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Crime & PunishmentPolitics News

Samukai ordered jailed!

By Lincoln G. Peters

The Supreme Court of Liberia has ordered the enforcement of a two-year jail term against the country’s former Defense Minister and now Lofa County Senator-elect Mr. Brownie Samukai and his two deputies in relation to their conviction for corruption.

The three officials were earlier ordered to restitute funds they were accused of misapplying or face jail terms, but the court has found that they have failed on the restitution order.

Samukai and his two former deputies, Mr. Joseph P. Johnson and Mr. Nyumah Borbor served during the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf regime and were convicted for misappropriating soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) personal pension saving funds and were asked to restitute the amount or face a jail sentence. 

Mr. Samukai was elected Senator of Lofa County during the 2020 senatorial election held across the 15 counties, but the Supreme Court has prevented him from being certificated or taking his seat at the Liberian Senate until he removed the liability imposed upon him by his conviction.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday, 27 January 2022 that Mr. Samukai having failed to comply with the mandate to pay 50% of the judgment sum in the [tune of] US$ 573,828.15 within the period of six months, has breached the conditions of the suspended sentence.

The court, therefore, revoked the suspension against the execution of his two-year jail term to now allow him to be put behind bars.

Reading the Court ruling, Associate Justice Sie – A – Nyene G. Yuoh said the convicts will now serve two years imprisonment and pay full judgment amount of US$ 1,147,656.35, less the amount already paid by them.

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“[Therefore], upon their failure to pay, they shall remain in prison until the balance is fully liquidated at the rate US$ 25. 00 per month,” Justice Yuoh said.

She maintained that the law provides that where criminal defendants are jointly adjudged guilty of a crime, they are together considered collectively responsible for any fine and/ or penalty until the judgment is fully satisfied.

Mr. Samukai made some efforts aimed at paying 50 percent of what he thought was his portion of the total judgment sum, but the Court says he and his two deputies were convicted together and so they have to pay the money collectively.

Justice Yuoh added that Circuit Court Judge A. Blamo Dixon improperly executed the mandate of the Supreme Court when he relied on the ruling of Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay which had been modified by the Court and apportioned the judgment amount of US$ 1,147,656.35 among the three respondents and ordered that each of them, including Samukai, pay his share of 50% of the Judgment sum.

The Circuit judge had calculated that to be US$ 191,276.05, but the Supreme Court says the judge is clearly in error.

Justice Yuoh further explained that given the clear language of the February 8, 2021 opinion and judgment of the Supreme Court regarding the joint liability of restituting the judgment amount, the payment by Co- respondent Samukai in the amount of US$191,276.05 cannot be considered compliance with the mandate of the Supreme Court.

“That a bill of information will lie to prevent the inferior court or officer thereof who attempted to execute the mandate of the Supreme Court in an improper manner; or to prevent anyone whosoever from interfering with the judgment or mandate of the court. Hence, this bill of information is the appropriate remedy where it is established that the trial court is improperly executing the mandate of the Supreme Court,”  she emphasized.

She also explained that the bill of information filed on August 18, 2021, by the respondent Samukai requesting for enlargement of time is a plea made in bad faith, as one cannot claim satisfaction or reparation and at the same time pray for time to comply.

She said the bill of information requested for enlargement of time has become moot.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/lofa-citizens-want-samukais-seat-declare-vacant/

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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