Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court ‘C’ will shortly decide whether to deny or sustain a US$1.2million bail bond relied on to release from prison, three senior staffs, including former managing director of the Forestry Development Authorities (FDA), Moses Wogbeh.
If he denies the bond, he will order the defendants rearrested and remanded at the Monrovia Central Prison, where they will be awaiting their case.
Judge Dixon, on Thursday, March 27, did not announce any scheduled date for his decision.
Instead, he went on to say, “ruling in the matter will only be scheduled through a notice of assignment.”
His action comes after both prosecution and defense team rested final argument over “insufficiency” of the bond.
The men were charged with economic sabotage, criminal facilitation, forgery and obstruction of government functions for allegedly issuing 56 private use permits (licensed) to several logging companies amounting to US$6million.
Fortunately, they were temporarily released from the Monrovia Central Prison, after Medicare Insurance Company tendered US$1.2million bail- bond to assure their day-to-day appearance while the trial is pending.
However, prosecution disagreed with the US$1.2million bail-bond relied on by the company to release the defendants, arguing it does not correspond with the US$6million crime charged.
In counter argument on Thursday, a member of the defense team, Atty. Arthur T. Johnson explained that prosecution’s request was unconstitutional and Prosecution was interested only in keeping the accused in prison.
Arguing that: “accused persons shall be entitled to a bail-bond and sufficient surety, the Defense pointed out that ‘an excessive bond shall not be used as punishment against an accused person.’”
“This is what prosecution is doing: they are using an excessive bond to punish the defendants. They are only interesting in keeping them in prison,” Atty. Johnson insisted.
He wondered aloud: “How did they arrive at US$6million? What yard- stick do they use? What evidence lies in their possession to establish that the defendants did issued the 56 pup? Is it the result of a General Auditing Report?”
These concerned he did not answer.
“Instead,” Atty. Johnson maintained “bail is a matter of right, but increasing the bond is unconstitutional and should not be considered by the court.”
According to him, criminal history of committing offenses and bail-jumping (escaping while under bond) should be the basis upon which a person’s bond may be denied.
“In this case the defendants are people without any criminal records and they should remain under the bond pending the disposure of the matter.”
Prosecution, on the other hands, concurred with defense team, admitting “under the law an accused person is entitled to bail.”
“In the instance case, the US$1.2 million bond secured by Medicare is not sufficient,” adding “the company failed to produce evidence to establish that it possesses the asset or cash to cover the US$6million bond.”
In addition, “the company posted about 137 bonds including the US$6million bail bond in almost all of the courts in the country. It also admitted that they do not have the property value of US$6million.
“If they can’t provide the US$6million in cash or its equivalent in property value to cover the crime charged, then the bond should be set aside and the defendants remanded to the Monrovia Central Prison until they can make the bond sufficient.”