Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice on Tuesday, July 28, issued a 24-hour ultimatum for Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean to produce the original copies of series of documents to support the defense team in the ongoing missing L$16 billion case that involves former members of the board of directors of the Central Bank of Liberia.
Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay had earlier ordered Minister Dean to appear before the court on Tuesday to produce the original copies of the documents that include Minister Dean’s January 10, 2020 communication to the Crane Currency, addressed to Mr. Peter Brown, acting commercial director Africa and the Middle East, relative to the Printing of the Liberian dollar banknotes that was captioned “Banknotes Printing,” as well as all documents that informed the content of the minister’s communication.
Others include the Crane Currency response to the presidential investigation team’s questions relative to the investigation of the alleged printing and importation of the controversial L$16 billion dollar banknotes by the authority of the central bank of Liberia, and the additional information, presentation and clarification provided the government by the Crane Currency’s printing of the banknotes that informed the government’s conclusion that Crane Currency has not committed any crime either as a principal or as an accessory and the subsequent decision of the government to drop all of its charges against the Crane Currency.
Crane Currency is alleged to have been the currency printing company based in Sweden that printed the contentious L$16 billion banknotes of which the government is claiming that the former CBL officials misapplied.
It all started when Minister Dean, who the court had earlier informed to bring along with him the original copies of these documents, could not provide them when asked. Minister Dean’s negative response prompted Judge Gbeisay to issue the 24-hour ultimatum stressing, “Minister Dean, failure to produce the original copies of the documents for which you were subpoenaed without giving any reason why, in the mind of the court, is a challenge to the court order.” Judge Gbeisay further ordered that Minister Dean’s refusal to produce the original copies of the documents which he was mandated to do was a sufficient reason to have the minister held in contempt of court.
Therefore, Judge Gbeisay said, the application made earlier by the defense team to have Minister Dean held in contempt of court is granted. “The court shall from now on suspend the contempt of court and order the Minister to return to his office to produce the original copies of the documents on Wednesday, July 29,” Judge Gbeisay warned, adding: “Failure to this on the part of the Minister will lead the court to have the Minister held in contempt of court for refusal to comply with the order.”
Judge Gbeisay also agreed with the defense lawyers that the contested document that bears the signature of Minister Dean is a relevant piece of evidence of the defendants and should be treated with caution. Initially, the defense team had asked Judge Gbeisay to declare Minister Dean, who by then was their key witness, a hostile witness for his unresponsive attitude towards the production of the key documentary evidence, but that request was rejected by the judge. Again, the defense lawyers asked Judge Gbeisay to hold the Minister in contempt of court for his failure to comply with the court order, which request was this time granted by the judge.