Days after prosecution requested Criminal Court ‘C’ to set aside House Speaker Alex Tyler’s US$750,000 criminal appearance bond and subsequently send him to jail, prosecutors have now backed off. The decision to back off followed Tyler’s lawyers’ correcting the bond.
For defendant Richard Tolbert, his decision to secretly show-up on Friday, at Criminal Court ‘C’ where he is expected to stand trial for his alleged involvement in the Global Witness bribery scandal, was enough to save him from being arrested and jailed at the Monrovia Central Prison.
Tolbert, former head of National Investment Commission (NIC) was declared temporarily free man when his legal team posted a US$150,000 criminal appearance bond, which Judge Emery Paye accepted and approved of his going home, following hours of closed door negotiation.
Tolbert, together with Klaus Pipnek, who worked for Delta Mining Consolidated and Andrew Groves, a principal shareholder of Sable Mining, the UK based company at the center of the bribery scandal, was charged with economic sabotage, money laundering, criminal conspiracy, facilitation and solicitations.
Tolbert has denied the claim.
Tyler was also released immediately by Judge Emery Paye, shortly after he was arrested by court officers when his lawyers posted a US$750,000 bond set aside by the Sky Insurance Company.
Tyler is being tried based on the Global Witness report allegation that linked him and others to a syndicate to make provision in the PPCC law for the Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy to have the power to declare a concession area a non-bidding area, in order to award a concession agreement on the Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County to Sable Mining; which the defendants allegedly succeeded in doing.
He is charged with economic sabotage, criminal facilitation, conspiracy and solicitation among others, which he denied having any knowledge of committing.
Although Judge Paye released Tyler the indictee based on the bond, prosecution challenged the judge’s action on grounds that the bond lacks several legal requirements.
Noticing that they had filed the wrong bond, Tyler’s legal team quickly and under cover attached the missing documents from which prosecution based their challenge to the bond; thereby making it right under the law.
Documents that were missing from the Sky Insurance bond included articles of incorporation, business registration certificate, tax clearance, bank statement, among others.
When the bond was made right, Judge Paye, in his action to make Tyler temporarily a free man, explained that the defendant filed his criminal appearance bond, which secured his release pending the trial of the main case.
However, the Criminal Court judge said prosecutors did file an exception to the bond because it was insufficient. As such, he said the lawyers argued for it to be set aside as in keeping with law, thereby allowing the speaker to go to jail unless a new bond was filed.
But defendant Tyler, Judge Paye noted, after realizing that the prosecution was right for opposing his bond under the law, quickly made an attachment, meaning he ratified the leakages in his bond by showing that he has met up with the legal requirement of his bond.
It was following that ratification that prosecutors told the court that their examination of the bond and its attachments indicates that Tyler’s bond has satisfied the necessary requirement in keeping with the Supreme Court opinion.
“Based upon the submission and response from the prosecution,” Judge Paye declared, “This court, having closely examined the bond and the attachment as issued, is convinced to say that the criminal appearance bond filed by the defendant is now declared sufficient in fact and in law. Hence, this court hereby endorsed it.”