Judge Threatens to Jail Absentee Insurance Managers

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Criminal Court ‘C,’ Judge Peter Gbeneweleh has threatened to arrest and detain the managers of Family Dollar Insurance Universal Service for a period of one month if they fail to appear in court again today. The management did not show up in court yesterday.
The company’s General Manager, Matthew Zaza, and his deputy, George Gbonmoin, who did not show up in court yesterday, recently secured a US$10,000 bond for three of the ten former employees of the First International Bank (FIB) accused of stealing US$4 million from their employer.
Their failure to appear prompted Judge Gbeneweleh to warn that “if the surety, Family Dollar Universal Insurance Service, fails to appear today to justify their criminal appearance bond, the court will have no alternative but to have the management arrested and detained in criminal contempt for a period of one month.”
He said the insurance company’s failure to appear in court yesterday morning after a regular notice of assignment was issued in that direction, is a clear indication that their defendants not only delayed the hearing of this case, but provoked the court to arrest the sureties in a criminal contempt proceeding, which he described as “willful and flagrant disrespect shown to the court.”
The insurance managers’ appearance was to enable them to provide clarity as to whether or not they have the financial capacity to post the bond for co-defendants Jermin Tegil, Africanus Freeman and Robert Cummings, which prosecution argued that they do not have the assets to do.
They were also expected to have agreed to take responsibility if the defendants were to jump bail, if their request was granted.
Judge Gbeneweleh said a surety of a bail bond that is challenged by the opposing party is required by law to justify or establish before a court its financial capacity to secure the bail to ensure the appearance of the defendants in a criminal proceeding whenever they are needed.
“This court will, however, have mercy so that the defendants and their legal counsel would know and believe that the court is not interested to arrest and detain any client or a surety except in extreme cases, where the court has no alternative but to compel the appearance of the defendants and the surety as provided by law,” he explained.
Before Judge Gbeneweleh’s decision, prosecution had argued that the request of the defendants was totally made in bad faith and intended to baffle and delay hearing into the matter.
They further argued that it was the behavior of the defense counsel to always create a situation and thereafter appear in court and ask for the case to be reassigned to prevent the case from progressing.
They, however, appealed to the court to produce what they considered as “the desired legal sound,” that will be heard clearly and loudly by both defense counsels and their surety that would compel them to proceed with the case.


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