Judgment in FDA US$6m Case on Ice for 26

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Several persons, who turned up to listen to the final Judgment in the US$6m Private Use Permit (PUP) case involving some dismissed managers, among them the managing director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Moses Wogbeh, left the courtroom yesterday disappointed after they were informed by the sheriff that the case has been postponed indefinitely.
It was not clear what was responsible for the abrupt decision, but an office staff at Criminal Court ‘C,” hinted to the Daily Observer that the postponement was based on Judge Peter Gbeneweleh’s obligation to attend the July 26 Independence Day Celebration in Sinoe County.
Gbeneweleh is the Resident Circuit Judge of the County, and he is expected to receive the key to the newly constructed court house in the area, according to the source.
Coincidentally, the source said, Wogbeh, the main defendant in the trial, received news of his father’s death immediately after final arguments ended between the prosecution and the defense teams.
Judge Gbeneweleh had earlier set Tuesday, July 21, as the date for the final judgment.
Many of those who gathered at the court to hear the outcome of the case yesterday wondered whether the judge is allowed to postpone a judgment in order to attend Independence Day activities.
Some of them were also asking how long it would have taken for the judge to rule in the case before traveling to the Southeast for the dedicatory ceremony.
Others, obviously disappointed, said they were there to see the court vindicating their relatives of the charges levied against the defendents by the government.
Wogbeh along with four of his colleagues, including a senior Surveyor of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (MLME), were indicted in April 2010, for allegedly facilitating the wrongful issuance of up to 61 PUPs that authorized commercial logging operations on nearly 2.5 million hectares of farmland in the country.
They were charged with multiple crimes including economic sabotage, forgery, counterfeiting, criminal conspiracy and facilitation among others.
The defendants denied all the claims when each of them took the witness stand to exonerate themselves from the charges.

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