Defendants Duannah Siryon and Tugbeh C. Tugbeh, the suspended managing director and deputy director for administration of the National Housing Authority (NHA), respectively, may likely face difficulty if it were to be established that the US$92,000 bond filed were insufficient, and does not meet the requirement and standards of law as may be claimed by the prosecutors.
The bond, posted before Criminal Court ‘C’ by the Sky International Insurance Corporation, was intended to prevent Siryon and Tugbeh from going to jail, and to attend all required court appearances. However, if the bond were to prove defective, it means the court will set it aside until same is made adequately sufficient. However, the court is yet to say when it would hear arguments concerning the merit of the bond.
Siryon, Tugbeh and one Ambassador Augustine Weah, believed to be the chief executive officer of Guss Group of Companies, were indicted on multiple crimes that ranged from theft of property, economic sabotage, bribery, criminal conspiracy, and criminal solicitation for allegedly extorting US$92,000 from a man identified as Emmanuel Tapsoba, former coordinator for a Burkinabe company called GHLPAZ-IMMO, which has been in the country to construct over 5,000 housing units along the Roberts International Airport (RIA)/Monrovia Highway.
In the indictment, it further alleged that GELPAZ-IMMO through its Chief Executive Officer Alain Z. Zoungana, had expressed interest in the growth and development of the country through a proposal to construct over 5,000 housing units along the RIA/Monrovia Highway.
Shortly afterwards, prosecutors claimed Siryon was contacted through GHLPAZ-IMMO’s former coordinator, Tapsoba, regarding the company’s intention to build said structures in the country since Siryon was at the time managing director of the National Housing Authority (NHA).
The indictment further said between August 16, up to and including September 16, 2018, the defendants, with criminal intent, organized a scheme in which they extorted money from GHLPAZ-IMMO under the pretext of offering the contract.
Because of the scheme, the record said Tapsoba GHLPAZ-IMMO’s coordinator left Burkina Faso for Liberia with the amount of US$50,000 on September 23, 2018, for the purpose of bribing officials of the NHA to have them “soften the ground” for his company.
The indictment claimed that during the same period, an executive of the company, Benao Bazonon, traveled to Liberia from Burkina Faso along with one Urban Planner and Demographer, with an additional amount of US$42,000 and delivered the money to the company’s coordinator Tapsoba, who later reported sending money to Weah as part of the softening exercises.
Not being satisfied with the process, the document claimed that Tapsoba presented an amount of US$80,000 to Siryon when they both met at the Royal Grand Hotel to liaise with other government officials.
Immediately after Siryon received the money, the court’s record claimed, he invited Weah and gave him US$20,000 to be delivered to Siryon’s office the next working day, while the remaining US$60,000 was left in the possession of Siryon. It was claimed that Siryon divided the US$60,000 among some government officials.
Weah’s US$20,000, the record said, was distributed to the two other managing directors, Tugbeh and Roberts.
It was during the distribution of the money, the document claimed, that confusion broke out among the managers, leading to the discovery of the scheme.