A request by state lawyers that the Court ignored a US$1.5 million bail-bond—secured on behalf of several former managers of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), on Tuesday, April 8,—and re-arrest them, was denied by Criminal Court ‘C’. That left the defendants ‘free to walk,’ pending final determination of the case by the Court.
The Prosecution had asked the court to set aside the US$1.5 million bail-bond issued and tendered by Medicare Insurance Company and the Insurance Company of Africa.
They argued that the bond was insufficient considering the more than US$13million allegedly stolen by the defendants from government; the Prosecution had asked that the bail be double the amount it had sued for.
Defense lawyers however pleaded that the Prosecution’s request be denied, relying on the Insurance Companies to ensure that the defendants appearance bond produced them in Court at the appointed time.
In the Court’s ruling, Judge Blamo Dixon declared: “The defendants’ bonds are hereby allowed and permitted, since their sureties have justified said bail- bond.
The bonds of the defendants shall stand or same shall be retained pending notice from the Court. It is hereby ordered.”
Judge Dixon further declared, “the two companies, Insurance Company of Africa and Medicare Insurance Company serving as sureties for the defendants promised that they will guarantee their day to day appearance in court pending final determination of the case.”
Quoting Article 21, Section (8), Sub-section one and two of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, the Criminal Court Judge said it provides that “All persons shall be bailable upon their personal recognizance or by sufficient sureties, depending upon the gravity of the charge.”
Judge Dixon added that: “excessive bail would not be allowed.”
He further ruled, “In view of the law controlling as found in Section 53.6 of the Civil Procedure Law and section 13.4 of the Criminal Procedure Law, the court is constrained to allow the bail bond of the defendants.”
Surprisingly, none of the government lawyers were seen in Court on Tuesday, when the Court ruled in connection with their request.
The former managers of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), including it managing director, Moses Wogbeh, were jointly indicted with multiple crimes: economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, forgery, or counterfeiting, obtaining, obstruction of government by public servant, etc., in connection with the much publicized Private Use Permits (PUPs) saga.
Following that, the indictment was served on them (defendants) and they were brought under the jurisdiction of the Court. They were subsequently detained at the Monrovia Central Prison, pending the filing of a bail-bond.