A disagreement ensued on Thursday, December 3, in the courtroom of Criminal Court ‘A’ at the Temple of Justice over the failure of Judge Roosevelt Willie to have either Senate Secretary Nanborlor Singbeh or his lawyer present in the ongoing investigation to establish how Singbeh’s text messages and communications exchanges between him and several judges got to the public.
The drama started when Judge Willie invited British national Hans Armstrong whom Singbeh had accused of illegally obtaining the call logs from Judge Willie before sharing it to the public, the accusation Armstrong denied when he appeared before Willie’ s investigation.
Armstrong is the Attorney_ In- Fact of two Czech Republic brothers, Pavel and Martin Miloschewsky, who had accused their 30 percent partner, Singbeh, of misapplying about US$5,062,419.10 in both in cash and equipment transferred to Singbeh for the establishment of a Czech Republic owned company, MHM Eko Liberia Limited.
Before Armstrong’s testimony on Thursday, his lawyer, Cllr. James Kumeh, had argued about the absence of Singbeh and his legal team, which he claimed was unconstitutional and undermined the investigation.
Cllr. Kumeh also argued that it was Singbeh who had accused the judge and his client Armstrong of illegally obtaining information leading to the leaked call logs, on which basis Kumeh said that the presence of Singbeh was very much important to the investigation.
Cllr. Kumeh’s argument was referring to the part of the Constitution that gives criminal defendants the right to confront their accusers in court.
Despite Kumeh’s argument that is supported by Article 21 (h) of the 1986 Constitution, Judge Willie refused to the contention that Singbeh should have been part of the investigation so as to confront the accused, he, Willie and Armstrong.
Article 21(h) provides that “No person shall be held to answer for a capital or infamous crime except in cases of impeachment, cases arising in the Armed Forces and petty offenses, unless upon indictment by Grand Jury; and in all such cases, the accused shall have the right to a speedy, public and impartial trial by a jury of the vicinity, unless such person shall, with appropriate understanding, expressly waive the right to a jury trial. In all criminal cases, the accused shall have the right to be represented by counsel of his choice, to confront witnesses against him and to have a compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor. He shall not be compelled to furnish evidence against himself and he shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved beyond a reasonable doubt. No person shall be subject to double jeopardy.”
Justifying his denial of Kumeh’s argument for Singbeh’s appearance, Judge Willie said it is the court that was conducting the investigation and it has chosen to invite Armstrong to provide his knowledge about Singbeh’s accusation. Although, Singbeh’s contention has been that it is Judge Willie who had illegally obtained his call logs information and subsequently issued it to Armstrong, prompting Willie’s investigation, from which Singbeh was excluded.
Besides, Willie has publicly said that his investigation of Armstrong was based on a newspaper article published on November 24, 2020 in the Heritage Newspaper, where Singbeh held an interview linking Judge Willie and Armstrong to have illegally obtained his call logs.
The judges were presiding over multiple criminal charges that were before those courts against Singbeh, when the leaked call logs showed Singbeh’s conversations with the accused judges, though the judges involved had admitted to the communication exchanges with Singbeh.
It was based on the admittance of the judges that prompted Singbeh to file an official complaint before Chief Justice Francis Korkpor to investigate Judge Willie on grounds that the call logs originated from his court.