BREAKING NEWS: The defendants in the CBL missing money case involving current and former officials of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), all of who were arrested and jailed on charges of economic sabotage and theft of property, were rearrested early this afternoon and are remanded at the Monrovia Central Prison.
The defendants, former Executive Governor Milton A. Weeks, former Deputy Governor for Operations, Charles Sirleaf, Dorbor M. Hagba, Director, Finance Department, Richard H. Walker, Director for Operations and Joseph Dennis, Deputy Director for internal audit, are being held on new charge: money laundering, for which they are now each required to file additional bonds.
The new indictment and charge raises a new case, separate from the existing case, which was supposed to begin today. The opening of the case was postponed for Thursday, August 22. As the defendants emerged from court, they were slapped the new charge and marched off to court.
Following his first arrest, Co-defendant Milton A. Weeks, former executive governor of the CBL, filed a property evaluation bond in the amount of US$909,319.88 to secure his release from pre-trial detention.
His bond was secured by properties secured by Mr. Benoni W. Urey, who owns property located on the Police Academy Road with an assessed value of US$163,291.58, as evidenced by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) tax assessment. Additionally, Atty. Angelique G. Eupheme Weeks and Mr. and Mrs. Dweitt von Ballmoos, with the values of their properties as US$240,000 and US$506,026.30, respectively, secured the bond for the former CBL Governor Weeks.
The first bond for Charles E. Sirleaf, deputy governor, was secured by the Accident and Casualty Insurance Company (ACICO) in the amount of US$60,000. However, Judge Boima Kontoe did not approve of it because, according to him, he needed time to review the said bond.
Later Sirleaf, through his legal counsel, filed a motion to admit him to bail on medical grounds, which request was not opposed by the prosecution.
Also, co-defendants, Dorbor M. Hagba, director, finance department, Richard H. Walker, director for operations and Joseph Dennis, deputy director for internal audit, had their initial bails secured by the same ACICO in the amount of US$240,000, meaning the insurance company paid the amount of US$60,000 for each of them.
Prosecutors want defendants jailed at all costs
Government’s lawyers have been craving a decision by Judge Gbeneweleh to set aside the bail bond filed to release the defendants and have them (defendants) rearrested, and subsequently detained at the Monrovia Central Prison until a proper bond is secured.
However, Judge Gbeneweleh’s dismissal of the prosecution’s motion prompted their appeal to Justice in-chambers, Joseph Nagbe charging that Judge Gbeneweleh had displayed bias against their client in his handling of the case.
Justice Korkpor, on Tuesday, August 6, communicated with Judge Gbeneweleh, instructing him to dispose of business before his court including the reading of Chambers Justice Nagbe’s ruling, denying the prosecution’s demand for Judge Gbeneweleh to recuse himself from hearing and determining the matter.
“All the bonds these men have filed are legal and sufficient for them to be released and for the case to proceed, which will be in about a week. These people are not flight risks. So it baffles us as to why the prosecution is bent on keeping them in jail,” a source close to one of the defendants.
This story will be updated as developments unfold.