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Politics News

Court wants U.S. Embassy handover stolen vehicles

The Criminal Court “C” in Monrovia has paused trial surrounding some alleged stolen seven U.S. cars, instructing its clerk to inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here “to exert its influence” on the United States Embassy to have the vehicles brought under the court’s jurisdiction.

“It is a requirement under our law, that object so situated as those vehicles be brought under the custody of the Court during the prosecution of a case involving such object”, presiding Criminal Court “C” Judge Yussif D. Kaba decided at the Temple of Justice on Thursday, 29 June.

Over claims of smuggling stolen cars belonging to individuals in the U.S. and understating their values at the Freeport of Monrovia, Liberia’s prosecutors have indicted four persons for theft of property, economic sabotage, smuggling, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation. Two of the indictees including defendants Armstrong Tony Campbell and Sheak K. Brown are standing trial in the case, but government says the other two accused persons including Kandakai Sherman and U.S. – based Sheriff Lasuado will face separate trial upon apprehension.

The defendants allegedly shipped to Liberia seven stolen cars without being authorized between July and October 2016, understated the value of the vehicles and paid into government revenue US$21,800.65 “when they should have paid US$92,233”.Judge Kaba has instructed the clerk to insert in the communication to be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that it is the expectation of the Court that the vehicles be reported to the Court on or before Tuesday, 4 July to permit the Court to continue with the hearing of the case.

“Pending the production of those vehicles therefore, this matter is hereby ordered continued (postponed) and reassign to Tuesday, the same being July 4, 2017, when the vehicles are expected to be brought under the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court”, Judge Kaba says.

The Court says it has information that the seven vehicles were placed under the custody of the U.S. Embassy here, noting that from the date of the commencement of the trial of the case, the “Court has ordered that the seven vehicles” be brought under the jurisdiction of the Court. Judge Kaba, further order for prosecution to produce the vehicles has resulted to the State requesting the Court to have a subpoena issued through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and addressed to the U.S. Embassy.

“This Court in its wisdom decides that rather than issue a subpoena, a communication will be addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the Clerk of this Court informing the said Ministry of the precarious situation this Court finds itself in the successful disposition of this matter in the absence of those vehicles being brought under the jurisdiction of this Court”, he concludes.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

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