In AFL $1.9 Million Case: Defendant’s Pressure Goes High

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Former Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai, Jr. and former Deputy Defense Minister for Administration, Joseph F. Johnson

Judge Gbeisay postpones hearing

Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay of Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice was forced on Monday, March 2 to suspend the much-waited testimonies of former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, after a medical report established that two of the co-defendants, Joseph Johnson, Deputy Minister for Administration and Nyumah Dorbor, Comptroller General, needed serious health attention.

In his postponement justification, Judge Gbeisay said, “For Dorbor, he seems to be a serious pressure patient despite the fact that he is to take the witness stand to testify is enough to carry his pressure up.”

“As much as this court wants to expeditiously handle this matter for the public interest and the end of justice, the postponement asked for on medical ground in favour of Dorbor and Johnson cannot be ignored by this court, and therefore, the request is hereby granted,” Gbeisay further ruled.

Samukai, together with Dorbor and Johnson, are being tried for misapplying  US$1.9 million that was said to have been withdrawn and used outside of the purpose for which the “Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) Pension Account” was established.

Johnson and Dorkor’s application to have them sought further medical care was seriously challenged by the government lawyers (prosecution), who contended that Samukai is in good health and, as such, he should take the witness stand to testify in the absence of his two co-defendants, which argument was later rejected by  Judge Gbeisay.

The account was established in 2009 as a compulsory contributory savings fund, which deducted salaries from all ranks of the AFL to serve as a supplementary pension benefit to provide assistance to wounded soldiers and to families of deceased soldiers, of which the defense lawyers’ request for postponement was accepted based on medical ground.

Further Gbeisay said, “Under the practice and procedures in our jurisdiction, the defendants were jointly charged and as such, the law does not permit the court to proceed with the testimony of one of them in the absence of the other two,” which argument was seriously resisted by the government lawyers (prosecution).

Though Gbeisay did not listen to the prosecution, their argument was that since Samukai who is in good health should take the witness stand to testify in the absence of the two defendants so that the medical issue does not delay further hearing of the case that actually want to see if the defendants can exonerate themselves from the accusation.

Despite the testimony of AFL’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Geraldine George that Samukai and his co-defendants did not use the money for their personal needs and that President George Weah assured them that he would pay back the expended amount, the prosecution continues to press for the defendants’ testimonies.

Gbeisay judgment further said, he was granting the medical report but with modification,” That the report coming from whatever medical institution should be submitted and signed by qualified and competent medical practitioners that would clearly state his or her signature qualification  and current license number.”

Again, the prosecution argued that the absence of  Dorbor and Johnson due to medical reasons cannot negate the qualification of Samukai to take the witness stand to testify.

“This is not a ground for this court to grant the application,” the government lawyers argued.

They further contended that if the defendants were to be allowed to testify on Monday, March 2, none of them would have been in the court to listen to the other defendants’ testimonies, therefore, the request to postpone the case on medical ground has no basis to be granted by Judge Gbeisay.

Samukai had repeatedly admitted to the payment transaction, arguing that said payment was made with the approval of then Commander-In-Chief of the AFL, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. However, the current government is now claiming that the transaction was far from the purpose of the account, named and styled: “Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) Pension Account” at Ecobank-Liberia.

Samukai had repeated that the decisions reached between former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and President George Manneh Weah, during series of meetings held together between January 13 and 17, 2018 and with the leadership of the AFL, was that the incoming government would refund all funds spent from the AFL Welfare Fund.

Samukai also argues that on January 17, 2018, President George Weah, then President-elect, held a meeting at his residence in Rehab, Paynesville, with him along with senior leadership of the AFL, where they discussed the outstanding issue of refund of the AFL Welfare Fund, and President Weah confirmed and reiterated in that meeting that he and Madam Sirleaf had met and discussed the situation and agreed to refund all money spent on the AFL from Welfare Fund during the passage of the 2018 budget.

Despite Samukai’s explanation and documentary evidence established between the former President Sirleaf and President Weah, that from the 2018 budget the government would refund the money, the prosecution is persistent in prosecuting the former Defense Minister and now requesting the AFL Generals to testify in the matter.

Author

  • Anthony Kokoi is a young Liberian sports writer who has an ever-growing passion for the development of the game of football (soccer) and other sports. For the past few years, he has been passionately engaged in reporting the developments of the game in the country. He is an associate member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL). He is a promoter of young talents. He also writes match reports and makes an analysis of Liberian Football.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Samukai, and his colleagues, motivated by their selfish monetary ends, established a compulsory contributory savings fund which deducted salaries from all ranks of the AFL, LYING TO THE SOLDIERS AND THE GOVERNMENT that the deduction was ”to serve as a supplementary pension benefit to provide assistance to wounded soldiers and to families of deceased soldiers”, WHEN THE INTENT of Samukai and his partners in crime was to ACTUALLY take the money for themselves.

    And this is the same Samukai who wants to be a lawmaker and not ”giving a damn” the torture and hardship he has inflicted on the poor soldiers and their poor families. What A HEINOUS CRIME, SHAME AND WICKEDNESS!!

  2. Ladies and gentlemen,
    The postponment of the AFL $1.9 million case is a complete joke. Just imagine this. A rich man or woman gets sick throughout his or her life. A poor person (whether man or woman) gets sick from time to time throughout his or her life. Okay. An illness is a sad fact of life. Everyone gets sick. We all have an agreement and an understanding about the fact that illness affects every human being irrespective of wealth, skin color or place of origin.

    Strange Development: In Liberia, defendants get sick when a case is about to be heard.

    When former Defense Minister Samukai was summoned to court last year in order for this particular embezzlement case to be heard, he requested permission to travel out of the country because of a prior engagement. Samukai’s request to travel was granted. Now, just in time for the identical case to be tried before the courts once again, it turns out that Samukai is not traveling anywhere, but rather the defendants who would have testified, became mysteriously sick. Judge Gbeisay who is not a medical doctor, adds to the mystery. Judge Gbeisay states in the second paragraph, that “For Dorbor, he seems to be a serious pressure patient”. How in the world does Judge Gbeisay know when some someone is afflicted with Blood Pressure? Next time around, the judge himself may get sick. If by God’s grace judge Gbeisay does not come down with the flu, maybe Samukai will obtain permission from the corrupt courts in order to travel to Jupiter on a broom. To Jupiter? Yes!

    The case is on the road to nowhere! The criminal justice system is badly rigged.

    Attention:
    If the Liberian people and my best friends don’t hold me back, I will step in the arena of politics in 2023! I don’t want to become a nuisance. But it’s getting downright bigoted in the motherland. I need your support. Some people will be unhappy because they know what will happen when I splash myself in the political rink. I can enter. I am fed up. Liberia must change. Right now.

    Peace.
    Have a great day.

    • Wow!

      Get angry, quickly too. What can I do to prick you more to join in the arena?
      You have just started reading about some of the heartbreaks? Then get ready to read about more.

      Oh God, how I would like to see my senior brother angry to join me on the campaign trail for Cummings ooooooooooooooooooh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Haut les Coeurs!

    • Mr. Hney, your observation is quite correct. But what about THE VERY CLEAR BIAS COMPLACENCY on the part of the reporter and the editor when they write and publish such falsehood, lopsidedness, unfairness, and inaccuracy as Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay ”WAS FORCED to suspend the much-waited testimonies of former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, after a medical report established that two of the co-defendants, Joseph Johnson, Deputy Minister for Administration and Nyumah Dorbor, Comptroller General, needed serious health attention.”

      Whenever you see reporters and editors siding so obsequiously with defendants, the editor and reporter have been bribed by the defendants to gain public sympathy, after they have bribed medical authorities to prepare such documents and probably also bribe the judge to also obsequiously not question such frivolous and fraudulent ”medical report”. Just as you hinted, accused or culprits with money or are big shots never need impromptu medical attention until they are to face prosecutorial justice.

      But if the reporter and editor could at the start of the case begin misleading the public that witnesses were ”vindicating” the accused, when the truth is that the witnesses were not and could not vindicate the accused, but were simply saying they could not tell ;;whether the accused misapplied the money for personal use or not”, this reporter and his editor, displaying the act and omission of a journalist who has been bribed is a child’s play for the reporter and editor.

  3. Ms. Witherspoon,
    I agree. The explicit biases of some reporters cannot be hidden regardless of how they try.

    Miss Witherspoon, I have tried my best to get you and your soul sister Kou Gontee to run for an elective office. I got no positive response from both of you. Well, I need your support. I may throw my hat in the pool of politics if things do not subside in Liberia. I am fed up to my throat.

    Peace

    • If ever Kou acquiesced to your demand and opted to run for an elective position in Nimba, I would get into the political arena to run against her. I would like to intellectually exchange with her on so many topics she grossly spews on this blog.

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