Grand Cape Mount County Senator defendant H. Varney G. Sherman confirms here that he communicated with British mining firm Sable Mining, telling prosecutors that “we exchanged emails” on what “we were doing” for them as their lawyers.
Sen. Sherman, one of Liberia’s top lawyers faced cross examination with prosecutors Thursday, 4 July for his alleged role into claims that through his law offices his client Sable Mining bribed Liberian officials including lawmakers during former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s regime to change a concession law to favor the company.
Among several things, the prosecution says it is relying on some documentary evidences including spreadsheets and alleged email exchanges between defendant Sherman and the company, but the accused has since denounced the evidences submitted by the State as doctored and unauthentic.
Government drew the indictment against the defendants following a report by U.K. – based watchdog group Global Witness in 2016 titled: “The Deceivers,” claiming that Sable Mining paid bribes to Liberian officials totaling US$950,000 to insert Section 75 in the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) Act, providing for “non – bidding” process.
Sable Mining had interest in the Iron Ore deposits of Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County.
But during his cross examination Thursday, Sen. Sherman insists that these emails that Global Witness says were leaked to it were hacked and doctored emails.
Sherman testified that anyone who knows anything about technology knows that computer experts can hack into your email account and restructure its contents.
For that reason, the defendant says internet information is not admissible in court in other countries unless it is authenticated as genuine.
But he laments that unfortunately Liberia has no such law, narrating how the country’s evidence law has not been developed to address technology issues.
He continues that because the defendants challenged the emails as hacked and doctored emails, the Special Presidential Task Force tried to get Mr. Heine Jan Van Niekerk to come to Liberia to confirm that he and Cllr. Sherman had exchanged the alleged fake emails.
Sherman tells the Court that “genuine emails” have been tampered with, and indicates further that when Mr. Niekerk refused [to come to Liberia], the Task Force created an affidavit, the authenticity which the defendant challenges.
Sherman sounds astonished by how he got speedily indicted on May 24, 2016 just after Global Witness’ report that contained the allegations was published on May 11, 2016.
According to him his indictment was obtained based on the testimony of two witnesses including Mr. BlamoKoffa.
He narrates further that on June 6 that year, the second indictment against him was obtained, followed by the third indictment in January 2017.
However Sherman claims in his testimony that there is no evidence to corroborate the special presidential task force’s report which he argues is “really a repetition” of the Global Witness Report.
Additionally Sherman tells the Court that there is no computer forensic studying of these emails that he maintains were hacked and doctored.
Following the defendant’s testimony, State lawyer Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh announced that prosecution will produce rebuttals against defendant Sherman’s testimony.By Winston W. Parley