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Gov’t plays audio in alleged US$80,000 bribery

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By permission of the Court, prosecutors have played an audio in which it is purported that suspended National Housing Authority (NHA) Managing Director DuannahSiryon and his two deputies Tugbeh C. Tugbeh and Isaac Roberts were in heated argument over inequitable distribution of alleged bribe of US$80,000.

Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court C granted the permission despite resistance from the accused lawyer questioning government’s rebuttal witness Detective Jacob J. Suah of the Liberia National Police (LNP) as to whether he is a voice specialist.

Meanwhile, the defendants have since denied all charges of economic sabotage, theft of property, criminal solicitation, bribery, and criminal facilitation.Following the playing of the audio, Detective Suah responded in the affirmative when he was asked by the prosecution if the recording was the audio recording that was submitted to the investigation.

However it was difficult for our staff to understand what was being argued in the audio due to the noise in the recording.But prosecutors say they want to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt and they don’t need a voice specialist for that purpose, questioning why the defense didn’t reject the submission of the audio which was presented to the State from the Executive Mansion.

Criminal Court “C” Judge A. Blamo Dixon said the Court was inclined to grant the request of the prosecution for the audio recording to be played in open Court in order to give sufficient notice to the defendants because it is alleged that the defendants had altercations in the recording.Further, Judge Dixon says the audio recording was testified to, identified, and recognized by the prosecution’s witnesses, confirmed and reconfirmed.

Finally, he says the instrument was admitted into evidence to form part of the record in the case and subsequently submitted to the jury de factor (the Judge) to determine its weight and credibility to give unto it the probative value that it deserves.

“Therefore the resistance of the defense team is denied and dismissed. The said recording shall be played in open court for the hearing of all,” the Judge orders.During the course of the investigation, Officer Suah says there was a recording that was turned over “at which there was an altercation” [among] defendants Siryon, Tugbeh and Roberts.

He testifies that during this argument, Mr. Roberts and Mr. Tugbeh were angry with their boss Mr. Siryon for the alleged inequitable distribution of an amount that was given to Augustine Weah to be brought to the office at the NHA to Siryon’s two deputies for distribution.Mr. Siryon earlier on Tuesday denied taking a bribe of US$80,000 from Emmanuel Tapsoba, the coordinator of Burkina Fasso – based company GELPAZ-IMMO in connection to the construction of 50,000 housing units here.

The suspended NHA officials were arrested following some alleged transactions that also involved one Augustine Weah, an alleged chief executive officer of Guss Group of Companies and Emmanuel Tapsoba, a coordinator of Burkina Fasso – based company GELPAZ-IMMO.Their charges came amid a claim of alleged bribery in connection to the construction of the housing units for which the Liberian government and GELPAZ-IMMO had reached agreement.By Winston W. Parley

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