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Politics News

I did not read entire draft law

-House Chief Clerk testifies in Sable Mining case

The Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives Madam Mildred N. Sayon says she could not have read the entire draft law of the Amendment and Restatement Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) Act given the time she received it and the time of plenary session.

Assistant Justice Minister Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh unsuccessfully sought to establish from witness Sayon Wednesday, 10 July if it was possible for the Section 75 that she saw in the enacted law to have been in the draft law, after she indicated that she did not read the entire draft law.

She tells the Court that given the time interval of receiving the instrument and the time of plenary session, “I could not have read the entire draft law.”

Madam Sayon and the Secretary of the Senate Mr. NaborlorSingbeh have been subpoenaed to testify in the ongoing trial of several top Liberian officials – past and present for allegedly receiving bribes totaling US$950,000 to insert Section 75 in the draft PPCC Act.

Her appearance was intended to honor the court’s order to come and confirm certain documents including the 2010 Draft PPCC Act; a letter addressed to former House Speaker Jenekai Alex Tyler by former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf dated 5 August 2010, among others.

As custodian of the House also responsible to oversee clerical works and carry out mandates of the House, Madam Sayon testifies in direct examination with defense lawyers that she recalls coming across the enacted 2010 PPCC Act as well as the drafted 2010 PPCC Act.

She also testifies in cross examination conducted by state lawyer Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh on Wednesday, 10 July that she received the instrument and ex-President Sirleaf’s letter to ex-Speaker Tyler.

According to the subpoenaed witness, the instrument was placed on the agenda of the House of Representatives and on the same day, it was read and referred to the committee that had authority over it, but she could not have read the entire draft law.

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Additionally witness Sayon, responding to the Court’s questions told Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh that she had the original copy of the communication of former President Sirleaf by which the Amendment and Restatement Act of 2005 was submitted to the House through former Speaker Tyler.

She additionally says she had the draft amendment and restatement of the PPCC Act that was submitted, as well as the final copy of the Amendment and Restatement of the PPCC Act of 2005 approved on September 16, 2010 and printed the same year.

Several top Liberian officials are on trial before the Criminal Court “C” for their alleged roles in an alleged bribe scandal claimed by U.K. – based watchdog group Global Witness that details how Sable Mining allegedly paid bribes to change PPCC laws in favor of the company.

Global Witness and the Liberian government accuse the indictees of receiving alleged bribes totaling US$950,000 offered by British mining firm Sable Mining to change Liberia’s PPCC law to give the company undue advantage over mineral deposits at the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa.

Based on Global Witness’ report titled “The Deceivers,” the government here has indicted some of its officials and past officials for economic sabotage and other crimes, though the accused have denied all charges.

Former House Speaker J. Alex Tyler, Grand Cape Mount County Sen. Cllr. H. Varney G. Sherman, Bomi County Sen. Morris Saytumah, Dr. Richard Tolbert, Mr. Willie Belleh, Mr. E.C.B. Jones and others are standing trial based on the allegations.By Winston W. Parley

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