Senator Wesseh Defends Brownie Samukai

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RiverGee County Senator Conmany B. Wesseh

River Gee County Senator, Conmany B. Wesseh, has described the Supreme Court’s ruling against former Defense Minister now senator-elect, Brownie Samukai of Lofa county as ‘Bad politics’ because the court failed to prove his crime.

The Supreme Court had earlier withheld ruling by Criminal Court ‘C’ with some modifications that Samukai should restitute the US$1,147,656.35 used from the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) pension money that he [Samukai] says was used on the orders of his boss, former President Sirleaf.  The Supreme Court went further to warn Samukai that if 50% of said amount cannot be paid in six months, he would be incarcerated until full payment is made. 

Samukai was convicted of crimes of theft of property, misuse of public money, and criminal conspiracy along with Joseph P. Johnson, former Deputy Defense Minister for Administration, and James Nyumah Dorkor, former comptroller of the Ministry of Defense.

In his quest to defend Samukai, Senator Wesseh said the Court only found Samukai guilty of a crime but failed to establish why he was convicted. “This decision is rather very unfortunate. I followed it very closely. There is nowhere that the Government has been able to prove or show that Samukai stole money, absolutely nothing it is but just speculative.”

Senator Wesseh is a member of the Unity Party that is also a part of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP). He is the second notable official of the CPP, after Mr. Benoni Urey, political leader of the All Liberian Party (ALP), to speak in defense of the Lofa County Senator-elect.

Both Urey and Senator Wesseh’s arguments are based on the fact that Samukai acted on the order of his boss, then-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, commander-in-Chief of the Army Forces of Liberia, to use the money in question for the welfare of the soldiers who were on peacekeeping missions in Mali.

Appearing on the Truth Breakfast Show (TBS) on Truth FM 96:1 on Thursday, March 11, 2021, Senator Wesseh said one of the charges against Samukai is the misuse of a public fund; which the River Gee Senator said is a misplaced judgment because the money does not belong to the public but is a private fund scheme that was not placed in government’s account.

He, like Urey, argued that before the former President could leave office, a consensus was reached with now President George Weah that the current government will inherit the debt owed the AFL, and President Weah’s administration through budgetary allotment has contributed US$460,000 towards this debt.

Senate Wesseh, recalling his time in the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration as Minister of State without Portfolio, said, “She took responsibility and I served in her office as Minister of state without portfolio, and part of those things we were dealing with were extra-economic and security issues. So I knew that the decision was taken by the government.”  

According to him, the Sirleaf government did not have the resources to take care of soldiers that were on a peacekeeping mission in Mali; therefore, when the need arose, Samukai was instructed by his boss to use the money.  

“He got instruction from the President of Liberia that there was some money available in a private account to quickly to deal with the problem of our soldiers in Mali, to deal with a problem of wounded soldiers to take them to the hospital because the government did not have the cash,” Senator Wesseh said.                 

Though efforts have been exerted by the Liberian Senate to ensure that Samukai gets the green light to be certificated, the Supreme court has maintained the prohibition filed against the certification of Samukai by the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), even though the same Supreme Court had given the greenlight earlier that Samukai can be certificated while he settles the payment.

The action of the Supreme Court to halt the certification of Brownie Samukai has created public outcry that many views are suggesting that instead of the high court being independent of the Executive, it is siding with it (Executive) to thwart the independence of the Judiciary on the dictate of the Executive.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Comanny Wisseh, the Supreme Court did not have to prove the crime of the convicted felon Brownie Samukai or anyone in such a case having been convicted by the criminal court. All the Supreme Court had to do (and which it did) was to review the verdict of the lower court and decide to reverse the verdict of the lower court or uphold the verdict of the lower court! And the Supreme Court upheld the verdict of the lower court. PERIOD! AND THE CASE CLOSED!

    • T. Nationalist; thanks! 😊👌It seems, the Senator doesn’t fully understand his duties. *When Liberia’s Lawmakers get elected, they should be given some sort of handbook or briefing to guide them; as they perform their duties. Absolutely! It’s necessary…

  2. Comanny Wisseh, it is sad that an individual like you would say that the Supreme Court failed to prove its crime. First, the Supreme Court has no crime with Brownie, it is the government that has a case and the government did prove her case before Criminal Court ‘C’ and the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the lower court.
    The Supreme Court of Liberia has upheld the lower court’s ruling against Senator-elect J. Brownie Samukai and two other co-appellants and sentenced them to two years in prison each for Misapplication of US$1.1 million intended for the Armed Forces of Liberia.
    Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay of Criminal Court ‘C’ in March 2020 ruled him and two of his co-defendants, Joseph P. Johnson, former Deputy Minister for Administration and James Nyumah Dorkor, former Comptroller of the Ministry of Defense guilty of the crimes of Theft of Property, Misuse of Public Money and Criminal Conspiracy and awarded them separate prison terms. Mr. Samukai was given a higher two-year prison sentence, while his co-defendants were given six months jail terms each but with a condition that their sentences shall be suspended if they all restitute the amount of US$1.1 million in question over a one-year period.
    Mr. Wesseh, how can you say that the Supreme Court failed to prove a crime. Stop this embrassment Mr. Wesseh, Mr. Samukai has embarrassed you people so so bad and all that you do is to shamelessly come to the public to defend him, what a shame on you to say such.

