Lawyers prosecuting the Global Witness alleged bribery case are ready to press for an indictment against International Bank Liberia Limited (IBLL) for allegedly tampering with some of its physical evidence – two checks in the amount of US$10,000 and US$75,000 respectively.
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is preparing to file the criminal charge of tampering with physical evidence to the Grand Jury for possible indictment of IBLL.
However, no potential timing for the filing of the criminal charge has been revealed, because prosecutors would first have to present evidence to the Grand Jury for the indictment.
To obtain an indictment, the grand jury would need to agree that the government has probable cause to believe that a law has been broken or that the IBLL’s attitude constitutes a criminal charge.
Sherman, who is the Liberian lawyer for Sable Mining, a UK based company, is accused in the report of presenting the US$10,000 check to co-defendants Richard Tolbert, then chairman of the National Investment Commission (NIC), and former House Speaker Alex Tyler.
The intent of the monies was to influence Tyler and several other defendants to change the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) Act to award the Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County to Sable without going through any competitive bidding exercise.
The plan to file the criminal charge comes after the bank recently admitted it had recovered the two checks – although it had initially sworn under oath that the checks were destroyed – when they appeared before Criminal Court C.
They later claimed that their failure to present the checks at the court’s request was due to “human error,” when the bank informed the court that the checks were missing.
The bank also said the checks in question were left in the vault of the bank’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Henry F. Saamoi, who at the time was out of Liberia seeking medical treatment. “We found the checks while checking his vault after he returned from his treatment,” the bank said.
When the checks were finally turned over to the court, the two names on them were not those of Alex Tyler and Richard Tolbert, but rather Rebecca Parker, a staff of the Sherman and Sherman Law Firm, and Cllr. Moses Paegar, also employee of the law firm.
This has resulted to the pending criminal probe as the prosecution claimed that the IBLL might have replaced the names and therefore the IBBL is the alleged mastermind behind the two missing checks: one marked CK 001760 in the amount of US$10,000, and dated June 23, 2010; and the other, CK001792 in the amount of US$75,000, dated August 25 of the same year.