Andrew Grove and the Sable Mining Africa Limited (SMAL) both indicted by the grand jury of Montserrado County have filed a motion to dismiss the indictment against them, terming it as null and void and without effect.
Recently, the Special Presidential Taskforce, headed by Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa indicted several government officials, including House Speaker, Alex Tyler and Grand Cape Mount County Senator and former chairman of the ruling Unity Party (UP), Cllr. Varney Sherman, for alleged crimes ranging from bribery to criminal conspiracy, economic sabotage, criminal facilitation and solicitation.
According to court documents, Grove and SMAL in a 37-count motion said the court lacks jurisdiction over them and it does not have the power to exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction beyond the scope of its statutory powers.
Quoting part I of the New Penal Code of Liberia, under the title general provisions, which states, “that if the accused participates outside Liberia or the offense against the Laws of Liberia committed in whole or in part within Liberia or offense constitutes an attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit an offense within Liberia, jurisdiction is conferred upon Liberia by treaty under such condition.”
They said the indictment also alleges that they are based in London, Great Britain and criminally facilitated and collaborated with individuals for the alleged commission of the alleged crimes.
They argued that the allegations in the indictment insinuate that Andrew Grove and SMAL are residents or are based in London, Great Britain, which “is absolutely incorrect and groundless in that, while it is true that Mr. Grove is a British by nationality, and Sable Mining Africa Limited is an international corporation, none is a resident in London as erroneously claimed by the indictment.”
They said in another count such false allegations regarding their place of residence are further proofs that the indictment is nothing but mere speculations hatched by authors to unduly harass them. “Therefore, the indictment being product of falsehoods, it should be denied and dismissed,” they said.
They further argued that the issuance of the indictment and writ of arrest “is incredibly impulsive and groundless and should be denied and dismissed, because the statute creating the Criminal Court “C” does not automatically confer upon it general jurisdiction or the power to exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction, especially where the indictment alleges that they reside outside of Liberia and where there exists no extradition treaty between Liberia and their home country.
“There is a compelling documentary evidence to show that the claim upon which the Grand Jury’s indictment is based is groundless, because President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on August 20, 2010, apparently acting as head of government, wrote and submitted a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives to review the amended and restated version of the PPC (Public Procurement and Concessions) Act of 2006,” they stated.
Court documents said Andrew Grove is a natural person and an executive employee of Sable Mining Africa Limited and neither a resident of Liberia nor an employee of any corporation doing business or operating under the laws of Liberia.
Grove submitted that he has no dealing or interest whatsoever with business activities or officials in public service whether directly or indirectly and strongly rejects and denounces as grossly baseless any negative insinuations suggesting the commission of any crime or collusion for whatever actions or activities within Liberia.
Grove, the motion said, is not a resident of Liberia and has nothing to do with officials in public service in Liberia.
Sable Mining Africa Limited, the motion said, is a foreign corporation with no links with any official in public service whether directly or indirectly and categorically rejects and denounces any assertions from any source bordering on alleged collusion for the commission of any crimes within Liberia and, therefore, denounces the pretense of the issuance in absentia of a purported indictment against its corporate person, image and operations.