    • Mr. H.D. Johnson; thanks! 😊 Very-well said. The Senator have taken the wrong course of action. He should be reprimanded by his fellow [LAWMAKERS].

    • What proof have you got; that the “PRESIDENT” interfered with this matter. We’ve got to stop drawing conclusions; based strictly on assumptions and illusions. * Present your case with facts; not [FABRICATIONS].

  3. The duty of a [LAWMAKER] is to abide by the orders of the Supreme Court. Any challenge(s) to the court’s decision(s) should be left to legal scholars; such as the faculty of [LAW] and Liberia’s Bar Association. The Senator’s actions; to openly confront Liberia’s Supreme Court, can/should “NOT” be tolerated.

  4. I do not like to comment on legal matters because I somehow know the intricacies of the law and jurisprudential connotations. But I have questions for some commentators.

    – Can court decisions be left with legal scholars for interpretations?
    I am not a legal practitioner, but I don’t want to believe it is correct to say so, unless proven wrong. From our American-style democracy, I believe the last resort of any case in Liberia, like in the USA, is the Supreme Court.
    Legal scholars may comment court rulings to enlighten the public on the mobile of a decision. Their opinion can, in no way, affect the decision of the courts.

    – In the case of Samukai, has the Supreme Court ruled in his disfavor?
    The answer is NO! The Supreme has again, like in the case of Nwabudike, emitted an opinion based on rulings from Criminal Court C.
    The Supreme Court definitively rule in the last resort on any matter through consensus of its members or through the suffrage f its members. Has it been the case with Samukai’s? The answer is NO!

    The CDC government should stop its witch-hunt against Mr. Samukai. Weah was briefed on how the Armed Forces of Liberia’s money was spent when he (Weah) was president-elect. He promised to reimburse it and has partially done so. Why will it become a matter now when Samukai is running on the CPP ticket? Had he been elected on the CDC ticket, there was never going to be a qualm with his election.

    However, Mr. Freeman made an important point that I would like to reiterate. Indeed, our lawmakers should have a handbook or thorough regular briefings on the performance of their duties.
    Our lawmakers take on cases that do not arise from their prerogatives. Some are even overzealous to the point that I believe they do not know why they were elected.

    Empower government agencies, recruit qualified people (technocrats) to head them. Such people should be accountable to the executive branch.
    Cases in different agencies should only be referred to lawmakers for parliamentarian investigations when politically sensitive or based on reasonable and justified suspicion. What’s the hell our senators will convene the manager of APM Terminal to parliamentarian hearings for simple cases that could be investigated by the LRA?
    To have rotational celebration of July 26, do we need to bring such case before the parliamentarians? This is a political decision incumbent on the executive branch of government.

    Many matters brought to our houses are indeed laughable. Observe the USA or Ghana or Nigeria or Cote d’Ivoire. Cases that come before lawmakers are cases of grave consequences on the political or economic lifeblood of the country.
    Vote the right laws and stop being judges or the Ministry of Justice or Finance or Lands and Mines. They sometimes even substitute for the courts, why?

    Our dear lawmakers, think about how you can do your oversight job, coercing the GOL on how it can improve the livelihood of the people. Help the government in voting the rightful laws that can enable it to implement its economic agenda for the country. Stop being everywhere at all times when you should NOT!

    Mr Samukai should be left alone to serve his term as a duly elected senator of the people of Lofa. Stop the political vendetta!

  5. Mr. Defender,
    It’s not mandatory for you to make a comment on every issue that makes news headlines. In this particular case, you could have read the news without making a few of your biased statements. And so, based on what you’ve done, I would like to ask the following questions:

    (1). What evidence do you have when you say that the Weah government is on a “witch hunt” against the disgraced Lofa county Senator-elect, Brownie Samukai?
    And

    (2). You’ve stated bluntly that Weah was informed about Samukai’s mishandling of funds he managed during his tenure as the country’s Defense Minister.

    A. Who actually briefed Samukai.
    B. Also, were you present during the briefing process?
    C. If not, how do you know Sir?

  6. Senator Wisseh, crimes, elections and the law, which have the judicial providence?
    Why back wrongs for political points?

    Both judges of the lower court and the Supreme Court became convinced that the drawing in of the former president as a defense for Samukai was a political ploy.

    An administration is never run by verbal coordinations; hence, the president of the Republic of Liberia will communicate instructions to subordinates.

    Where is the communication from former president Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf instructing the Defense Minister to use the AFL funds for Peace Keeping Missions in Mali? Where is the evidence?

