Global Witness’ Trial ‘Selective’

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The political leader of the All Liberia Party (ALP), Benoni Urey, yesterday described the indictment of House Speaker Alex Tyler as “selective justice.”

Mr. Urey’s comment comes in the wake of the ongoing rivalry among lawmakers of the House of Representative about the demand for the Speaker to recuse himself from presiding over legislative activities pending the outcome of the Global Witness bribery allegation against him (Speaker Tyler).

He defended his stance on the matter when he said there were several former and present public officials that are accused by the Global Witness report, but some of them, including one of the sons of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has yet to be indicted; something Mr. Urey believes was ‘selective justice.’

“Justice must be done for all and not just for a few group of people. This is not right, because it is the responsibility of government to uphold the constitution and rule of laws and not to institute selective justice,” Urey told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview.

Referring to the House situation, Mr. Urey informed Liberians to be cognizant that the ongoing confusion at the legislature was not about Speaker Tyler, “but it is about upholding the constitution and the rule of law.”

“They chose not to respect the constitution to get the two thirds majority votes that would have forced Tyler to recuse himself from presiding over legislative functions; this is not good for the country,” Urey frowned at the lawmakers’ process to have Tyler recuse himself as presiding officer of the House.

“This is why I am not going to support people calling for Speaker Tyler to recuse himself from legislative activities, because I would be undermining the constitution and the rule of law, of which I would swear to defend and protect, if I were to be elected president in 2017,” Urey said.

In its report, Global Witness alleged that in August 2010, Sable Mining, a UK-based mining company paid more than US$900,000 to some of the most powerful people in the country including Speaker Alex Tyler, some senators and other senior cabinet officials.

They claimed that the payment was contained in a cache of documents leaked to Global Witness including a spread sheet from the Sherman and Sherman Law Firm, headed by Senator Varney Sherman, who is also named in the report and subsequently indicted.

According to the report, thousands of United States dollars were spent on entertainment for the President’s son and chief of intelligence, Fombah Sirleaf.

“Sable Executive Heine van Niekerk, took him on an all expenses paid hunting trip to south Africa and kitted him out with gear, they shot four animals where Sable paid to have them stuffed, taxes invoices show,” the report indicted.

“Greaves was murdered”

On Harry Graves’ death, Urey remains of the opinion that Mr. Graves did not die from natural cause as claimed by the government.

Urey claimed that Graves death was mysterious, and if he were to be elected as president, he would re-open the case to commence fresh investigation.

“Graves, before his death, he told me lot of things, which made me to believe that he was murdered, he did not drown,” Urey claimed. “Greaves did not die from drowning, he was murdered and, you and I would get the real story very soon. Even before we all die, we will know what killed Greaves.”

On the morning of January 31, the lifeless body of Mr. Greaves was found on the beach behind the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Meanwhile police investigation together with the final report of the autopsy conducted on the body of Mr. Greaves on February 8, established that the cause of death is as a result of asphyxiation (deprived of oxygen) by salt water drowning.

“Therefore, the conclusion of police investigations and the autopsy report are also consistent with findings of the Special Investigating Team from the United States of America. The US team concluded that Mr. Greaves died by drowning,” the Information Ministry said in a statement recently.

The final, comprehensive report from the US Team has yet to be publicly released after performing their tests on the Greaves’ corpse.

Earlier this year, the US pathologists released a preliminary report, promising to submit a comprehensive report in due course. But, Deputy Information Minister Isaac Jackson told the Daily Observer that the US Team had submitted the full copy of their final report to the Ministry of Foreign

Affairs and that the matter was closed. Cllr. Betty Lamin Blamo, Solicitor General of the Republic of Liberia, told the Daily Observer later that said a copy of final report had been given to the family of the deceased.

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