Criminal Court ‘C’ Judge at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay, yesterday declined to accept the request of Sable Mining and its executive director Andrew Groves to drop the charges against the company.
Yesterday, the government officials implicated in the Global Witness US$950,000 bribery scandal were expected to be tried in Criminal Court C.
Although the UK mining company and its executive director have not been served with copies of the indictment (charges), they, however, sought the court’s approval to dismiss the charges against them, something Judge Gbeisay refused to do.
Besides, the officials are not in the country and cannot be located anywhere by the Special Presidential Taskforce that is pressing for their prosecution.
However, supporting his decision, Gbeisay said “under the law, when a party or any individual is charged with a crime, such person must first be served with the indictment, and be brought under the jurisdiction of the court as evidence to show that the person has received and signed the document (indictment), as was done in the case of defendants Varney Sherman, Alex Tyler and others accused.”
Gbeisay continued: “Sable Mining and Groves have not been served with the writ of arrest. This means that they are not under the jurisdiction of the court…I will not listen to anyone or party who has not been brought under the court’s authority.”
He said that the court is not naive “for anyone to remain out of the bailiwick to file a request to be heard by the court. Therefore, the request is hereby denied,” Gbeisay declared.
The Presidential Taskforce charged the mining company and Groves with multiple crimes including bribery, economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, solicitation and facilitation.
Sable mining was said to have presented over US$950,000 to the company’s Liberian lawyer, Senator Varney Sherman, to bribe past and present public officials, including former Speaker Alex Tyler, to alter the Public Procurement Concession and Commission law in order to award the Wologizi Mountain in Lofa
County to Sable without going through competitive bidding.
Almost all of the other defendants excluding Sable and Groves have been arrested and subsequently served with a copy of their indictments (charges), although they are all out on bail.
Meanwhile, Judge Gbeisay has also refused to accept prosecution’s request to have the entire trial videotaped and televised around the world.