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Court fines LBDI in bribery case

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Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia currently handling the ongoing economic sabotage trial that grows out of a Global Witness report of Sable Mining’s alleged bribery to officials has pounded the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment or LBDI with a US$300 fine, having found guilty for contempt.

The Court on Wednesday, 4 January ordered the bank to pay within 24 hours US$300 fine at the end of a contempt trial resulting from the bank’s failure to supply requested banking information for several past and present officials and institutions accused by Global Witness.
The case involves high profile officials, including former Speaker Alex Tyler, former Chair of the ruling Unity Party Sen. H. Varney G. Sherman and several others that Global Witness claimed received bribes in the tune of US$950,000 from U.K.-based Sable Mining for a mining contract.
Judge YamieQuiquiGbeisay ruled on Wednesday morning, 4 January that “the action of LBDI management is a clear indication that the management of LBDI [has] no regard for this Court or any constitutional authority”.
The Judge found that the bank’s action was also intended to make mockery of the Court and embarrass the smooth operation in the administration of justice. He said there was “no genuine reason” for the LBDI Management’s action, saying the Court found it difficult to purge the bank of contempt. For deterrence against the repetition of such action, Judge Gbeisay ordered that the bank pays US$300 into government revenues within 24 hours.
The Court warns that failure to pay the fine within 24 hours, the Clerk is ordered to issue a writ of arrest to have the President of LBDI and any other manager detained at the Monrovia Central Prison or South Beach until the bank complies accordingly.
Upon appearing on a contempt citation Wednesday, the lawyer representing LBDI Atty. Robert G. Freeman, Sr. appealed to the court to have consideration on the contempt charge slammed against the bank for the delay in supplying documents requested by the court.
While making the appeal, the LBDI Counsel also presented to the Court the document which it had failed to produce earlier. The court acknowledged receipt of the documents, but declined to purge the bank of the contempt.
With the submission of LBDI’s response to the Court on Wednesday, it indicates that all of the eight banks from which the court had subpoenaed documents have already complied. The prosecution was seeking to secure banking information for all indictees.

By Winston W. Parley-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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