Drama occurred yesterday afternoon in the Criminal Court ‘C’ when defendant James Togba, who had been earlier released on bail, learned that he would be spending the night behind bars at the Monrovia Central Prison upon the instruction of Judge Blamo Dixon.
Judge Dixon’s action came immediately after state lawyers brought to the attention of the court that defendant Togba’s previous bail keeping him from going to jail had expired.
Togba is charged with misapplication of entrusted property in connection to the disappearance of US$54,570 from Korea Trading Corporation where he had worked.
The company which sells vehicles and spare parts is owned by a Korean businessman, Choi Hungchi.
It all started yesterday after Togba sat quietly in the docket behind his legal team, purposely to answer to his indictment for the first time since he was charged.
Before Judge Dixon could instruct his clerk to read the charge to him, the prosecution raised an objection and said the exercise should not go no because the criminal appearance bond, on which the court temporarily released defendant Togba from jail, had expired.
The defense team did not notice that the bond had expired and argued that the state was given a statutory period to challenge it, but failed to do when they asked the court to dismiss the case.
It was after the argument that Judge Dixon declared defendant Togba to file a valid bond either in cash, property valuation or insurance; or upon his failure to do so before the close of the day, he should be detained at the Monrovia Central Prison.
The Judge said that on August 20, this year, Togba’s legal team posted a bail, along with a tax clearance from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning with a 90-day expiration period.
“The 90 days commenced from August 20 up to November 20 which marked the expiration of the 90-day period for the validity of said bond,” Judge Dixon said.
“This means that defendant Togba does not have a bond before the court. The tax clearance at the ministry has a provision for a bond period of 90 to 360 days, which the defendant chose and paid for 90 days, and the case has not started yet, but the 90 days has expired so he has no bond before the court,” Judge Dixon clarified.
In his complaint, the Korean businessman alleged that Togba, while in the employ of his company, was responsible to manage car sales, spare parts, tires among others.
Togba, Mr. Hungchi further alleged, was also one of the signatories to his company’s account.
The Korean businessman further said that as a result of the Ebola Virus outbreak he left the country and unfortunately, upon his return to Liberia, he allegedly discovered that Togba had sold most of the vehicles and subsequently pocketed the proceeds.