Judge Peter Gbeneweleh of Criminal Court C yesterday denied lawyers of Liberia Coca-Cola Bottling Company’s demand to cancel the testimony of Professor Dr. Rexson S. Sandy, a forensic expert and certified fraud examiner, in the ongoing UD$1.8 million theft case involving four former employees of the entity.
Dr. Rexson, who testified as the defense’s fifth witness, condemned the audit report of VOSCON, an accounting firm, which information government relied on to prosecute the defendants.
In his testimony, Dr Sandy, who is also a professor at the University of Liberia Graduate School, stated that the report contradicted ethical principles, because the investigation already confirmed that the nine individuals were guilty of the offense.
He also explained that the code of ethics prevents forensic auditors and fraud examiners from expressing any opinion as to whether or not any individual is guilty of an act.
It was that testimony state lawyers were pushing for Judge Gbeneweleh to cancel, arguing that, “prosecution said the witness, having been brought by the defendants or upon request of the court, his testimony should be stricken (cancelled) from the records of this court as there is no basis for his presence in this court to testify in the case.”
The prosecution has already cross-examined Dr. Sandy on several questions, during his testimony.
However, Judge Gbeneweleh in denying the request explained that, “Dr. Rexson, upon application of the defense team, was qualified by the court to testify as an expert witness. This court granted the submission for the witness to testify for the defendants without any objection made by the prosecutors.”
In other words, Judge Gbeneweleh said, “The prosecution did not object to the qualification of Dr. Sandy as expert witness for the defendants and this court qualified him to testify as expert witness for the defendants.”
Judge Gbeneweleh wondered why the prosecution should choose to file this request after they had cross examined the expert witness on his credentials as a professional forensic expert and fraud examiner.
“The prosecution requested the witness to produce some of his credentials for perusal, which the witness consented to and he produced said documents,” Judge Gbeneweleh said, justifying his action.
“Prosecution,” he added, “is required to continue with their cross examination of the expert witness and their request is irrelevant and immature as the expert witness was already qualified to testify on behalf of the defendants and he has given his personal opinion on the forensic audit report, which is before the court.”
Judge Gbeneweleh said “The court observed that the application made by the prosecution is intended to delay this case, therefore it is denied.”
Before Judge Gbeneweleh’s decision, the defense team asked the court to ignore the application and order the prosecution team to proceed with their cross examination of the expert witness who, according to them, was providing his opinion on the audit report that was cardinal to the case.
They furthered that the request has no basis in law, rather it is an emotional and sentimental response to the court’s ruling.