The failure of International Bank (IB) Liberia Limited to produce the financial transaction of defendant Cllr. Varney Sherman, Sable Mining’s Liberian lawyer, has landed the bank in trouble with Criminal Court ‘C,’ where Sherman and several other accused are being tried on multiple charges, including bribery.
IB is one of the eight banking institutions that the court authorized to produce the financial transactions of the defendants.
The bribery allegation came to light when the Global Witness alleged that it received leaked documents from Heines van Niekerk, an executive of Sable Mining, a UK-based mining company, that his entity gave defendant Sherman over US$950,000, which was allegedly transferred through the defendant’s account at the bank.
It is alleged that the intent of the money was to create a loophole in the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) Act to prevail upon some lawmakers, including former House Speaker Alex Tyler, to insert a provision that would make the Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County a non-bidding concession area. It was for that, it is alleged, that defendant Sherman managed to distribute the money among some of the accused.
The bank is yet to furnish the court with the financial transactions in spite of several communications demanding it to do so.
The bank’s refusal again yesterday prompted Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay to issue an order for the bank management to appear before the court today, Friday, March 24, after prosecution asked the court to ensure the bank does so.
Gbeisay did not disclose the court’s next action should the bank again fail to comply with his order.
According to judicial staff, the bank had earlier informed Gbeisay that all of its financial transactions with defendant Sherman were destroyed, after the defendant asked them to do so.
Prosecution’s action came while its second witness, Blamo Kofa of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, was testifying yesterday about defendant Sherman’s financial transactions with Sable Mining, which is at the center of the GW alleged bribery report.
In prosecution’s request, Cllr. Theophilus Gould argued that the remaining documentary evidences are essential for the conclusion of the testimony of prosecution’s second witness.
Gould added: “Therefore, we beg to have the matter rescheduled to Friday, March 24.”
That request was accepted by the defense team, who later said, “Our acceptance is in the spirit of cooperation and a speedy trial.”
In his response, Judge Gbeisay granted the request, noting that the submission made by the prosecution was supported by the practice and procedure in the country’s jurisdiction, to which the defense team also did not object.