Hacked E-mails Claim Halts GW Case

-Defense and prosecution bitterly argue over exclusion, Criminal Court reserves ruling

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Cllr. and Mrs. Sherman

Heated arguments as to whether or not e-mails and spreadsheets obtained by Global Witness (GW) were illegally acquired and therefore be excluded from evidences that are expected to be used against several defendants, including former House Speaker Alex Tyler, were yesterday entertained by Criminal Court ‘C’.

Alex Tyler and Cllr. Pearl Brown

Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay is expected to decide on the matter next Monday.

The defense team had argued that email exchanges and spreadsheets between Sherman and Sherman Incorporated and Sable Mining were hacked by the prosecution to create evidence against their clients, which they claimed was illegal.

They also alleged that the process used to obtain the emails and spreadsheets was in violation of the rights of privacy and against illegal search and seizure.

Defense lawyer Moses Paegar argued that the prosecution said Global Witness collected those documents from Heine Van Niekerk, a South African and one time executive of Sable Mining in that country, where they went to investigate the matter.

“Under our laws, evidence gathered in such manner cannot be used against any defendant in this country, because it was collected from a foreign country, and under a foreign jurisdiction,” Cllr. Paegar stated. “Why [did they] not allow Niekerk to come to Liberia to testify, if they were interested in using his statements as evidence?” he asked.

“They claimed that former President Charles Taylor had in his possession over one billion United States dollars, but up to the present they have failed to produce the evidence against him,” Paegar reminded the court.

“Therefore,” Paegar said, “the documents must be excluded from other evidences.”

In counter argument, the prosecution claimed that the emails and spreadsheets were outstanding evidences to prove the guilt of the defendants, stressing, “Any attempt to refuse marking and admission will cause the defendants to go free of their criminal conducts that had undermined the integrity and credibility of Liberia nationally and internationally.”

The GW report alleged that the defendants received over US$950,000 in bribes from then Sable’s Liberian lawyer Cllr. Varney Sherman to change the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) Act that would have enabled the officials to award Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County to Sable without any competitive bidding process.

Prosecution also argued that the exclusionary doctrine is only applicable when the evidence had been illegally obtained, specifically, evidence obtained as a result of torture, “but no such evidence was obtained from a person of personal knowledge growing out of privileged conversation and business transaction who voluntarily gave such emails to prosecutors.”

“In this case,” the prosecutor said, “we obtained said emails and other business records from a recipient and participant in the email communications who transacted with co-defendant Sherman.”

The confusion erupted when prosecution’s first witness and Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission investigator Marc N. Kollie testified that they gathered credible information from emails and spreadsheets obtained from GW’s private investigator Paul Sullivan and Heine Van Niekerk, a senior staff of Sable Mining, the UK mining company, when they met during their investigation in that country.

“The email communication was documentary evidence obtained by the investigators as a means of the regular course of business transaction among the defendants,” prosecution’s resistance alleged, adding “it was Heine Van Niekerk who gave the emails subject to these proceedings to the investigators.”

Kollie said Niekerk also gave emails and other documents to private investigator Sullivan, “including business records of Liberia Iron Ore Investment,” a subsidiary of Sable Mining.

“Niekerk said he voluntarily turned over those documents to Sullivan to form cogent part of our resistance,” the prosecution said.

The documents alleged Sherman exchanged emails with the other co-defendants, including Sable Mining, to change the law and subsequently award the Wologizi Mountain to Sable Mining.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Wrong wording! That’s not HACKING. Hacking is similar to “WIRE TAPPING”; in order to gather informations illegally. The information was given by a person, with KNOWLEDGE pertaining to the MATTER.

  2. Henry Freeman, if you weren’t a robotic silliness one would have deemed it worthwhile to respond to such idiocy. Whatever your motivation , Henry, shame on you if a regime that impoverishes millions makes you a millionaire!

  3. They are using word to make themselves look important(Hack) Do you mean the prosecutor hacked your spreadsheets and emails? I think they were legally given to the prosecutors as part of the ongoing case

  4. Since EJS is spending millions of US dollars to prove that her party members were bribed with USD $950,000 to alter a law that was, in fact, not altered, she should order the Presidential Task Force to look into the Ellen Cruckum tapes to find out whether it is actually her voice enabling corruption. Because according to one of those tapes, she was heard instructing former CBL governor Dr Mill Jones to bribe the LP female senator with USD $5,000 for helping with his confirmation during the Senate hearing.

    Lest I forget, while the Presidential Task Force is at it, they might as well review the Musa Billiti case concerning millions of US dollars embezzled from the RIA refurbishment account. And may I remind them that there is no statute of limitation on theft of public money. Mind you, if we’re going to wage a successful war on corruption, we shouldn’t be selective, let it be total war to decapitate, and then vanquish the vampire.

    • Syl; you are absolutely off the record. This is about HACKING and nothing else. With all due respect to your superior knowledge, a grad. from Sierra Leone’s top University, Fourah Bay; a man with “SECURITY KNOWLEDGE”, give us your definitions of HACKING. The information(s) in question, was given by an individual; with knowledge of the Matter/Case. In a truth legal sense, the best the defense can do, is to call that individual to the witness stand and have him cross examined. Mind you! Global Witness have more proof than you imagine. It’s time to come to an acceptable compromise in this case. Corruption in Liberia’s Mining Industry is as old as the Mining Industry itself. The Senator and former speaker Tyler have already paid hefty prices for their mistakes. They’ve been Penny Wise and Pound Foolish; as they would say at “FOURAH BAY”. Manju; naa fuur de’? You need to take a vacation to Liberia. I’m going soon. Let’s go.

  5. We are talking about corruption, mind you. By the way, Schools don’t define us, Henry. it is how one grows what comes out of there which makes the difference.

  6. Lest I forget, Henry, the jury is still out whether Ivy league universities, Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, Sorbonne, et al, are places to produce superior intelligence, or superb connections in business, law, governments, international organizations, and so on. And from the performance of our Harvard economist EJS, I’m leaning to the latter.

  7. Syl; I’m wondering. Did the lady ever turn you down for a date? Why are you so focused… ? After all, before everything else, she was just another girl on the block. Come on Syl, tell the truth.

  8. Hacking in technology is the use of computer to gain unauthorized access to data from a system. The keyword Hack in this context is wrongly used by daily observer writer.

    Those documents were handed over willingly by Heine Van Niekerk to build a case against those accused.

    Secondly, Sable Mining is an international company that had it’s subsidiary company in Liberia. So why is Cllr. Moses Paygar crying wolf?

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