Judge Dixon Approves Controversial US$3.5M Bail for 2 Lebanese Nationals

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Salah Farhat and his son Tamer, will be out of jail on a US$3.5 million bond with their passports seized, and a mandate to report to the court at least once a week.

Following repeated arrests and subsequent imprisonment of two Lebanese nationals, Salah Farhat and his son Tamer, both can now walk freely after Judge Blamo Dixon finally approved their US$3.5 million highly contested bail.

Judge Dixon’s decision on Tuesday, September 24, resulted from a mandate of Yussif D. Kaba, Associate Justice presiding in Chambers.

In that directive, Justice Kaba directed that, “You are hereby mandated to resume jurisdiction, have the criminal appearance insurance bond issued by the American Underwriters Group (AUG) approved and proceed in keeping with the parties’ stipulation for  voluntary discontinuance and in keeping with law,” adding: “As the alternative, writ issued has been ordered quashed by the Chamber of Justice.”

Kaba’s stipulation for voluntary discontinuance also reads, “That during the pendency of the matter, the petitioners’ (the Farhats) are not to travel beyond the boundaries of the cities of Paynesville and Brewerville within Montserrado County.”

It further says that the Farhats surrender their passports and/or all traveling documents to the office of the sheriff.

It added, “That the petitioners report to the office of the Sheriff on Friday, at 2:00 p.m. of each week, pending the determination of the criminal case and that violation of any of the above condition shall constitute bail jumping and grounds for the Farhats’ arrest.”

Justice Kaba again said that, should the petitioners obtain final approval of their criminal appearance bond by Judge Dixon, while this case is pending before said criminal court, then the travel and movement restriction imposed by this voluntary discontinuance shall be thereby abated and the petitioners shall be, thereafter, subjected only to applicable criminal procedure law under the circumstance of a valid criminal appearance bond.

Immediately after the reading of Justice Kaba’s directive, Judge Dixon noted, “The said case is hereby assigned for hearing on Friday, September 27, at 2: 00 p.m.”

The Farhats were accused of stealing US$1.3 million from the coffers of the Tayo Motors Company, where Salah served as managing partner and Tamer as the assistant managing director.

For that, Dixon set their bail to US$3.5 million.

Judge Dixon’s predecessor, Peter Gbeneweleh, earlier approved of the Farhats’ bond at the time — a US$3.5 million bail secured by American Underwriters Group (AUG), but that decision was challenged by the prosecutors, a decision Dixon reversed in favor of the plaintiff, Ezzat Eid.

Eid, through his legal team comprising the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Sherman and Sherman Law Firm, have demanded the US$3.5 million bail because, according to them, they feared that the defendants could raise any money less than the US$3.5 million to be freed from custody, and that they would flee from the country.

Judge Dixon later agreed with the prosecution and, on two occasions, remanded the Farhats at the Monrovia Central Prison for the unpaid US$3.5 million. It was, however, when the defense lawyers complained Judge Dixon’s action to Justice Kaba that led to the issuance of the directive.

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