-As government lawyers take Gbeneweleh to Supreme Court
Not being satisfied with the level of tutorial provided by Judge Peter Gbeneweleh of Criminal Court ‘C’ to government lawyers, the prosecution has filed a complaint before Justice Joseph Nagbe, Justice-in-Chamber of the Supreme Court, against Gbeneweleh.
Justice Nagbe heard the case on June 4, 2019, but has not emerged with a ruling.
Judge Gbeneweleh’s action was necessitated when he entertained prosecution’s argument that was intended to establish whether the bond posted to release the five present and past officials of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) was sufficient.
The bond for Milton A. weeks, former executive governor of the CBL, which was a properties valuation bond, was filed by Atty. Angelique G. Euphemia Weeks and Businessman Benoni Urey.
The bonds for the other four that include, Charles E. Sirleaf, deputy governor for operation, Dorbor M. Hagba, director finance department, Richard H. Walker, director for operations and Joseph Dennis, deputy director internal audit were filed by the Accident and Casualty Insurance Company of Liberia (ACICOL).
The five, including the Crane Currency, were charged with economic sabotage, criminal facilitation and criminal conspiracy in connection to the printing of the L$16Billion banknote. Crane was the printer of the Liberian dollar banknotes.
The drama ensued when a government lawyer was said to have misinterpreted the Act that created the CBL, particularly concerning the procedure regarding the issuance of bond by the ACICOL.
The state lawyers were claiming that the CBL was the regulator of insurance companies’ bond process in criminal cases throughout the country.
In his correction, Judge Gbeneweleh was heard saying “CBL is not the regulator of insurance services and you have to understand the insurance language. If you missed a sentence you would lose the meaning,” he said.
Gbeneweleh also corrected the lawyers when he asked them to go back to law school to learn about the insurance language, stressing that, “CBL is not the regulator and so do not mislead the court; and if I were not thinking I would have held you in contempt of court.”
Gbeneweleh’s decision was in response to a question the government lawyers asked about the court’s invitation to the CBL to appear and testify about the ACICOL’s financial status with the bank.
It can be recalled that the five CBL officials, who faced charges of economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and facilitation, were arrested on February 29, 2019, following the release of the Presidential Investigation Team (PIT) report into the alleged missing 16 billion Liberian banknotes printed by Crane Currency in Sweden.