By Lincoln G. Peters
More setbacks have hit the enforcement of the Supreme Court’s mandate in the trial of former Defense Minister and Lofa County Senator-elect Brownie Samukai and two other officials in the wake of two separate instruments filed with the superior court both by prosecution and defendants.
Following their conviction in a criminal trial earlier this year, the trial court, Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice was mandated by the superior court that the former officials should pay 50% of over US$1m of funds belonging to Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) soldiers on or before 25 August 2021.
The Supreme Court had instructed that the convicts including Mr. Samukai’s former deputy Joseph P. Johnson and Mr. J. Nyumah Dorkor, should subsequently stipulate payment of the remainder within one year or face jail terms of two years each if they failed to do so.
But at the appearance of the three convicts to update the Criminal Court “C” regarding progress made in the payment Thursday, 26 August, the Presiding Judge, Ousman F. Feika, said a motion for enlargement of time had been filed by the defendants in the case, and such motion was still pending before the Supreme Court undetermined.
Secondly, Judge Feika said a bill of information had been filed by the prosecution before the Supreme Court to correct the irregular enforcement of the mandate of the Supreme Court. He said the prosecution’s bill of information is still undetermined.
“In light of the foregoing, this Court says it would be unwise to proceed with the enforcement of the Mandate of the Supreme Court when the Motion for Enlargement of Time filed by the Defendants and the Bill of Information filed by the Prosecution has not been determined by the Supreme Court which is a superior court to this court,” Judge Feika said.
Judge Feika ruled that the proceedings are suspended, pending the issuance of a notice of assignment.
With the new developments before the Supreme Court in the case, the presiding Criminal Court “C” judge and the three convicts have been notified to appear and file their returns before the full bench of the superior court on Monday, 6 September 2021 at the hour of 9:00 am to show cause why information prayed for should not be granted.
The Ministry of Justice on Thursday, 26 August filed a bill of information before the Supreme Court of Liberia, asking it to correct “the irregular enforcement of the mandate of the Supreme Court of Liberia by the lower court.’’
The bill of information filed also seeks legal interpretation from the Supreme Court of Liberia regarding the payment of the money by Mr. Samukai and the other defendants.
The prosecution claimed that there are irregularities in the execution of the Supreme Court’s mandate by the lower court concerning separate or joint payment of the money, thus requesting the superior court for its comprehensive legal interpretation of the matter.
At the same time, Co-defendants Johnson and Dorkor in their bill of information before the full bench of the Supreme Court said they want an enlargement of time to have them pay their portion of the 50% because they are seeking medical attention outside the bailiwick of the court and could not fulfill their portion of the money.
Currently, Johnson and Dorkor said they have made payments of US $ 1,000.00 each within the six months period as mandated by the Supreme Court of Liberia, while Samukai has satisfied his portion of the 50% payment within the six months period as mandated by the high court.
The three officials who served former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s administration were convicted this year for misapplying personal pension saving funds belonging to AFL soldiers.
They were asked to restitute the funds or face jail terms.
Mr. Samukai meanwhile got elected as Lofa Senator in December 2020 despite being convicted in the criminal case, but the Supreme Court, on prosecution’s request has ordered the National Elections Commission (NEC) not to certificate him until he removes the disability imposed upon him according to law. https://thenewdawnliberia.com/dont-certificate-samukai/–Edited by Winston W. Parley