By Lincoln G. Peters
The Criminal Court “C” in Monrovia has dismissed an indictment drawn against National Elections Commission (ENC) chair Madam Davidetta Brown – Lansannah and ordered her discharged from further answering in the proceedings.
On 2 December 2021, the NEC boss was indicted by the grand jury for Montserrado County for violation of the Code of Conduct for Public Officials, predicate offense to money laundering (insider trading and market manipulation).
She was indicted after the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) investigated media reports last year alleging that Madam Brown – Lansannah had rented 22 pieces of facial recognition thermometers for US$182,000 and used them in four counties to conduct by-elections.
But Criminal Court “C” Judge T. Ciapha Carey ruled Thursday, 28 April 2022 that the court lacked jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case and that the LACC also lacked legal capacity to take unto itself the function of the Ombudsman.
Judge Carey dismissed without prejudice, every indictment against Madam Brown – Lansannah and also ordered that her criminal appearance bond be returned to her.
The judge explained that insider trading, though listed as a predicate offense, is not a crime under the laws of Liberia because it is not defined by any statute here.
He furthered that the Code of Conduct Act in clear language provides that the Ombudsman shall receive and investigate all complaints and not the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, as relied on by the prosecution lawyers.
Judge Carey at the same time quoted Section 12.2 of the Code of Conduct which states that “the office of an Ombudsman shall receive and investigate all complaints, in respect to the adherence to the Code of Conduct.”
He continued that “where there is a determination of guilt and violation of the Code by private and public officials and employees of government, it shall be submitted by the Ombudsman to the LACC for prosecution.”https://thenewdawnliberia.com/you-cant-use-legal-means-to-solve-illegal-problem-defense-lawyers-argue-in-nec-boss-trial/