35 among the three defendants thus ordering each defendant including Samukai to pay his share of 50 percent (US$191,276.05).

Justice Yuoh noted that Judge Dixon was clearly in error to have apportioned the US$1,147,656.35 amongst the defendants ordering each to make his 50 percent share.

Given the clear language of February 8, 2021, opinion and judgment of the Supreme Court regarding the joint liability of restituting the judgment amount, Justice Yuoh indicated that the US$191,276.05 payment by Samukai cannot be considered compliance with the high court mandate.

“A bill of information will lie to prevent the inferior court or officer thereof who attempts to execute the mandate of the supreme court in an improper manner, or to prevent anyone whomsoever from interfering with the judgment or mandate of the court, hence, this bill of information is the propitiate remedy where it is established that the trial court is improperly executing the mandate/ judgment of the supreme court.”

While the court acknowledges payment of Samukai in respect to the amount guilty of, it says that the amount should have been jointly paid by all three defendants and not a single defendant, hence said cannot be considered as honoring its mandate.

By this, Yuoh asserted that all three defendants have failed to honor their mandate as well as breached the conditions of the suspended sentence.

Similarly; the Supreme Court had mooted the request for enlargement prayed for Samukai through his lawyers to enable him to make full payment of his share of the amount guilty of.

The High Court holds that the bill of information filed on August 18, 2021, by Samukai requesting for enlargement of time is a plea made in bad faith, as one cannot claim satisfaction or reparation and at the same time, pray for time to comply.

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