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US$1M case sparks noise

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Supreme Court of Liberia NDSeveral defendants among a total of ten, indicted for money laundering in the tone of over US One Million Dollars, appear to be triggering a complete drama between their counsels and the Criminal Court “C,” as some are yet to honor repeated court orders for appearance for trial.

Some counsels claimed they are not in personnel connection with the clients they are representing in the case; while another lawyer in person of Atty. Namee Gongour believes that his client, defendant Richard Gboyah, has already traveled on a “sick leave” without any excuse granted by the court.

On multiple charges of money laundering, theft of property, criminal conspiracy, forgery and criminal facilitation, ten persons, working for the First International Bank or FIB, were jointly indicted for allegedly conspiring in a fraudulent transaction that resulted to the loss of US$1,220,028.54 to the FIB between January 2012 and February 2013.

While the court continues to caution lawyers to ensure that their clients appear on Monday, September 7, the drama in the case is, notwithstanding, leading presiding Criminal Court “C” Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh to ordered a writ of contempt against the Jones and Jones Law Firm to answer why it should not be held in contempt for its failure to appear to represent the legal interest of co-defendant Benyan Dadzi on August 25.

At least five of the defendants – Jerman Tegli, Africanus Freeman, Robert Cummings, Victoria Yankubah and Aurelia Tamba, were in court yesterday; while the other five defendants – Benyan Dadzi, Angie Brooks, Kebbeh Kula Klark, Richard Gboyah and Ngadi Warity, did not appear yesterday in honor of the court’s order.

After a previous court order issued against the counsels on 31 August to ensure appearance of their clients Wednesday, September 2, Judge Gbeneweleh again issued another order yesterday for defendants Gboyah, Brooks and Klark’s counsels to get in contact with them to ensure their appearance on Monday, September 7.

Regarding the absence of co-defendants Kebbeh Kula Klark and Angie Brooks, their counsel – Atty. Melvis Grupee, said efforts have been made to reach them since the notice of assignment was received, but to no avail.

He informed the court further that representing the two defendants was not based on personal connection, but a Law Firm. Defendants Angie Brooks and Kebbeh Kulah Klark’s counsel went on to request the court to help inform the defendants and employ other means so that they come to court “since indeed counsel” has “failed” to bring them over to the court.

A counsel for one the defendants – Richard Gboyah, Atty. Namee Gongour, informed the court yesterday that his client took sick leave “without any excuse,” after his request for severance trial was denied. Defendant Gboyah’s lawyer said he since traveled and was “out of the bailiwick” of the court for an advanced medical treatment – an information that led presiding Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh to inquire from the counsel if it was a legal “justification” here that when a motion for severance is denied, the defendant can leave the bailiwick of the court without an excuse granted by the court. But defendant Gboyah’s lawyer said “No”, in response to the court’s question.

By Winston W. Parley – Editing by George Barpeen

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