The courtroom of Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice was on Tuesday, January 21 scene of disbelief when Judge Nancy Sammy ordered the release of Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Patrick Sudue, minutes after Sudue was turned over to the authority of the court.
Sudue was allowed to leave the court, where he had been placed on a prisoner bench for several minutes, shortly after Solicitor General, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus, who accompanied Sudue, concluded a closed-door meeting with Judge Sammy, in the judge’s office.
Although the outcome of their discussion remained undisclosed, sources hinted the Daily Observer about the Solicitor General pleading with Judge Sammy to purge her writ of arrest against Sudue, on grounds that they were going to intervene to ensure the vehicles were turned over to the court. Upon which request, sources said, Judge Sammy released IG Sudue.
Hours after Sudue’s release and departure from the court, Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe surprisingly arrived on the scene, and was heard asking Cllr. Cephus outside of the courtroom about the status of the matter.
After Cephus briefed Nagbe, it was when Nagbe was openly heard asking Cephus, “Let us go and find Sudue at the headquarters for us to find out about the vehicles.”
Tuesday’s incident started when Judge Sammy issued a writ of arrest against Sudue, due to his continued disrespect to the authority of the Supreme Court’s mandate.
Unfortunately, on Monday, January 20, when the court’s officer went to serve the arrest warrant on Sudue at his office at the LNP headquarters, the court’s officers claimed that they were insulted by Sudue.
“Upon entering the office of Inspector General Sudue, we were received by his assistant and when we got there and explained to Sudue that we have a writ of arrest to serve on him, and he should kindly walk with us to the court, he got emotional, insulted us and told us to get out of his office,” the court officers said, explaining their ordeal to Judge Sammy through a written communication.
Additionally, the court’s officers said, thereafter, Sudue told them that he is a presidential appointee, as such, he was going to place a call to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) because he was not going to follow the court officers.
Though Sudue received a copy of the writ, he, according to the court’s officers, began insulting them and recommended that they communicate with the United States Embassy near Monrovia where he said the keys for the vehicles were located.
Judge Sammy had earlier held Sudue in contempt of the court, after the police Inspector General failed to show-up to produce seven (7) vehicles that were in his possession, based on a mandate of the Supreme Court.
The vehicles have been a subject of a criminal trial before the court, dating back to 2016 when the government raised an alarm that the cars were stolen from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the United States of America (USA) and shipped to Liberia by Armstrong Tony Campbell to Sheak K. Brown.
Upon that accusation, the government retrieved the stolen vehicles and subsequently charged Campbell and Brown with multiple crimes that included theft of property, economic sabotage, smuggling, criminal conspiracy, and facilitation.
Prior to the arrest of the vehicles by then, Sudue was not the Inspector General of the LNP; however, lawyers representing the legal interest of Campbell and Brown had told the court that shortly after Sudue ascended to the post of Inspector General, they personally delivered the keys of the vehicles to Sudue.
That revelation prompted Judge Sammy to summon Sudue to produce the keys to the vehicles, though Sudue, up to his surrender to the court, had failed to appear.
Interestingly, the jury had already exonerated Campbell and Brown of those charges levied against the pair by the government.