Liberia: Cllr. Livingstone Hits Back at County Atty. Sesay Over US$150K Saga

(L-r) County Attorney, Swahili Sesay and Cllr. Bobby Livingstone

Says Sesay collected US$3K from Prosecution’s funds despite denying that he didn’t get a cent 

A new revelation has emerged in the ongoing saga involving a reported misappropriation of US$150K by prosecutors of the Ministry of Justice. The funds were intended for the prosecution of the Charloe Musu murder trial. But Cllr. Swahilo Sesay, Montserrado County Attorney, accused MOJ prosecutors of misappropriating the funds.

The funds, Sesay revealed, were released by Comptroller Milton Gaye to former Solicitor General, Counselor Nyenati Tuan, with the intention of using it for transportation, accommodation, and other related expenses if the case were to be transferred outside of Monrovia.

However, as the transfer did not materialize, the lawyers were expected to refund a portion of the money. Sesay has specifically accused Counselors Bobby Livingstone, Adolphus Karmua, Aloysious Allison, and the Solicitor General of diverting the funds for personal use — and that he, Sesay, being the Attorney for Montserrado County, did not get a cent of the funds.

However, the accused prosecutors have strongly denied these allegations, deeming them baseless and untrue. They said funds provided for the prosecution of the case were used for the intended purposes.

One of the accused has gone further to hit back at their accuser (Sesay), presenting a new revelation into the saga.

Livingstone, who is the head of the Financial Crimes Unit at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), disclosed on Wednesday that Sesay’s claim of not receiving a cent of the money is far from true. He said the Montserrado County Attorney received US$3,000.00 of the funds.

“It is true he did not receive from the first distribution of the money because he was not yet appointed. But, during the second distribution, he received and signed for US$3,000.”

According to Livingstone, the actual amount given for the prosecution of the case is US$130K contrary to Sesay's accusation that the money is US$150,000.

Livingstone also claims that he received the total amount of US$6,000 from the money.

"This is a normal practice for the prosecution to receive funding for a case and distribute it to the lawyers who are prosecuting the case, Livingstone said, adding “We did not commit any crimes to use the prosecution fund as it was allowed by the ministry for the case. This practice is done with prosecution throughout the country".

When contacted, Sesay could admit or deny receiving the US$3,000. But he requested the journalists to go to the ministry and check out the listing of lawyers that received and signed for the prosecution funds. 

“Go to the ministry and check on the list for the names of people who received and signed for the money,” Sesay insisted. 

Meanwhile, Livingstone disclosed that Sesay’s accusation against the prosecutors comes from a communication between the Director of Human Resources and the officer in charge at the Ministry of Justice on grounds that his position, as a presidential appointee, is now nullified as a new government is now in charge.

In the letter dated February 8, 2024, Mr. Irwin Nimely asked, Sesay to refrain from acting as county attorney because the post is an appointment one. , those holding such a position should relinquish their post on January 22, 2024.

The letter to Sesay reads, “I present compliments and bring to your attention complaints received from various lawyers that you are continuing to make representations in court on behalf of the Government of Liberia.

It continues, “As you are aware, you were appointed by former President, George M. Weah, and by Law, you represent the interest of the Government; however, any negative results emanating from the cases you have disposed of might produce serious financial and legal implications for the institution.”

In conclusion, it advises, “view of the aforementioned, we kindly request that you refrain from making representations on behalf of the Ministry of Justice and turn over all government assets to my office, until your reappointment.”

Interestingly, a copy of the letter was forwarded to Cllr Livingstone, Cllr Elizabeth Nelson, and court administrator of the Supreme Court, and Cllr. Adolphus Karmua, president of the prosecution association.