Did County Attorney Martins Authorize Defendant Singbeh to Manhandle Journalist?

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Weeks after the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) asked Montserrado County Attorney, Cllr. Ediwn Martins, to recuse (step aside) himself from the ongoing US$5,062,419.10 theft of property and economic sabotage case against Senate Secretary Nanborlor Singbeh, Cllr. Martins on Wednesday, October 7, showed-up at Criminal Court ‘C’ where he allegedly authorized Singbeh to publicly flog FrontPage Africa’s reporter, Augustine T. Tweh.

According to eyewitness, the incident happened when Journalist Tweh, who had gone to the court to follow-up on the matter, was violently attacked by Singbeh immediately after noticing that he was photographed by the journalist.

According to court rules, journalists are not allowed to photograph or record anyone, be it a defendant or complainant, while inside the courtroom.

It all started when Singbeh had gone to the court in an attempt to answer to his indictment that accused him and several others of allegedly stealing over US$5 million that includes equipment shipped by two (2) Czech Republic investors, Pavel and Martin Miloschewsky for the establishment of a rock crushing company in Liberia, which did not happen according to the investors.

The money was transferred through the Ecobank Liberia and Afriland First Bank, which are also parties of interest in the case.

Yesterday’s hearing was intended for Singbeh and his co-defendants, which include his wife, to answer to the indictment that contained their charges.

Unfortunately, the case did not take place as was scheduled by Judge Dixon due to a request filed by the prosecution, asking the judge to postpone the matter to the next court’s term, which is expected to open in November.

It was after Singbeh and Martins left the courtroom that journalist Tweh chose to photograph the pair, leading to an attack on Tweh by Singbeh.

After the alleged attacked on journalist Tweh, Singbeh, with the instruction of the county attorney, seized the journalist’s camera, and they (Martins and Singbeh) demanded that Tweh delete Singbeh’s photo, a request that journalist Tweh rejected.

According to eyewitnesses, the journalist’s refusal to delete the photo, therefore, resulted in Singbeh, who was being escorted by a uniformed officer of the National Legislature, jumping on the journalist and taking away his camera.

It was during the tussle over the camera that led to the invention of some officers of Criminal Court ‘C’ to confiscate the camera to invite both Tweh and Singbeh to the office of Judge Blamo Dixon.

During the conference with Judge Dixon, Tweh said Martins requested the judge to have him (Tweh) to delete Singbeh’s photo without delay.

Shortly afterward, Judge Dixon instructed his clerk to have Singbeh’s photo deleted from Tweh’s camera, which accordingly the clerk did.

Tweh continued, “I am going to inform my office and we are going to complain County Attorney Martins to the Ministry of Justice.”

It can be recalled that on June 12, 2020, Cllr. Nyenati Tuan, then Acting Minister of Justice, wrote the Criminal Court ‘C’ informing the court about the recusal of Cllr. Frank Musa Dean, Jr., Minister/Attorney General of Liberia, Cllr. Saymah Syrenius Cephus, Solicitor General of Liberia, and Edwin K. Martins, Montserrado County Attorney, on grounds that they had earlier participated in the matter prior to occupying their respective public positions.

Tuan’s letter reads: “We present our compliments and write to inform you that by directives of Cllr. Frank Musa Dean, Jr., Minister/Attorney General of Liberia, that he (Cllr. Dean), Counselors Saymah Syrenius Cephus, Solicitor General of Liberia, and Edwin K. Martins, Montserrado County Attorney are recused from the above mention case: Republic of Liberia (Plaintiff); Crimes Economic Sabotage, Theft of Property, Criminal Conspiracy and Criminal Facilitation Vs. J. Nanborloh F. Singbeh. et. al (Defendants), which is now pending before the Honorable Court, their recusal is predicated upon the fact that these individuals represented the private prosecutors in private practice.”

It concludes, “Please note that representation of the case for the Government of Liberia will be made by Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh, Assistant Minister for Litigation, Ministry of Justice (MoJ), and Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, a retained lawyer of the private prosecutor who was given a letter of patent by the Ministry of Justice for the trial of the case and other prosecuting Attorneys of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).”

Author

  • Anthony Kokoi is a young Liberian sports writer who has an ever-growing passion for the development of the game of football (soccer) and other sports. For the past few years, he has been passionately engaged in reporting the developments of the game in the country. He is an associate member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL). He is a promoter of young talents. He also writes match reports and makes an analysis of Liberian Football.

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