A decision on whether or not Associate Justice Philip A.Z. Banks should issue a Writ of Certiorari against Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay of Criminal Court ‘C’ will take place today – Friday, after arguments.
Judge Gbeisay presided over the suspended Global Witness alleged US$950,000 bribery case that involved several present and past government officials.
A Writ of Certiorari is a document which a losing party files with the Supreme Court asking it to review the decision of a lower court.
Global Witness report claimed that Sable Mining, a UK based mining company, gave its Liberian lawyer, Cllr. Varney G. Sherman, over US$950,000 to have certain government officials at the time, including ex-speaker J. Alex Tyler, change the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) Law, so that the Wologizi iron ore reserves would be given to the company without them submitting to a competitive bidding process.
Meanwhile, Judge Gbeisay has been re-assigned to the 9th Judicial Circuit Court in Margibi County.
The Judge had earlier denied prosecution’s request to have controversial and permanently marked e-mails and spreadsheets to be included as their oral and documentary evidences to be used against the defendants, including Senator Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County and former House Speaker Alex Tyler.
Gbeisay’s denial prompted prosecution to ask Justice Banks to review his (Gbeisay) judgment, which request the Justice in Chambers relied on to place a stay order on further hearing of the matter, pending the outcome of the argument he has scheduled for today.
The scenario started when Gbeisay declared that the spreadsheets and e-mails will be marked temporarily, pending the arrival of Heine van Niekerk, who is the key participant in the alleged e-mail exchanges, who prosecution listed as one of its witnesses, and had earlier assured that he would be in Liberia to testify.
Gbeisay’s stance was due to state lawyers claiming that the document contains e-mails between defendant Varney Sherman and Klaus Piprik with regards to co-defendant Alex Tyler demanding a payment of US$250,000.
The defense team argued that the conversation was based on hearsay and should not be marked permanently, unless the alleged author, van Niekerk, appears in court to authenticate the matter.
Prosecution had argued that the e-mails and spreadsheets were voluntarily given to the government investigative team by Heine van Niekerk, Sable Mining’s West Africa director, with whom co-defendant Sherman had the series of e-mail exchanges.
In support of the argument, prosecution claimed that their investigators obtained a notarized affidavit in which van Niekerk confirmed the contents of the e-mails, and said he gave the documents to the Liberian government under an immunity agreement.