The Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice has ordered subpoena against Central Bank of Liberia authorities for Thursday, 30 March, after prosecution expressed dissatisfaction at International Bank Liberia’s testimony that it lost copies of two checks that were subpoenaed by the Court in a trial prompted by Global Witness’ bribery claims of over US$950,000.
On behalf of the commercial bank, witness Edwin Kamanda said the only conclusion “we come up to” is that the checks are lost and cannot be recovered, telling the Court that the bank has checked tirelessly for the checks both at its storage and at its branch offices.
Following his testimony on Wednesday, 29 March, state lawyer Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson requested Judge YamieQuiquiGbeisay to subpoena the Central Bank to produce documents on commercial banks regulation on the storage of checks testified to by International Bank Liberia Limited branch manager Kamanda and to testify.
State lawyer Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould had earlier accused witness Kamanda of alleged refusal to testify to facts with respect to the subpoenaed checks, asking the court to declare the witness “a hostile witness” for the purpose of being crossed examined by the State which had subpoenaed him.
Upon prosecution’s request, the Court had issued subpoena on Internal Bank Liberia Limited to produce copies of checks dated June 23, 2010, August 25, 2010. The bank official had testified that they are required to keep physical documents for five years, in response to Court’s question as to how long the bank was required to keep physical checks that have been processed.
While the Court granted prosecution’s request to subpoena the Central Bank, it did not however agree with prosecution that witness Kamanda refused to testify to facts relative to the checks in question and as such declared that the objective of the writ of subpoena on the commercial bank was met and satisfied.
Defense had said prosecution’s request to declare the witness a hostile witness was made in bad faith and intended to delay the trial, thus asking the Court to discharge him from the stand since he had satisfied the office of subpoena duces tecum.
Government is prosecuting several Liberian officials, past and present, along with U.K.- based Sable Mining officials and a Nigerian national in an alleged bribery scandal that the accused had been bribed to influence a change in concession laws here to award Sable Mining a non – bidding concession contract.
At the hearing on Wednesday were former House Speaker Mr. Alex Tyler who was dethroned by his colleagues following his indictment, former ruling Unity Party chair, now Senator H. Varney G. Sherman, former Minister of State for Economic and Legal Affairs, now Sen. Morris Saytumah and former National Investment Commission Boss Richard Tolbert, among several other indictees in the dock.
They are facing multiple charges along with former Lands and Mines Minister Dr. Eugene Shannon, Nigerian national Chris Onanuga, and two Sable Mining Executives.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah