In CBL Case: Weeks, Others Acquitted

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Ex-CBL Governor Milton A. Weeks (pictured), along with three board members of the CBL, were on trial for the illegal printing of the banknotes without proper authorization from the Legislature.

Criminal Court C Judge Yamie Gbeisay ruled that the state lawyers from the Ministry of Justice did not prove beyond all reasonable doubts that the defendants printed excess Liberian dollar banknotes without the authorization of the Legislature

Criminal Court C Judge Yamie Gbeisay has found former Milton Weeks and other ex-officials of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) not guilty on charges of economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, and criminal facilitation relating to the printing of the L$10 billion banknotes.

Ex-CBL Governor, Weeks along with three board members of the CBL, Elsie Dossen Badio, Kollie Gamba, and David Farhat, were on trial for the illegal printing of the banknotes in question after being indicted by the grand jury of Montserrado County.

‘Persecutors Fail to Present Enough Evidence’

However, Judge Gbeisay in his ruling said the state lawyers from the Ministry of Justice did not prove beyond all reasonable doubts that the defendants printed excess Liberian dollar banknotes without the authorization of the Legislature.

Judge Gbeisay’s ruling, which comes as a blow to President Weah quest to root out corruption, said the amount of Liberian dollars banknotes printed and sent to Liberia was double-checked and that the Presidential Investigative Team (PIT) did a poor job by erroneously concluding that L$2.645 billion –- a conclusion which resulted into the state charging the defendants for printing L$13 billion-plus, instead of L$ 10 billion as contracted.

Judge Gbeisay also added that the amount of Liberian dollars banknotes printed and sent to Liberia were double-checked and that the actual amount of banknotes printed and sent to the country was over L$15,506 billion. He added that the court could not find the defendants guilty of the printing of L$2.645 billion because the unauthorized printing by CBL is not a specific crime under the Liberian criminal law.

Ruling further, he said: “The defendants, having being found not guilty of the printing of L$2.645 billion, and the court has established that the unauthorized printing by CBL is not a specific crime under the Liberian criminal law; the charges of economic sabotage, fraud on the internal revenue, misuse of public money, prop or records, theft/illegal disbursement of public money, criminal conspiracy, criminal facilitation theft of property not being proven, the defendants are hereby adjudged not guilty; with the provision that they may be reprimanded under the Code of Conduct or the Legislature for the abuses of their offices. The defendants are hereby set at liberty and the Criminal appearance Bond ordered returned. The Writ of Ne Exeat Republica is hereby ordered revoked.”

Judge Gbeisay, in whose court the government has lost a number of cases for failure to produce enough evidence during cases, said there is no evidence that any of the monies was pocketed by any of the defendants.

“It is a well-calculated opinion of this court that from the analysis of evidence adduced at trial before this court, it is L$10 billion that was printed under the 2017 contract with an excess of 374,750,000, making a grand total of 10,345,750,000.00; and that there was no printing of an extra L$2.645 billion and that no such L$ 2.645 billion existed to be missing and or not accounted for, this court hereby declares.”

‘Gov’t participate in wrongful printing’

Judge Gbeisay further added that the government itself has acquiesced (complied) in the wrongful printing of the controversial L$10 billion dollars banknotes, and benefited substantially, thereby dropping the multiple charges against other previously accused ex-officials of the CBL, including Charles Sirleaf, former Deputy Governor of CBL.

Judge Gbeisay added that it is a known fact that the Liberian banknotes were printed, shipped to Liberia, and received by CBL and placed in official vaults of the bank before being infused into the economy openly and notoriously.

In the mind of the court, Gbeisay noted, the government itself has acquiesced in the wrongful printing of the enhanced notes and benefited substantially.

“Under the principle of acquiescing, when one benefits from an illegal act, he or she is stopped from repudiating his own act,” the criminal court judge said. “The government of Liberia is no exception to this rule because, in the court of justice, the government and any individual citizen are equal. In other words, the action of the government in receiving the money and infusing it in the economy, the government has ratified the wrongful act of the central bank Executive Governor and the Board of Governors, thereby erasing criminality, if any.”

According to Judge Gbeisay, in contract law, the need for ratification can arise in two ways: if the agent attempts to bind the principle despite lacking authority to do so; or if the principal authorizes the agent to make an agreement, but reserves the right to approve it.

In the instant case, the CBL, as an agent of the Government of Liberia, elected to authorize printing of Liberian banknotes and have it infused in the economy, which is being utilized today by the government.

“The said notes were brought to Liberia in billions openly in a clear view of the Executive and Legislative branches of the government and infused into the economy; which money is being utilized today by the government. In the considered opinion of the court and by law, the government action has ratified the wrongful or illegal printing of the Liberian dollars banknotes and, as such, it will be unfair, illegal, and not prudent to criminally punish those who printed the money,” he ruled.

Judge Gbeisay further added that the state should have reprimanded the ex-CBL officials by utilizing Section 15.1 of the code of conduct which, among other things, calls for seizure and forfeiture to the state of any property acquired from abuse of office.

Section 15.1 of the code of conduct state that: “sanctions for any breach of this code of conduct shall be those prescribed by the standing orders of the civil service or any other laws governing the public service; notwithstanding, depending on the gravity of the offense or misconduct, one or more of the following penalties may apply: a) dismissal; b) removal from office in public interest; c) reprimand; d) fine or making good of the loss or damage of public property/assets; e) demotion/reduction in rank; (f)seizure and forfeiture to the state of any property acquired from abuse of office; and g) interdiction/suspension from duty with half pay.”

”We reiterate that the CBL authority, including the Executive Governor and the board of governors, could be reprimanded civilly under the code of conduct for abusing their offices in the form of malfeasance or nonfeasance, since the prosecution sufficiently established and proved their guilt,” Judge Gbeisay ruled.

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.

17 COMMENTS

  1. The defendants were ALREADY INNOCENT in Liberia’s justice system b4 they were even tried. In the Guinness Book Records, Liberia and Sierra Leone are the world’s Number One Countries where justice is sold to the highest bidder. The issue of the $LB16b dollars has come to an end.

  2. SO FAR ONLY YOU FOREVER FOOLS WILL CONTINUE TO THINK CORRUPTION IS A CRIME IN LIBERIA. EVERY CORRUPTION CASE IN LIBERIA IS AUTOMATICALLY DEAD UPON ARRIVAL IN ANY COURT IN LIBERIA. THE ONLY REASON ANY CORRUPTION CASE IS HELD FOR SOMETIME IN ANY COURT IN LIBERIA IS TO GIVE AMPLE TIME FOR THE JUDGE AND ALL LAWYERS PARTICIPATING IN THE CASE TO EAT ENOUGH FROM THE DEFENDANT. WHEN THEY ARE DONE EATING FROM THE DEFENDANT, CASE CLOSE. CORRUPTION IS IN OUR DNA IN LIBERIA, THEREFORE, CORRUPTION IS NOT A CRIME AT ALL IN LIBERIA AND CORRUPTION WILL NEVER BE A CRIME IN LIBERIA YOU FOOLS. THERE ARE SO MANY MANY FOOLS LIVING IN PARADISE IN LIBERIA ON THE DAILY BASIS MY PEOPLE. (WATCH)

  3. What a mockery of justice and an encouragement, aiding, and abetting, of corruption and other financial crimes including counterfeiting, etc. etc. that while it is true the fundamental duty of courts, jurors, and judges, is to seek justice and not necessarily conviction, Gbeisay and his court have set a very nefarious precedence that “unauthorized printing by CBL, and by all implications unauthorized printing of money by others is not a specific crime ( fraud/official misconduct) under the Liberian criminal law!!!

  4. I don’t think the court ruling is mockery of our justice system. If this particular money was printed illegally,why then the government infused it into the economy. Logically the court ruling is clear. Another thing is if the whistleblower (journalist)had not alerted the public about missing $16billions, were we going to know about this money? The 53rd legislature which the current rulership was part of was responsible for this mess. They hurriedly worked under the cover of darkness to enrich themselves for the 2017 election year,thus using other people as scapegoats.

    • The court ruling is mockery of our justice system. The fact that the money was printed illegally, or unauthorized does not mean the government or any government should have not infused it into the economy, when indeed, despite the non-authorization, the money was not a counterfeit.

      And the government still had plans to or envisaged printing additional money. Look, according to the principle of procedural law viz the principle of economic costs:one should minimize the economic costs of procedures!!!

      Hence, it would have been a waste for the government to have rejected the printed money or sent it back only to have the government “go back” to waste money again for the printing of the very money.

      The most appropriate measure was to do exactly what the government did: infuse the money into the economy (since the gov had plans to still print additional money via legislative authorization) and of course prosecute those who carried out their financial criminal malfeasance in the unauthorized printing of the money.

      For again, in accordance with the principle of economic costs, it would have been senseless and foolish on the part of the government to send the money back when the money is not counterfeit and the very government had plans to print more money.

      But that does not mean the government should have not prosecuted those officials who in bad faith, printed the money so as to financially benefit themselves via their intentional, and reckless failure to perform their mandatory duties as required by law – which is legislative authorization!

  5. When will our powerful and tough talking Solicitor General in person of Cllr Sayma Syrenius Cephus win case as our lead prosecutor at the Ministry of Justice ?

  6. Obvious outcome!
    Justice was really served to those people who were mere actors or pawns.
    The culprits are there, at large, some at the helm of power, other out there roaming foreign capitals in exotic plans and luxurious vehicles.
    Continue to rob Liberia, God will one day rob you too of His salvation.

  7. Grandpa-Doe Mulbah, THE MAIN OR ACTUAL QUESTION IS: WHY WHY WHY is it that it is ONLY high profile indicted criminal suspects involved in billions or millions of dollars cases who are ALWAYS ACQUITTED By this Judge – Judge Yemie Gbeisay?

    I mean even when it is very clear that such high profile suspects are guilty as it was the case with Big Boy One and Big Boy Two Global Witness case, and now this CBL Board of Governors and the CBL Governor´s case in which they made an unauthorized and false document to benefit financially!!! WHY WHY WHY?

    This judge needs to be investigated., or at least watched very closely!!! Low profile suspects easily get the guilty verdict from him while high profile suspects effortlessly get the aquittal!.

    • WHY INVESTIGATE THE JUDGE WHEN CORRUPTION IS NEVER A CRIME AT ALL IN LIBERIA. ONLY LIBERIANS WHO ARE FOOLS FOREVER WILL CONTINUE TO THINK CORRUPTION IS CRIME IN LIBERIA. SO MANY MANY FOOLS ARE LIVING IN PARADISE IN LIBERIA ON THE DAILY BASIS MY PEOPLE. (WATCH)

  8. Former Governor Mills Jones who served as Governor of the Central Bank for years surprisingly kept quiet the whole while. If he truly loved Liberia, he should have thrown some light on the step by step procedure that the bank needed to follow in obtaining approval from the Legislature for the printing of currency. This could have helped educate our people. But the former Governor, for reasons best to himself remained mute during the entire exercise. This, in itself speaks volumes.

    • Keep poor Mill Jones out of this broad day robbery carried out by these five thieves and their accomplices and this judge who is now on public and international records as the most corrupt judge in Liberia.

      These five thieves have committed an official misconduct. An official misconduct under both the spirit of Liberian criminal law and American criminal law with which Liberia´s shares the identical jurisprudence is both a specific crime, and a general crime, whether under acts of mala prohibita (wrongful acts prohibited by law) and mala in se (acts inherently wrong and abusive in itself – eg official misconduct, etc. etc)

      Even if all former governors of the CBL including Mill Jones had “thrown some light on the step by step procedure that the bank needed to follow in obtaining approval from the Legislature for the printing of currency”, that would not have dissuaded these five thieves from carrying out their official misconduct!

      Nor would have such intervention by all former governors of the CBL from the 1970´s to the present changed Judge Yamie Gbeisay from asking for and receiving bribe from these criminals; since he Gbeisay is aware that whatever his ruling is in this case, his ruling CANNOT BE APPEALED BY THE PROSECUTION as a result of the constitutional prohibition of double jeopardy of the defendant in a criminal case.

      JUDGE GBEISAY HAS FLOUTED all the relevant principles of criminal law in this case such as the principle of prevention which dictates that criminal acts should be prevented, the principle of denunciation decreeing that a denunciatory effect in preventing criminal acts should be fostered!

      Or better still, the principle of voluntary conduct stipulating that only voluntary conduct should be criminal .. as is the case with these CBL officials who, without any duress, voluntary prepared a false, fraudulent, and extremely fake and unauthorized illegal and unconstitutional document to financially benefit themselves!

      This Judge´s argument that “an unauthorized printing of money by the CBL is not a specific crime under Liberian criminal law” runs contrary to the spirit of Liberian law and its penal code which inter alia criminalises both acts of mala prohibita (wrongful acts prohibited by law) and mala in se (acts inherently wrong and abusive in itself – eg official misconduct, etc. etc)!

  9. The legal system in Liberia is so compromised I’m not sure it can successfully prosecute any white-collar criminal. Only poor criminals go to prison. Everything is fixed behind closed doors so what you see in public is for show. It’s like knowing the outcome of a movie before you even get to watch it. Haha

    • Yes, the legal system may be very corrupt, but the media system (THE PRESS) is worse and embarrassingly malodorous. Hence, if we were to choose between the two, we would choose the legal system despite its corrupt judges as the likes of Yamie Gbeisay.

      And the reason we may choose the judiciary is because besides some isolated lapses as is the case with Judge Gbeisay in the Big Boy nymber one and number two case and this CBL case the Judiciary in most cases demonstrate professional excellence, as opposed to the recklessness, outlandish lies, and disgraceful yellow journalism we witness 24/7/365 on the part of THE PRESS.

      What proves this is the fact now that just as the US/KROLL/FBI REPORT have proven, the court has implemented the peoples right to know by demonstrating that the US/KROLL/FBI REPORT was/is true and correct, and that Rodney Sieh and his accomplices had actually misinformed the public simply to carry out their partisan political advocacy via yellow journalism!

  10. It was known from scratch that Weeks and his associates would be exonerated. The justice system of our country takes the blame. There shouldn’t be any surprises. In fact, that’s how the system was before Weah became president.

    Suspicion……..
    In my opinion, corruption does not only exist in the justice system of Liberia. I strongly suspect that corruption exists in the blood veins of some commenters who operate on this blog. Some commenters are so corrupt, that they operate under two or three names. I understand if a commenter operates under one name. But when it gets to operating under two more names, extreme corruption exists.

    Liberians will be okay one of these days. I hope soon. We as a people must work cooperatively and respectfully together in order to achieve that goal. Obviously, there are too many politicians out there. But sadly, some of them have a cloudy stinky record. I hope that no corrupt politician will sweet-mouth the people of Liberia into the Lower and Upper Houses of Liberia or even the presidency.

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