The Liberian government is proud of the growing independence of the judiciary and will do nothing to undermine the developing public confidence in its processes and actions.
At the Ministry of Information press briefing in Monrovia yesterday, Information Minister Lewis Brown said the government, including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is committed to ensuring that no one interferes in the running of the courts.
“Without commenting on the substantive issues before the court, and limiting ourselves to the public record, we draw attention to a ruling by His Honor Peter W. Gbenewelleh in the case Clemenceau B. Urey, Sr. versus the Republic of Liberia by and thru the Ministry of Justice, respondents, which grows out of the case of Republic of Liberia, plaintiff versus Clemenceau B. Urey, Sr., Others for the commission of the crimes of economic sabotage, bribery and criminal conspiracy,” he explained.
Sadly, of late, the public space has been inundated with wholly false and imaginary claims presented in defense of these charges especially by Mr. Urey that the President directed his action, and as such, acting as an agent, he should not be liable, Minister Brown said.
According to public records, said Brown, the courts have not just disagreed but also found this defense to be contradictory.
“The court also observes that the plea of the Movant is contradictory. On the one hand the Movant advances the argument that he is immune because he acted on instructions and on the other hand he argues that it was the Board’s decision but he did not vote,” Minister Brown pointed out.
“The court agrees with prosecution’s argument that co-defendants Urey and Kromah seek to set a precarious precedent in this case. That is to say, all that an indicted official or former official of Government needs to produce before a court when indicted is an affidavit executed by himself/herself that it was the President who instructed him to commit a crime without more, and he/she would expect the court to set his apart from other co-defendants merely because of this allegation without any showing of the instruction said to have been given,” Minister Brown explained.
He stated: “We draw attention to this to confirm two important facts. Firstly, that our legal system is alive and functioning. Secondly, to debunk media reports of alleged backroom deals between the Ministry of Justice and the defendants to interfere with and hijack the ongoing litigation.
“Accordingly, these reports are wrong and out of character with the democratic conduct of this government,” the Information Minister declared.