A hearing that would determine the merits and demerits of a US$2million criminal appearance bond posted by Accident and Casualty Insurance Company (ACCICO) to prevent former Commence Minister Miatta Beyslow and former Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), Nelson Williams, and two other former government officials from going to jail, will take place today at Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice.
The proceeding will also afford ACCICO the opportunity to justify its bond, which government lawyers contend it lacks the legal right to post the bond.
Beyslow together with her alleged collaborators are indicted for their roles in the disappearance of over US$5.8million from the sale of the Japanese Oil Grant intended to improve social and economic development of the country.
They are facing charges of economic sabotage, misapplication of entrusted property, criminal conspiracy and facilitation and violation of the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC).
If what government lawyers are pushing were anything for the court to go by, then it would authorize a new bond or send them to jail, pending posting of a new one.
But, if the court denies government’s argument then the defendants would be subsequently arraigned before Judge Blamo Dixon to have the charges read to them in court.
In their exception to the bond, prosecution argued that the insurance company that is serving as surety for the defendants ‘bail bond has not shown to the satisfaction of the court any legal authority and or evidence that the company has the ability and capacity to do so.”
The prosecution further claimed that there is no statement of account(s) of ACCICO from any financial institution within the country and outside of Liberia attached to the bond to show evidence that it has the financial capacity to serve as surety as required under law.
“The company has filed several bail bonds to secure the release and appearance of many defendants within the country and those cases for which it secured the bail are still pending before various courts in Liberia,” the prosecution noted.
In their counter argument, defense lawyers said, their posting of US$2million bond meets the reasonable standard set by the Supreme Court, because the amount is clearly adequate and sufficient to secure the presence of the defendants as and when they are required by the court.
They further argued that the Supreme Court held that a certificate from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) in its capacity as the statutory regulation of insurance companies possesses assets within the Republic of Liberia sufficient to cover the obligation undertaken in the bond, exclusive of other bonds for which it is already serving as a surety, validate the bond.
According to the defense lawyers, the CBL issued them a certificate confirming Accident and Casualty Insurance Company (ACCICO) has assets in the country in excess of US$3 million and the bank considered that they have sufficient assets in Liberia to cover the criminal appearance bond of US$2million which it issued on behalf of the defendants.
They argued that the certificate from the CBL legally validates the defendants’ bond. They said, in compliance with the Insurance Act, ACCICO has submitted its audited financial statement for 2014 to the CBL, and it would also submit the audited financial statement for 2015 as mandated by the 2013 Insurance Act.
They denied that the company has stood surety for other bonds in cases which are still pending before the court and which may affect its ability to act as the defendants’ surety.
These are some of the legal arguments Judge Dixon will be hearing today and subsequently decide whether the bond is valid or not.