    That could have been a vital defense of Samukai; unfortunately, as a senator, you are setting a very bad precedent coaching and backing the commission of a crime.

  7. Bonjour Grand Frère, je te souhait un excellent weekend !

    My statements are not biased but objective analyses or criticisms. Permit me to be a little blunt: You (Hney) are rather biased in your statements. As long as it is CDC, no matter how ugly, you come up with supporting statements. Sometimes when the situation is indeed contemptible, you refrain from making comments or you try to divert attention from it by evoking something that has nothing to do with the argument.
    You tried this trick just 2 days ago, when you brought up about Cummings creating 100,000 jobs in 3 months. I knew what you were up to and so I did not reply to your diversionary tactic.

    I was not present when Samukai was briefed. But on this same blog sometimes last year, The Daily Observer carried an article on this case.
    According to this news article, Mr. Samukai was instructed by Ellen to withdraw the money to be used for peace keeping mission in Mali and to compensate a late Nigerian or Ghanaian General’s wife.
    When Weah was president-elect, she (Ellen) called him to brief him on the situation in the presence of the AFL General Z. According to the same article, Weah promised to reimburse the money.

    Sometimes last year, Weah had started playing political games with the AFL. Our army personnel had to walk into his office with boots before he could even proceed with down payment of the money.

    Having carefully followed such details of the unraveling of events, why should Mr. Samukai be brought to justice?
    I was therefore not there, I was informed by this news outlet. From analysis, there is something fishy about the Samukai’s case. There is either a witch hunt going on or a political vendetta in play, why? Maybe because Mr. Samukai refused to run on the CDC ticket.

    Political politics will come to an end in Liberia come January 2024!

  8. If stealing money is a criminal offense in Liberia, tell me who has clean hands…from the president down to the average government official?

  9. Like I said loudly before, let Samukai pay the 50%, and take his seat in the senate. Senator Wesseh and colleagues have oversight authority, which should be focused on fingering fiscal waste, to stop further blood loss of a inherited bleeding economy. Not to mention that a caper to convey cacophony of electoral authoritarianism sounds hypocritical from a Comanny Wesseh who got into the senate during the autocratic tenure of his wife’s (Iron lady) godmother.

  10. Having ”oversight authority” is one thing. And having ”oversight authority” with the required erudition, especially on statutory or constitutional understanding and interpretation IS ACTUALLY QUITE ANOTHER which is of course an aspect beyond the mental capability of some people as has

    (1) been made evident in the case of Nyonblee Kangar Lawrence, Darius Dillon, and now this Commany Wisseh who is ignorant of the criminal wrong of Brownie Samukai TO WHOM MONEY WAS ENTRUSTED, but

    (2) he Brownie Samukai fraudulently appropriated a portion of that money unto himself, when he was aware the money under the care of government is or was owned by widows, orphans.

    Commany Wisseh, for your education, when a person entrusted with anothers property or money fraudulently appropriates it, EMBEZZLEMENT occurs. Typically, embezzlement involves an official of government who steals money…EXACTLY what the convicted felon Brownie Samukai has done. Embezzlement IS NOT LARCENY because the wrongdoer does not physically take the property or the money from the physical possession of another, and it is not robbery because force or fear is or was not used.

    So, Commany, your reckless usage of the word ”STEAL” here is simply lackadaisical, since in fact, it has long been made convincingly clear that Samukai tried to ”jimmy” the books to cover his fraudulent conversion of the money to his own personal benefits and selfish desires and criminal greed.

  11. And this malum in se(evil in itself) or in fact malum prohibitum(evil prohibited by law) modus vivendi (”censorship of excluding other voices from the conversation”) on the part of these news outlets, is inter alia the most sickening aspect of these news outlets deleting or blocking comments which generally strip bare the naked lies and other disinformation disseminated by these very news outlets.

    They (eg. especially FPA and Liberianobserver, etc. etc.) may demonstrate some degree of honesty or professionalism by sticking to advertising to increase their sale of papers, or at least, remain campaigners for the highest bidders during campaigns.

  12. @#Mr. Moses; let the Honorable Former Defense Minister, Republic Of Liberia, Samukai understand. He is a “CONVICTED FELON”. As such, he doesn’t possess the proper credentials to serve the Liberian People as one their most senior [LAWMAKERS]. Hon.??? Samukai should have first of all cleared his integrity before jumping into the senatorial race. He very well knew; that he had such a problem. The fact that he was elected by who ever, does not necessarily mean that he is no longer a “CONVICTED FELON”. The High Court have already informed Hon??? Samukai; that an appeal is not acceptable. Sir; we’ve heard it many times over: “We may not like the [VERDICT] But, that’s High Court’s Decision.” We have to live by it. *This time, the gloves fit. There must be a “CONVICTION”.

    • Pardon typo. Sentence should read: He does not possess the proper credentials to serve as one of their most senior [LAWMAKERS].

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