Sieh's Lawyer Threatens Court ‘C’
Former Police Director Beatrice Munah Sieh-Brown’s legal counsel C. Alexander B. Zoe has threatened to take the Criminal Court “C” before the Supreme Court of Liberia if the lower court does not stand firm to take the right decision, ahead of its judgment in the corruption trial of his client.
The defense lawyer issued the threat last Friday when the circuit court entertained arguments from party litigants over a motion filed by the defense to dismiss multiple corruption crimes levied against Sieh- Brown and two co-defendants by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) in October 2008.
But Criminal Court “C” Judge Yusiff D. Kabba has responded to the lawyer, saying he is not afraid, and that nobody could threaten the court because it is guided by the statutes (laws).
The former police boss was indicted in 2008 along with co-defendants Harris Manneh Dunn and Prince O. A. Akinremi on multiple crimes for allegedly diverting nearly US$1 million intended to purchase uniform sets for officers of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and the Police Support Unit (PSU), respectively of the Liberia National Police.
The crimes ranged from economic sabotage, theft of property, criminal facilitation to criminal conspiracy. But defense exhibit indicates that the Justice Ministry on September 30, 2011 issued clearance to the accused on grounds that LACC did not provide sufficient evidence to prosecute the defendants.
Earlier, Counsel Lavela Koboi Johnson argued before the court last Friday that the LACC wanted to test the resolve of Liberia’s Judicial System by its unauthorized action against defendant Sieh-Brown to assume the prosecutorial responsibility of the Justice Ministry.
Counsel Johnson emphasized that the intention of the crafters of the act creating the LACC was not to have two separate prosecutorial arms of government. He argued that the commission does not have sole prosecutorial power, but should work in coordination with the Justice Ministry in prosecuting cases.
Notwithstanding, the defense lawyer requested the court to dismiss the LACC’s charges, because it is not clothed with sole prosecutorial authority and lacks sufficient evidence against the defendants.
For its part, the LACC maintains that it has the capacity to prosecute criminal cases on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Liberia, relying on the new Executive Order.
LACC Legal Counsel Othello S. Paymah, quoting Section 11.3 of the LACC Act, which states that the Justice Ministry may decline to prosecute cases of corruption recommended to it by the commission “for whatever reason”, said that the phrase (for whatever reason) does not have limitation.
Cllr. Paymah believes that the Justice Ministry declined from the corruption case against Sieh-Brown on grounds that it did not receive sufficient evidence from the LACC.
He however claimed that the ministry’s refusal to prosecute Sieh-Brown and co-defendants does not equally stops the LACC from prosecuting the case at bar, thereby accusing the Justice Ministry of acting in error to have issued clearance to the defendants.