Criminal Court “C” Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh has ordered the reissuance of a writ of subpoena on Senate Secretary Naborlor Singbeh and the Chief Clerk at the House of Representatives Madam Mildred Sanyon to appear before the court Monday, 8 July at the trial of several top officials.
The Judge ordered the reissuance of the subpoena on the two top Legislative officials on Friday, 5 July following Court “C” Sherrif’s report indicating that the rest of the subpoena witnesses from the Capitol had sent in letter, but did not appear at the time.
Several other subpoenaed witnesses including Mr. Calton S. Miller, immediate past Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) Executive Director Mr. Dorbor Jallah, Mr. Joseph S. Neufville and Mr. Emmanuel O. Sherman appeared on Friday and were qualified by the court to give testimony.
Over claims of bribery, former House Speaker J. Alex Tyler, Grand Cape Mount County Sen. Cllr. H. Varney G. Sherman, Bomi County Sen. Morris Saytumah, Eugene Shannon, Dr. Richard Tolbert, Mr. Willie Belleh and several others are standing trial at the Court.
The government here says British mining firm Sable Mining paid bribes totaling US$950,000 to lawmakers and other officials to change PPCC laws for a non-bidding process for iron ore deposits at the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County.
The indictment indicates that nearly half of the alleged US$950,000 was channeled through Sherman and Sherman law firm owned by co-defendant Cllr. Sherman, while the rest was allegedly brought here in expensive brief – case by Mr. Andrew Grooves.
The government says bribe was offer for purpose of inserting Section 75 in the PPCC Act which provides for non – bidding process while the Act was pending passage at the Legislature during former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s regime.The Senate Secretary and the Chief Clerk of the House are ordered to appear before the Court on Monday at 10AM.
However, the defendants’ first witness Cllr. Sherman testified during cross examination with state lawyer Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh on Friday that it appears that the government was anxious to get indictment “against us” and to spend money to get “us” tried by the media.He insists that there was “no basis for us,” adding that the defendants did not do what they have been indicted for.
Sen. Sherman says he cannot say the money that was transfer to Sherman and Sherman’s account at the International Bank by Sable Mining for its activities in Liberia.
However, the accused explains that whatever disbursement was made was for legitimate purposes, as stated on the spreadsheet which Global Witness had in its report.
The indictment against the defendants was drawn following a report by the Global Witness titled “The Deceiver” in 2016, alleging a bribery scandal that was intended to influence officials to change the PPCC law for the concession to favor Sable Mining.
Government has nolle prosequi Sable Mining and Mr. Andrew Grooves, a move that leaves defendant Sherman to claim witch – hunt, on grounds that both the bribe giver and receiver are guilty and must be held.
He however denies claims of bribery, saying Section 75 was in the draft Act, but not inserted as claimed by the government.By Winston W. Parley