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GW indictees’ bank statements in court

Nearly all commercial banks here that were ordered by the Criminal Court “C” to produce statements on past and present indicted officials accused by Global Witness of receiving bribes from U.K. – based Sable Mining have cooperated, submitting their responses to court.

Indictees in the case include former Speaker Alex Tyler and former chairman of the ruling Unity Party Sen. H. Varney G. Sherman, and several others accused by Global Witness of allegedly receiving bribes from U.K. –based Sable Mining to secure a mining contract.
Prosecutors asked the court last year for a subpoena of all bank statements of the indictees; while one of the indictees former Speaker Tyler was also seeking all species of evidence held against him in the case.
The Clerk of Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, Mr. Knowles Shain told The NewDawnon Tuesday, 3 January that prosecutors have complied with the defendant’s request, while also saying the court submits documents to the prosecution upon receipt from banks subpoenaed in the case.

There were a total of eight subpoenaed banks, but the Clerk said only the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) failed to comply within the 72 hours mandate from the court, leaving the court to serve the bank a writ on Tuesday to serve as deterrence.

Banking information of the defendants were requested from Afriland Bank; Access Bank; GN Bank [formerly First International Bank]; United Bank of Africa (UBA); Global Bank; Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI); Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) and Ecobank Liberia Limited, respectively.

The banks were ordered to produce bank statements for Sherman and Sherman Inc; Deltal Mining Consolidated (Pty) Ltd; Sable Mining; West Africa Exploration and H. Varney G. Sherman. Others were Willie Belleh; Richard Tolbert; Morris Saytumah; Cletus Wortorson; Sumo Kupee; Henry Fahnbulleh, Ernest C.B. Jones and Christopher Onanuga.

Former Speaker Tyler and Sen. Sherman were two of several high profile officials indicted by the government based on a Global Witness report implicating them into alleged economic sabotage.

By Winston W. Parley-Editing by Jonathan Browne

NGOs investigate CDF usage

The head of a local non-governmental organization (NGO) Liberia Accountability Voice Initiative Mr. James Shiloh says his group and nine other local NGOs are working in the fifteen counties with citizens in knowing how the County Development Funds have been used.

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Catakaw detests bad leadership in district#9

A 2017 legislative aspirant Cllr. Miller Catakaw has criticized whathe terms “bad leadership” suffered by his people in Montserrado CountyElectoral District #9, vowing to make things better if electedin October this year.

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Students protest for Bong College President

Students at the Bong County Technical College or BCTC have staged a peaceful protest in demand for a college president, claiming that an Interim Management Team has overstayed at the institution.

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Ophoree Diah, 3 others released

Four of the 9 Grand Gedeans convicted here for mercenarism have walked out of prison after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf extended them clemency.  The President extended the Executive clemency on New Year’s Eve (31 December) as part of gestures marking celebrations for the Christmas and New Year’s festivities.

Those released include an ex-general of the disbanded Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy or LURD rebels OphoreeDiah. General Diah, who also fought for an earlier rebel group ULIMO-J, served as chief of security at the National Port Authority (NPA) during the transitional period in 2004 prior to his arrest along with others in Grand Gedeh County for mercenary activities and subsequent conviction.

Five others are still languishing behind bar at the Monrovia Central Prison. Those released by the President along with General Diah are Moses Baye, Emmanuel Saywou and Jacob Saydee.
The Liberian leader had earlier released a batch of inmates from the Monrovia Central Prison prior to Christmas.  While some Liberians have welcomed President Sirleaf’s gesture, they equally wonder why she could not release all nine Grand Gedeans.
Credible prison sources told The NEW DAWN the remaining Grand Gedeans in prison include Bobby Sarpee, NyanzeeBarway, Edward Cole, Mohammed Masquoi and Stephen Glint.
Sources also disclosed that the health conditions of the remaining inmates from the county are not conducive, stressing a need for the government to close the chapter by releasing the five individuals left behind bar.

