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Oppong’s country devil

Prominent Liberian female lawyer Cllr. Pearl Brown – Bull has labelled Solicitor General Cllr. Saymah Syrenius Cephus as one of President George Manneh Weah’s “country devils,” criticizing the official for dividing the Ministry of Justice and causing government to lose good cases.

“Who name Syrenius …? Cephus, you mean that Cephus man? One of the smartest where? You see how he just spoiling the law? He’s misquoting the law and this thing, he’s one of the country devils that Oppong … dress up and brought to Monrovia and dancing around,” she said last Thursday in a live interview with local broadcaster Prime FM.

“Look how the people losing good cases,” she said in response to suggestion that Cllr. Cephus is seen as one of the smartest lawyers here, adding that they are losing cases because they got no business even carrying such cases to court and Cllr. Cephus got the Justice Ministry divided.

“If you take somebody who’s slow, who was not so smart, who took the legal profession as something as to go get money and don’t have that passion, compassion, if you put some of those people in position because of the county they come from or you can manipulate them, you expect them to be fast?” she asks.

However, Cllr. Bull says some of the judges here are good, naming Judge Peter Gbeneweleh and Judge Yami Quiqui Gbeisay who has just acquitted former officials of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) of charges of corruption.

Earlier the government lost a high profile case against former House Speaker Alex Tyler, incumbent Grand Cape Mount County Senator Cllr. Varney Sherman and several top officials accused by Global Witness of taking bribes to change Liberian laws to favor a British firm Sable Mining in a concession bid for Mount Wologisi in Lofa County.

The regime also lost another case against officials of the National Housing Authority who were accused of soliciting bribes from potential investors, among many other high profile cases.

Cllr. Bull’s criticism of the chief prosecutor comes as the CBL case becomes the latest high profile case President Weah’s administration has lost in its fight against corruption.

Last week Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay set free four former CBL officials held to account for alleged excess LD$2 billion plus because there is no scintilla of evidence that it ended up in their pockets, but he said they are guilty of unauthorized printing of LD$10 Billion.

The officials include former CBL Executive Governor Milton A. Weeks, former CBL Board Members David Fahart, Elsie Dossen Bardio and Kollie Tamba.

The government here indicted the former CBL officials including the bank’s Board of Governors, accusing them of printing and shipping to Liberia L$13,004,750,000.00 without authorization, and allegedly understating the printed amount as L$10,359,750,000.00, giving a variance of L$2,645,000,000.00.

However the court rules that from the analysis of these quantum of evidence, it is of the considered and informed opinion that the presidential investigative team’s (PIT’s) report was in error with reference to the mathematical calculation and its limitation to the parking list only.

Mr. Charles E. Sirleaf, the son of former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf, was initially among several CBL officials indicted by the government here in 2019 for their alleged roles in the misapplication of billions of Liberian Dollars printed and shipped to Liberia to replace old local currency.

Their indictment in 2019 followed a series of mass protests that led local and international institutions to investigate a claim that the money had gone missing.

However, when prosecution drew its last version of the indictment based on which this case has now ended, Mr. Sirleaf who served as Deputy CBL Governor for Operations when the financial scandal emerged at the bank was not included because he was nolleprosequi with prejudice in May this year.

Besides Mr. Sirleaf, the prosecution here also entered a nolleprosequi (dropped charges) in favor of defendants Richard H. Walker, Dorbor M. Hagba and Joseph Dennis.

By Winston W. Parley

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