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Gov’t wants Sirleaf, others back in jail

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Government Prosecutors here have rejected all five bonds separately filed by five former and current Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) officials including Charles Sirleaf and Milton Weeks, requesting that they be thrown back in jail until the full amount is paid.

The rest are Dorbor Hagba, Richard Walker and Joseph Dennis. Prosecutors have argued that the current bond filed are inadequate and insufficient. The full amount being requested to seucre their bonds is “US$835,367.72 and LRD$2,645,000,000.00, and not US$909,319.88 and US$240,000.00 as filed” by the defendants respectively.

Filling an exception to the defendants’ criminal appearance bonds on Thursday, 14 March, the prosecution reminds the Court that where restitution or fine is required at conviction for a crime of first degree felony …, the amount of fine or restitution is double the gain realized.

On the basis of this argument, the State says the defendants are required to file bonds in the tune of US$1,670,735.44 and LRD$5,290,000,000.00.

The five CBL past and present officials were at separate times released from detention at the Monrovia Central Prison between 8 and12 March, upon tendering their criminal appearance bonds before Criminal Court “C” Judge Boima Kontoe.

They have been indicted on multiple charges including economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation following their arrests for their alleged roles in the printing of an excess amount of LRD$2,645,000,000 that investigators say remain unaccounted for.

Their indictment further alleges that the defendants had no authority to pay the amount of US$835,367.72 to the CBL’s hired firm, co-defendant Crane Currency AB for the printing of the excess amount.

The alleged scandals occurred at CBL while Mr. Sirleaf serves as Deputy Governor for Operations; Mr. Weeks, Executive Governor; Mr. Dorbor Hagba, Director of Banking; Mr. Richard H. Walker, Director for Operations and Mr. Joseph Dennis, Deputy Director for Internal Audit.

According to the prosecution, bonds filed by these indictees are defective, invalid and legally insufficient.

The State alleges that the Accident and Casualty Insurance Company that stands for defendants Sirleaf, Hagba, Walker and Dennis has not paid taxes due the government, contrary to the claim of the surety that it is up to date in its tax payment.

The government here maintains that the company’s tax clearance certificate expired as at February 27, 2019 before the bonds were filed on March 5 and 11, 2019, respectively.

Concerning co-defendant Weeks’ bond, the government argues further that the combined value of the properties offered by the sureties Mr. Dewitt and Rhonda von Ballmoos, Benoni W. Urey and Atty. Angelique G. Eupheme Weeks, II, in the tune of US$909,319.88 “is grossly inadequate and insufficient.”

Government reminds the court that Mr. Weeks faces multiple charges including economic sabotage in the amount of US$835,367.72 and LRD$2,645,000,000.00.

Persecutors have argued that the law for securing a bond to release an accused person charged with economic sabotage has been grossly ignored and neglected by the court.

The officials were arrested and initially incarcerated after the Presidential Investigative Team (PIT) set up by President George Manneh Weah to probe Liberia’s 16 billions scandal reported that analysis of the packing list submitted by the CBL to PIT actually reveals that LRD$18,151,000,000 was printed and shipped by co-defendant Crane Currency AB, instead of LRD$15,506,000,000 that the bank claimed to have received from the contracted firm.
By Winston W. Parley -Edited by Othello B. Garblah

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