Several days after the Fonati Koffa-led Special Presidential Taskforce named former Lands, Mines & Energy Minister Eugene Shannon as the alleged Big Boy 1, the taskforce has been finding it very difficult to collect necessary evidence to indict him, according to judicial sources yesterday.
The sources said the taskforce’s dilemma is because the majority of the documents produced to the courts do not meet evidentiary standards in a criminal trial.
They argued that evidence must rise to prove the allegation beyond reasonable doubt in a criminal trial, which the taskforce is yet to provide to ensure successful prosecution.
The disclosure comes after the Koffa taskforce presented volumes of paperwork to Criminal Court ‘C’ in compliance with Judge Yamie Gbeisay’s order, granting defense lawyers’ motion to receive and review evidence implicating former House Speaker Alex Tyler. “The Fonati Koffa-led taskforce is drowning in lack of credible evidence despite spending thousands of Liberian tax payers’ dollars traveling to South Africa and the United States,” a source added.
After preliminary review of the evidence shared by the Presidential Taskforce, Judge Gbeisay is reported to be having difficulty separating fact from hearsay, which is mostly not admissible in a court of law.
The taskforce presented newspaper clippings and minor reports that were already in the public domain and even the Global Witness (GW) report when in fact the authors of the report provided a disclaimer that the report cannot be used as evidence.
“And in the midst of the lack of credible evidence, the Koffa Taskforce seems to be succumbing to a game of political selectivity,” sources said.
To date, no indictments have been issued for National Security Agency Director Fombah Sirleaf; Eugene Shannon (who was the Minister of Lands, Mines & Energy at the time of the alleged payment), who the taskforce believes is Big Boy 1; Bomi County Senator Morris Saytumah and Willie Belleh, who was the head of the Public Procurement & Concessions Commission (PPCC) during the Sable Mining’s alleged attempt to change the PPCC Act.
They were also accused of having received thousands of United States dollars to influence the performance of their fiduciary responsibilities. However, the taskforce has ironically asserted that ‘it has not secured adequate evidence’ to produce indictments.
This has left many to wonder whether the trial is really a fight against corruption or a judicial lynching of certain politicians.
“If the taskforce cannot convince Judge Gbeisay on the admissibility and relevance of their ‘evidence,’ it goes without saying that the legal proceedings against ex-Speaker Tyler would have to be dismissed consistent with due process,” a judicial source said.