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Politics News

Milton Weeks alone again?

-as witness excludes Fahart, others from converting billions of dollars

Witness Baba Boakai, testifying Wednesday, 1 July, his third on the stand for prosecution, said investigation did not establish that defendants David Fahart, Elsie Dossen Bardio [Melisa A.] Emeh and [Kollie] Tamba received and converted for their own use and benefit, money printed by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).

“The investigation established that for the printing of the 10 billion Liberian Dollars, an excess amount of 2,645,000,000.00 was printed, received under the supervision of Governor Weeks and cannot be accounted for. The investigation however did not establish that Co-defendants David Fahart, Elsie Badio, Emeh, Tamba received and converted money printed by the CBL for their own use and benefit,” he says.

In the previous indictment nolleprosequi by the prosecution in the same case, Mr. Weeks was alone battling against a decision taken by the lower court and subsequently upheld by a justice in chambers when prosecutors began to nolleprosequi other defendants.

Here comes a State witness testimony again suggesting that an excess of LD$2,645,000,000.00 was printed, received under Governor Weeks’s supervision and cannot be accounted for, but also saying investigation did not establish that Fahart, Emeh, Elsie and Tamba received and converted money printed by the CBL for their own use and benefit.

However, the four officials and the CBL former Executive Governor Milton A. Weeks are indicted following the presidential investigative team (PIT’s) report accusing the CBL Board of Governors of issuing a Board Resolution, saying they acted out of the scope of their duties.

The fifth defendant Melisa A. Emeh is said to be out of the bailiwick of Liberia and has not been brought to court, therefore the court has granted prosecution’s request to grant her a separate trial so as to enable the four other defendants that are available to get speedy trial.

All the defendants on trial have pleaded not guilty for charges of theft of property; economic sabotage; fraud on the internal revenue of Liberia; misuse of public money, property or record; theft or illegal disbursement of public money; criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation.

Three other defendants in persons of Richard H. Walker, Dorbor M. Hagba and Joseph Dennis were nolleprosequi last month by the State after it drew this third indictment which did not include former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s son Charles E. Sirleaf because he had been nolleprosequi with prejudice in May.

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He says the information was informed by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency Marshall Dennis that for the printing of the LD$10 billion, “no such authorization was given,” instead, revealing that the CBL was instructed to do an analyses as to the quantity and denomination of banknotes to be printed.

He adds that both the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate instructed Governor Weeks to revert to the House, specifying the quantity and denomination of banknotes to be printed, prior to printing. Mr. Boakai confirmed his previous testimony that Crane Currency conspired and colluded to print excess of  LD$2,645,000,000 and concealed the actual amount that was printed in respect of the printing of the LD$10 billion.

In his testimony Monday, 29 June, Mr. Boakai said there is no further justification provided [by] defendant Weeks for printing excess LD$2,645,000,000, saying the accused used his authority to get a board resolution to legalize an action he already took.

“The investigation further found that from analyses of documents received, that the CBL and that of Crane Currency [were] also in violation of the very contract that they signed,” he testified Monday, 29 June at Criminal Court “C” in Monrovia. Mr. Boakai testified that defendant Weeks used his authority in dual capacity in assembling the Board of Governors in September 2017 to come up with a board resolution to legalize and perfect an action he took as far back as June 2017.

He testified further that no authorization was given by the Liberian Legislature for the printing of LD$10 billion, unlike the case of an initial LD$5 billion earlier printed following signing of a contract on 6 May 2016, shipped to Liberia, received by CBL “and duly accounted for.”

Former Governor Weeks and three other former CBL officials are standing trial for multiple charges including theft and economic sabotage of billions of Liberian dollars printed and shipped to Liberia, following a series of mass protests that prompted local and international investigation into claims that the money went missing.

The prosecution is holding to account four defendants in the case including Mr. Weeks who has been in all of the previous indictments for this case, and the new batch of indictees in persons of David Fahart, Elsie  DossenBardio and Kollie Tamba.

By Winston W. Parley

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