Prosecution Gets Back-Kick In CBL’s Missing Billion Bond Justification Motion
State prosecution in the motion for justification sureties got back-kick over the weekend.
Criminal court C ruled that the consolidated motion for justification of sureties filed by the defendants was hereby granted and the exception filed by state prosecutors challenging their bail bonds was denied.
The court observed that the total amount of bail bond proffered by the defendants was 1,149,319.88 which is far and beyond $ 13,000.00 required by section 13.2 of the Criminal Procedure Law in which the court said the bail bond proffered by the defendants is sufficient and adequate to release them from pre-trial detention, and also secure or guarantee their appearance before the court when required.
The sureties of the defendants are also legally qualified to secure the day to day appearance of the defendants before the court.
Co-defendants Milton A. Weeks filed a property evaluation bond for the sum of US 909, 319.88 to secure his release from pre-trial detention.
Defendants Weeks bond was secured by properties proffered by three sureties; namely Mr. Benoni W. Urey, who proffered his property located on police academy road with an assessed value of US 163,291.58 as evidenced by the LRA tax assessment; Madam Angelique G. Eupheme Weeks, 11 who also proffered her property located at 12th Adam Street, Congo Town, with the value of US 240,000.00 as per the LRA tax assessment; and Mr. Dewitt and Rhonda Vonballmoss who further proffered their property located in Congo Town with the assessed value of US 506,026.30 as per the tax assessment by the LRA.
The movant attached to his bond a title deed and two of the sureties in person of Mr. Benoni W. Urey and Mr. Dewitt and Rhonda Vonballmos ownership of their respective properties are traced to title deeds in their respective names as well as Madam Angelique G. Eupheme Weeks title deed to the property is a quitclaim deed issued in her favor by her mother.
Mr. Weeks also attached to his bond tax payment receipts and confirmatory letter issued by LRA in favor of the surety.
Court records showed that on March 5, 2019, co-defendant Charles E. Sirleaf, presented a criminal appearance bond proffered by the Accident and Causality Insurance company (ACICO) in the amount of US 60, 000.00, but then presiding Judge J. Boima Kontoe did not approve same because he needed time to review the said bond and co-defendant Sirleaf through his legal counsel, filed a motion before the court to admit him to bail on medical ground.
During the hearing of the bond justification, prosecution interposed no object, and the court granted him said bail with certain restricted and he was released from the Central prison and presiding Judge, subsequently approved his bond on March 8, 2019 and it was served prosecution the same day.
Court further said co-defendants Dorbor M. Hagba, Richard H. Walker and Joseph Dennis, filed their respective criminal appearance bonds in the amount of US 60,000.00 each, proffered by the Accident and Causality Insurance company (ACICO), as surety for the four co-defendants, which total the amount of US 240,000.00 and they attached to their respective bonds, insurance license, issued by the Central Bank of Liberia, certificate of business remigration from the Liberia business registry, tax clearance certificate, tax payment receipts, the Article of Amendment of the Accident and Causality insurance company and Bank statement.
The court approved the respective bonds of the four co-defendants and they were released from the Monrovia Central Prison.
State prosecution on March 14, 2019 filed a seven-count exception to the respective bail bonds filed by the defendants, challenging the tax clearance attached to the respective bonds of co-defendants Charles E. Sirleaf, Dorbor M. Hagba, Joseph Dennis and Richard Walker.
Prosecution also challenged the sufficiency and adequate of the bail bonds filed by the five defendants 3,5 and 6 are relevant and hereunder quoted for the benefit of the ruling follows which plaintiff says the law for securing a bond to release an accused person charged with economic sabotage has been grossly ignored and neglected by the court which the law requires that a person charged under sub-chapter ‘F’ shall be required to pose a cash bond in the amount equivalent to the amount charged, but shall not be less than the amount of fine of $10,000.00 as prescribed herein.
Reliance penal law chapter 15 Sub-chapter ‘F’ economic sabotage 15.86.
The plaintiff in the proceedings says that co-defendants Milton A. Weeks, Charles E. Sirleaf are charged with and indicted for economic sabotage which falls under the referenced sub-chapter of the penal law and the amounts charged in the indictment are $US 835,367.72 and L$2,465,000.00.
Accordingly, the bail bond to file to secure their release is US$835,367.72 and L$2,645,000.00 and not US$909.319.88 and 240,000.00 as filed by co-defendants Milton A. Weeks Charles E. Sirleaf, Dorbor M. Hagba, Richard H. Walker and Joseph Dennis respectively.
Hence, the inadequacy and insufficiency of the bonds for which same should be made adequate and sufficient or be ordered set aside by the court.
State prosecution in their argument said where restitution or fine is required at conviction for the commission of a crime which is the first-degree felony as in the instant case where gain has been realized by the defendant, the amount of fine or restitution is double the gain realized.
Plaintiff further that the amount of the bond therefore required for the defendants alternatively is US $ 1,670,736.44 (US $835,367.72*2) and L$5,290,000.00(L$2,645,000,000.00*2 and not what is filed.
Furthermore, co-defendant Milton A. Weeks through is legal counsel argued that in section 13.2 above, the required amount of the bail bond where restitution is required “shall be equal to the amount of the maximum fine which may be imposed upon conviction of the offense charged”.
In the instant case the crime charged is economic sabotage, among others , and the statue applicable to economic sabotage in respect of fine and restitution is chapter15,section 15.87 of the penal law, Liberia code of laws revised, title 26,p.835, which states as follows “A person tried and convicted under sub-chapter “F” shall be made to restitute the amount stolen and shall be fined an amount not less than $ US10,000.00 or be imprisoned for not less than ten years or both if the amount involved is 1,000.00.
Meanwhile, the Court stressed that the provision of the law which called for double the gain was since declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Liberia in the case Jammy Zuo vs Republic of Liberia as reported in 37LLR page 604(1994) insofar as it relates to the posting of a cash bond equivalent to the amount charged in the indictment for a person charged for the commission of the Crime of economic sabotage.
Hence, section 15.86 cited and relied on by the prosecution for the purpose of posting a bail bond is no longer in this republic.
Those who were charged and indicted for the crime of Economic sabotage, Criminal Conspiracy and Criminal facilitation are Milton A. Weeks former executive bank governor, Charles E. Sirleaf deputy governor for operation, Dorbor H. Hagba, director finance department, Richard H. Walker, director for operations and Joseph Dennis director internal audit all of the Central Bank of Liberia.