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Liberia news

More JFK indictees backdown

More JFK indictees The number of indicted persons, who have resolved not to challenge government’s charges against them in the JFK economic sabotage case, has increased to three – four of whom have pleaded not guilty to the indictment read on Thursday, 2 June.

Defendant Thomas G. Telewoyan joined James Ricks and Thomas Oliver Mezzeh to seek a plea bargaining with the prosecution, even though Telewoyan insisted that he was not guilty, but he would pay “under protest” to clear his name.

Eight out of some 15 indictees were arrested by the prosecution in served indictment over claims of diverting several insurance payments intended for the JFK Medical Center totaling over L$16m and over US$126,000 into two bogus JFK accounts for their personal uses.

After Criminal Court “C” granted three of the indictees plea bargaining, at least four, who had pleaded not guilty, were seen in the dock, suggesting their preparedness to take issues with the prosecution upon jury selection and sequestration which the state has already requested.

Defendant Patrick Konuwah, Rebeah Arnus, James Ricks, Thomas G. Telewoyan, Thomas Oliver Mezzeh, Benjamin Dargbeh, Jerry Morlu and Fahn F. Borbor were among some 15 persons indicted by the government surrounding theft of property, economic sabotage, money laundering, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation.

The government said other persons still at-large include Boima J. Varney, Lathia Waleh, Central Bank of Liberia IT Department hardware technician Prince Jallah and his wife Grace Dolly Jallah was working as Executive Secretary to JFK CEO, John Freeman Kennedy, Ballah Holmes and John Fred Kennedy.

The court has granted prosecution to try the defendants that are before court, after the state announced on Thursday that it would later prosecute those who are still at-large upon being arrested and brought under its jurisdiction.

In resistance to the prosecution’s request, a counsel for the alleged JFK fraud syndicate leader, Patrick Konuwah, contended that the prosecution’s request was like jumping the trigger as there was nothing shown to the court as to efforts made by the prosecution to have the defendants brought to court.

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The counsel questioned if there was any effort by the prosecution to extradite the accused that are still on the run if they are out of Liberia, concluding that there was no information as to whether Interpol has been contacted to trace the defendants.

The Court, however, granted the prosecution’s request to grant severance to those who have not yet been brought under the court’s jurisdiction.  

By Winston W. Parley

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