The Supreme Court yesterday did not give any assurance that it will mandate Criminal Court ‘C’ to resume jurisdiction over the Sable Mining alleged US$950,000 bribery case involving several past and present public officials, including former House Speaker Alex Tyler of Bomi County.
The court, meanwhile, informed both the defense and prosecution that its present focus is on cases that may arise from elections-related irregularities during the conduct of the October 10 presidential and legislative elections, instead of criminal cases such as the Sable Mining case.
“We are going to concentrate on cases that would come from the ongoing electoral process for now, but not criminal matters,” the court said yesterday.
Yesterday’s argument into the Sable Mining case resulted from a petition for a Writ of Certiorari filed against then Criminal Court ‘C’ Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay’s stance not to accept prosecution’s request to have the controversial emails and spreadsheets marked permanently to be included in their oral and documentary evidences.
A Writ of Certiorari is an order a higher court issues to review the decisions and proceedings of a lower court to determine if there were any irregularities.
In his stance, Judge Gbeisay declared that the spreadsheets and emails will be marked temporarily pending the arrival of Heine van Niekerk, who is the major participant in the alleged email exchanges, and is listed by the prosecution as one of its witnesses.
Gbeisay’s judgment was “on the question of conversation referred in the emails between defendant Varney Sherman (Bomi County Senator) and Klaus Piprik with regards to codefendant Alex Tyler, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, demanding a payment of US$250,000 making reference to Tyler, a third party, in his absence as a true hearsay. But, said statement may be admitted into evidence, not necessarily for its truthfulness, but for the fact that such statement was made.”
Before yesterday’s hearing, prosecution was without two of its lead lawyers: Cllr. Theophilus Gould, who died earlier this year; and Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, head of the Presidential Taskforce and Minister of State without Portfolio who resigned his posts to vie for a representative seat in Grand Kru County.
In their argument, lead prosecution lawyer Daku Mulbah, County Attorney for Montserrado County, noted that Judge Gbeisay, without the defendants providing any evidence that the emails and spreadsheets presented by them as evidence were obtained through hacking or mere hearsay, ruled setting the coming of Heine van Niekerk, who gave the instruments to the prosecution, to testify in court as the precondition for the admission of the instruments into evidence.
Cllr. Mulbah further argued that the emails and spreadsheets were voluntarily given by Heine van Niekerk, Sable Mining executive for West Africa, to the Government of Liberia’s investigating team.
Co-defendant Sherman allegedly had the series of email exchanges with van Niekerk.