A day after Criminal Court ‘C’ arrested defendant Eugene Shannon, former Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy (MLME) named in the alleged Global Witness bribery scandal as Big Boy 1, another co-defendant, Senator Morris Saytumah of Bomi County, on Friday, January 6, quietly turned himself over to the jurisdiction of the same court.
Senator Saytumah and his legal team arrived at the court promptly at 8:00am on Friday to submit a US$125,000 criminal appearance bond, secured by the Omega Insurance Company, when the court served him the indictment containing his charges.
The bond now prevents Sen. Saytumah from any arrest or humiliation by any security agency, unless the document is challenged by the Special Presidential Taskforce prosecuting him and other defendants, or is proven to be defective.
Saytumah, who served as former Minister of State for Finance, Economic and Legal Affairs at the office of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, together with Shannon and Willie Belleh, also former chairman of the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC), have been indicted by the taskforce of committing multiple crimes.
Their crimes include economic sabotage, bribery, criminal conspiracy, facilitation and solicitation.
Meanwhile, defendant Belleh, according to latest information, is out of the country and, as a result, the court finds it difficult to have him arrested and served with the indictment.
While severing in the president’s office, Saytumah is alleged to have received US$50,000 as bribe from Sable Mining, a UK based mining company, through the company’s Liberian lawyer, Senator Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County.
According to the taskforce, The intent of the US$50,000 was for Sherman to get Saytumah’s approval to insert a provision into the revised PPCC Act giving the MLME the power to declare a concession area a “non-bidding area,” to the advantage of Sable Mining, which they had planned to give a concession agreement to for the Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County.
That ploy, the taskforce alleged, involved Shannon and his deputy minister Ernest C.B. Jones, Richard Tolbert, former chairman of National Investment Commission (NIC), and Belleh.
For that role, Saytumah allegedly received US$50,000, considered as “consultancy fee.”