Cummings: “No Such Thing as Original Signed Framework”

Alexander B. Cummings, Political Leader, Alternative National Congress  

The Alternative National Congress has informed the Monrovia City Court that they do not have in their position any document called the defunct Collaborating Political Parties original framework. 

The ANC and its political leader, Alexander B. Cummings, along with his co-accused, Daniel Naatehn, and Atty. Aloysius Toe informed Stipendiary Magistrate Jomah Jallah of the Monrovia City Court that there is nothing like an "original" signed Framework Document" in response to a subpoena duces tecum from the court. 

In their response, the ANC noted that none of the defendants, singly or jointly or along with the representatives of the CPP, signed received, or have what is described as the "original signed Framework document of May 19, 2020". 

"Hence, we do not have the document described in the subpoena as to the 'original signed Framework document of May 19, 2020' because this document has never existed and does not exist," the response said. "Rather, the only signed Framework document is the one filed with NEC in July 2020, and a copy of which is attached to this communication."

Cummings is being sued by the Liberia government and the All Liberia Party of Benoni Urey, for forgery and criminal conspiracy, regarding the alleged tampering of the CPP framework agreement.

The court, earlier this month, issued a subpoena duces tecum on Cummings and co-defendant asking them to produce the original copy of the CPP framework after prosecutors’ request. 

However, in his ruling then, Magistrate Jallah stated that the document in question is a public document and not self-incriminating to any of the parties, as such, Cummings needs to turn over the instrument. 

While granting the prosecution request, Magistrate Jallah argued that that the document in question is a public document and not self-incriminating to any of the parties, as such, Cummings needs to turn over the instrument to kick-start litigation at the Court after pleading not guilty to the allegation of forgery and criminal conspiracy. 

“This court, therefore, holds and submits that the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination as provided for under Article 21(h) of the 1986 Constitution does not apply to business records, public documents, or political contracts that are normally executed by the parties’ own rules and regulations as they may deem fit. That said motion should be and the same is hereby granted as a matter of law,” Judge Jallah stressed. 

However, Cummings and his co-defendants, who has denied the charges took exception to Magistrate Jallah ruling and filed an appeal to Criminal Court ‘A’, which they lost and were ordered to produce a subpoenaed document listed by the prosecution as the primary evidence they intend to use in proving their charges against us.  

And after Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie's ruling, Cummings noted that “it sounds strange” that the Judge asked him and his co-defendants to “strangely and forcibly” produce evidence against themselves, particularly in a trial of this nature.  

He added then that despite the preponderance of legal citations, precedents and authorities provided to substantiate this right, including the clear and straightforward language of the 1986 Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, he and his co-defendants were surprised and disappointed by the incorrect and prejudicial ruling of the judge. 

But in a twist, Cummings, who intended to file an appeal to the Supreme Court, decided to respect the ruling and respond. 

"The only May 19, 2020 document we know of was signed symbolically via Zoom with each signing party in a separate location. This document was never actually, physically signed by the parties because before efforts could be advanced to get the wet ink signatures of all the political leaders and chairpersons of all the constituent parties on this document, there emerged irresistible public backlash about the content of the document," the response noted. 

The defendants however added that the controversy over the content of the unsigned May 19, 2020 document led to an immediate decision by the leaders of the CPP to have the document reviewed, revised, and amended by a team of lawyers whose revised version of the document was presented to the political leaders and relevant officers of all the parties on June 23, 2020. 

"It was this revised and amended document that was approved and signed by the parties, and filed with the National Elections Commission (NEC) in July 2020, whereupon the CPP was certificated by the NEC on August 14, 2020," they said.