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Crime & PunishmentGeneralLiberia news

Cummings’ trial a wild goose chase, British firms reveal

By Lewis S. Teh

Omnia and Alaco Limited, two leading business intelligence and investigative firms hired by opposition leader Mr. Alexander B. Cummings to probe the merits of his ongoing criminal trial by the Government of Liberia have jointly released findings here, noting that evidence into allegations of forgery lodged against Mr. Cummings “simply does not stack up.”

These allegations stem from an internal dispute within the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), an opposition alliance formed by four political parties in Liberia, including Mr. Cummings’ Alternative National Congress; the All Liberian Party (ALP), the Liberty Party (LP) and the Unity Party (UP).

The ALP that took the ANC leader to court after it left the collaboration, alleges that Mr. Cummings and two other senior figures in his party conspired and tampered with the agreement that constituted the CPP, known as the “Framework Document”, prior to it being filed with the National Elections Commission (NEC) in Liberia.

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The ALP’s allegations formed the basis of a prosecution before Liberia’s criminal courts, which is ongoing. Mr. Cummings and his co-defendants vehemently deny the allegations of forgery and criminal conspiracy.

Releasing the joint investigative findings via a virtual presentation on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, from the United Kingdom, the team through Mr. Gordon Rainey, head of Alaco Limited notes that following a comprehensive review of the evidence to establish the facts, Alaco and Omnia have concluded that those allegations levied against Mr. Cummings and two of his officials are entirely baseless without merit.

“We, therefore, believe that this allegation filed against Mr. Cummings and his team is completely Baseless and this is what the investigation has revealed”, Mr. Rainey adds.

According to him, the special joint independent forensic investigation established that the CPP investigation failed to take into account key evidence, showing the comprehensive review and approval of the framework documents by all parties to the agreement.

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For her part, Mrs. Cherie Blair, wife of Britain’s ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair, says the joint investigative findings weren’t reviewing the processes that are in court at the moment, clarifying “What we look at is the Investigation Committee Report and the decision of the prosecution to send the case to court.”

She argues that the investigative report does not provide a proper basis for any prosecution, and prosecutors are not behaving in a way that a real trial should proceed.

“Our investigation has shown that the original complaints against Mr. Cummings and the CPP’s so-called investigation are hopeless. The evidence simply does not stack up”, Mrs. Blair says.

She describes the entire affair at best as a wild goose chase and at worst a witch hunt, adding “I have no doubt the Liberian courts will see that justice is done.”

The independent report titled “The Framework of Political Prosecution: The Case of Alexander B. Cummings, reveals how the CPP Investigative Committee failed to take into account key evidence showing the comprehensive review and approval of the Framework Document by all parties to the agreement.

“Inexplicably, this was despite its own Chairman having participated in this process of negotiating and agreeing the text. This raises serious questions about the committee’s motivation and competence”, the report further reads.

In response, Mr. Cummings says the findings of the report are conclusive, saying “With the baselessness of the accusations against me now laid bare, the truth – that this was a politicized attempt to impugn my integrity and derail our movement for real change – may prevail.”

The ANC leader maintains that he has always stood firm and calm when the government has violated his domestic rights, but could not remain calm during the government-orchestrated trial, which he notes has been an assault on the democratic rights of all Liberians and the values of the international democratic community. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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