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GW indictees suffer multiple blows

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Indicted former National Investment Commission or NIC boss Dr. Richard Tolbert has lost two motions seeking separate trial and the dismissal of the economic sabotage indictment against Liberian officials alleging that they received over US$950,000 bribes from U.K.- based Sable Mining to make laws declaring Wologisi Mountain a non-bidding concession.


Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay had earlier on Wednesday morning, 22 February denied defendant Tolbert’s motion seeking to dismiss the indictment before later ruling that defendant Tolbert failed to say how his defenses in the case clashed with the other co-defendants to be granted separate trial.

Prior to the two rulings on Wednesday, the Court had earlier on Tuesday, 21 February denied another “Motion to Drop” that was filed by lawyers representing an indicted official of U.K.- based Sable mining
in person of Mr. Andrew Groves.

“… [This] Motion is therefore denied and dismissed without prejudice to Movant to re-file their motion when [they] have been served and brought under the jurisdiction of this Court,” Judge Gbeisay ruled
Tuesday.
The Court had ruled that under the Liberian jurisdiction, when an individual is charged with a crime, the person must first be served with an indictment and brought under the jurisdiction of the court –
evidenced by sheriff’s return, before such person can make any application before the court.

But in the case of Mr. Groves and Sable Mining, the Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia says they have not yet been served with the writ of the court. As such, the Court declined to listen to any motion for any person who is yet to be brought under its jurisdiction, evidenced by the sheriff’s returns.

Over the past few days, the Court has been hearing and passing decisions into motions and resistance coming from different parties involved in the ongoing economic sabotage. These are legal formalities that have to be completely exhausted before the actual trial can begin.

The case has to do with an alleged economic sabotage scandal reported by U.K.-based watchdog group Global Witness which accused several Liberian officials and Sable Mining officials Mr. Groves and Mr. Klaus Piprek in an alleged bribery scheme in the tune of US$950,000.00.

Following Global Witness’ report last year, lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill overthrew the head of the Legislature Mr. Alex Tyler who had resisted their call to step aside as House Speaker while facing an indictment
drawn against him.

Mr. Tyler and former ruling Unity Party Chair Sen. H. Varney G. Sherman, former Lands and Mines Minister Dr. Eugene Shannon, Mr. Ernest C.B. Jones and Nigerian national Chris Onanuga were jointly
indicted last year following the Global Witness report.

A second indictment containing similar charges relating to the alleged Sable Mining bribery scandal drew in more Liberian officials including former Lands and Mines Minister Dr. Eugene Shannon, former NIC boss Mr. Richard Tolbert, former Minister of State for Economic and Legal Affairs, now Sen. Morris Saytumah and Mr. Willie Belleh.-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

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