The US$1.3 million criminal case filed by Ezzat Eid, former president of the World Lebanese Cultural Union of Liberia against two Lebanese businessmen, Salah Farhat and his son, Tamer, may not be heard during this November Term of Court due to Eid’s request to leave the country.
Hearing into the Eid’s request has been scheduled for Monday, December 23, but Eid has already left the country.
The court had earlier scheduled last Wednesday, December 18, for hearing during which time the Farhats would answer for the first time to their indictment. However, that did not happen due to Eid’s legal team’s request about his departure from the country.
Eid was also expected to take the witness stand on Wednesday to prove his case against the Farhats, who he alleged stole US$1.3 million from the coffers of the Toya Motors Company, where Salah served as managing partner, holding a 35 percent share, while Tamer served as the assistant managing director. Eid himself holds the remaining 65 percent share in the company.
Meanwhile, the Farhats have been mandated by Chamber Justice Yussif Kaba not to travel outside of Monrovia, pending the determination of the matter that is still in place.
Justice Kaba’s September 2, 2019, order said, “… that while the matter is pending, the Farhats are not to travel beyond the boundaries of the cities of Paynesville and Brewerville, Montserrado County.”
It further reads, “that the Farhats surrender their passports or all travel documents to the office of the Sheriff,” adding, “and that the Farhats report to the Sheriff on Friday at 2:00 p.m. each week, pending the determination of the matters.”
Justice Kaba warned, “Violation of any of the above constitutes bail jumping, and so the Farhats would be re-arrested.”
Now, with Eid having been granted excuse to travel, the case will not be heard very soon as mandated by Justice Kaba’s order because the November 2019 term of the Criminal Court ‘C’ is expected to end by January of 2020, and the next court term begins February 2020.
It can be recalled that Eid’s lawyers had admitted that they cannot continue with the matter because there is a defect in the indictment (charge) drawn against the Farhat.
The 25-count indictment was drawn based on a complaint filed by Ezzat Eid, based on which the government charged the Farhats with multiple crimes that include money laundering, theft of property, misapplication of entrusted property and criminal conspiracy.
Later, Eid’s lawyers, which include the government and the Sherman and Sherman Law Firm of Senator Varney Sherman, had earlier asked the court to exclude the charge of money laundering because the elements of that crime are not visible and present in the facts and circumstances of the case.
In their indictment, the prosecution claimed that between the periods of 2011 up to and including 2018, Salah Farhat and Eid were friends and members of the World Lebanese Cultural Union of Liberia and, when Eid served as president of the Union, Salah was a member of the organization’s executive committee.
During that period, the court’s record alleges that Eid visited China and developed an interest in the importation and selling of Chinese manufactured vehicles on the Liberian market.
Based upon the relationship coupled with Farhat’s experience in this line of business, Eid provided the funds to establish a partnership enterprise with the defendant, and they both established Toya Motors Liberia.
They agreed that Salah’s monthly remuneration for his services as managing partner of Toya Motors should be US$2,000, while his son Tamer, who assisted his father in the running of the business would receive US$1,000 monthly.
Contrary to the agreement between the partners of Toya Motors, the document alleges that from February 1, 2016, up to and including February 28, 2018, the defendants increased their monthly salaries to US$5,000 without the knowledge and approval of the greater shareholder, Eid.
Eid also claimed that the Farhats were involved in several other fraudulent activities that cost the company to lose US$1.3 million
He further alleges that Salah used his company’s money to establish another company named Cedar Motors Inc. that is currently engaged in the importation, sale, and distribution of Chinese-manufactured vehicles in the country.
However, the Farhats had so far denied the allegation and are currently placed on a US$3.5 million bond by the American Underwriters Group (AUG), though there was a lot of controversy surrounding the bail, which was resolved by Justice Kaba’s mandate.