Meanwhile, several persons spoken to from Grand Gedeh County have praised President Sirleaf for releasing their kinsmen, but appealed that she extends similar gesture to those left in prison.
In October 2016, President Johnson-Sirleaf released the first batch of Grand Gedeans: Isaac Taryou, Sam Tarlay, Prince Yotay and James Lee Cooper, bringing to total 13 convicts in connection with the same crime.

The 13 Grand Gedeans were tried and found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment by Criminal Court “D” at the Temple of Justice in July 2015 but lawyers representing the convicts at the time appealed to the high court against the sentence.
Liberia’s Human Rights lawyer, Cllr. Tiawan S. Gongloe, who took the appeal to the Supreme Court, argued that the state failed miserably to prove its case against the defendants and that the jurors’ guilty verdict against them was contrary to the evidence adduced during the trial, praying the high court to acquit the defendants.

“Your honor the state has failed miserably to prove its case against the defendants and that the testimonies of the state witnesses were un-corroborative and nothing but hearsay,” Cllr. Gongloe had argued.

But County Attorney for Montserrado County, Cllr. DakuMulbah, resisted the appeal and asked the high court to deny and dismiss it as the state proved its case beyond all reasonable doubts, noting that state witnesses’ testimonies were corroborative.

“Your honor the state has proved its case against beyond all reasonable doubts as the testimonies is regular, seven rebuttal witnesses and 51 pieces of evidence corroborative to warrant the defendant’s guilt,” Cllr. Mulbah resisted.
Final opinion handed down by the Supreme Court of Liberia headed by Chief Justice Francis Korkpor and endorsed by four Associate Justices, KabinehJa’neh, Jamesetta Howard Wolokollie, Philip Banks and Sie-A-NyeneYouh upheld “That in the case before us, the state met the mandatory threshold standards of establishing prima facie evidence against nine of the 13 appellants/defendants.”

The high court’s opinion, read by Chief Justice Korkpor, further noted, “Wherefore and in view of the above, the guilty verdict against the four defendants in the lower court is reversed.The guilty verdict against the nine defendants is upheld, therefore the nine defendants are sentenced to life” The Grand Gedeans were among 18 other defendants arrested by state security in 2011 and 2012 during cross border fracas after post electoral violence in neighboring Ivory Coast between loyalists of ex-President Laurent Gbagbo and now incumbent President AlassaneOuattara. But five of the 18 were acquitted during trial at the lower court due to lack of sufficient evidence.

By Emmanuel Mondaye -Editing by Jonathan Browne

Bong Education Officer suspended

Bong County Education Officer Mr. Edward Kpulun has been suspended for one month, after the Ministry of Education or MOE determined that he allegedly took the Ministry’s vehicle accross the border to neighboring Sierra Leone without being permitted by MOE’s Central Office.

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GSM users to protest tariff

Liberia’s Global System for Mobile Communications or GSM users have planned a week-long protest on the grounds of the Capitol Building agaisnt a recent passage of additional US$0.01 tax on voice calls per minute by the House of Representatives, awaiting concurrence from the Liberian Senate.

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Lawmaker wants registration precincts at prisons

Bong County District #3 Rep. George Mulbah, Sr. has written the House of Representatives to mandate the National Elections Commission or NEC to open registration precincts at various prison facilities across the country ahead of the registration exercise for the 2017 representatives and presidential elections.

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Police chief vows tougher against criminals

Liberia’s Inspector General of Police Col. Gregory Coleman has renewed vow to pursue hardened criminals, particularly armed robbers, while re-affirming thepolice’s readiness to work with all stakeholders for a peaceful presidential and representative elections in October.

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We fire six rounds

January 10, at about 3:00a.m. was a horrifying moment for the chairman emeritus of ex-president Charles Ghankay Taylor’s former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP)Chief Cyril Allen when a group of armed men barricaded his residence in Sand Beach Community, Duazon, along the Roberts International Airport highway in Margibi County.

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