The chairman of the ruling Unity Party, Cllr. Varney Sherman, yesterday told his supporters and the general public that he and his colleagues accused of collecting bribes from the British Sable Mining Company are innocent of the allegations.
Cllr. Sherman, who is also a Senator of Grand Cape Mount County, said the allegations levied against him and his fellow indictees lack evidence and any legal magnitude and that he is prepared to prove his innocence in Court.
“Let me tell all of you here that this case is now at the court and it is at the court we will do our best to fight to a logical conclusion.’’
Cllr. Sherman boasted of having some of Liberia’s best lawyers in his Sherman & Sherman Law Firm and assured his supporters of their ability to successfully and logically defend and carry him and his fellow indictees to victory.
He cautioned his supporters to distance themselves from any demonstration, be it public or quiet.
‘’As we await our own time to prove our innocence,’’ he told his supporters, ‘’let me advise you that demonstration is not the determiner of our victory tomorrow. Stay away from it and be calm.’’
The astute lawyer told the crowd in an analogy that “no one threatens a fish with water because water is the home of the fish”.
‘’I was born in the court,’’ he said, ‘’grew up in the court, practiced in the court, lived in the court and my success today is primarily attributed to the court. No one, therefore, can threaten me as a fish with water which in this case is the court.’’
He clarified to the audience that his intent of defence is accredited to the statement that he and his colleagues, including House Speaker J. Alex Tyler, have made, that they have committed no crime in the Republic of Liberia or anywhere else.
‘’We have committed no crime in this country or anywhere else,’’ he declared. Our lawyers shall defend me and my colleagues very vigorously,’’ he declared.
Senator Sherman explained that he is who he is today not because of politics but because he is a lawyer and called the court room his home.
‘’I am who I am,’’ he said, ‘’not because I am a politician but more so because I am a lawyer and the court room has been and continues to be my home.’’
He meanwhile questioned the action of the government in sending 25 police officers and a sheriff from the Court to arrest him, when, in the first place the case was not registered at the court. Senator Sherman promised to make them answer to legal questions in relation to their action, which he termed as unconstitutional.
He commended all those who appeared at the court and others whom he called true friends and promised to remain firm in his struggle to defeat his accusers.
For his part, the Secretary General of the ruling Unity Party, Mr. Wilmot Paye, said that the position of the party is that the rule of law was not followed by the government in its attempt to investigate the persons accused in the Global Witness Report.
‘’What we have insisted,” he said, “is the adherence to the rule of law. We are angry as a party on the barricading of the home of our national chairman and the offices of his law firm by the police without any credible instrument from the court.’’
The filing of the subpoena order, the issuance of the search and arrest warrants were all wrongly done.
According to the ruling party’s secretary general, fighting corruption is a cardinal platform introduced by the party to help government break the cages of corruption, bring to book those who receive no acquittal and prosecute them in accordance with the laws of the state.
‘’In 2011 we met at these headquarters,” he said, ‘’and agreed to put serious emphasis on corruption. We agreed to be very vigilant and specific in punishing people in the system, who want to destroy the image of our party by stealing from the state coffers at their areas of assignment.” This, he continued, did not in any way mean that we should unlawfully get at people. No one is above the constitution and we hold that national and patriotic belief very firmly.
Mr. Paye said that the ongoing saga has no grounds to bring division within the Unity Party as they are focused only on seeing justice properly and evenly dispensed.
Mr. Paye, meanwhile, said that Cllr. Fonati Koffa, chairman of the Special Presidential Task Force to probe the Global Witness report, lacks the moral authority to prosecute anyone as he is fighting his own crime related case in United States of America.
According to him, Cllr. Koffa is a common criminal only hired by President Sirleaf to pose more embarrassment to the party and the nation as a whole.
Another partisan of the ruling party expressed his disappointment in the silence of President Sirleaf as wrong things in the country continue to unfold. Mr. Emmanuel Karbakollie said that the President has done nothing good to appease the minds of the citizens when NOCAL was bankrupted by people he called “her darling boys.”
‘’Our sitting standard bearer has many questions to answer in the future if she cannot do so today, he said. Her darling boys exploited NOCAL and subsequently led it to absolute bankruptcy. What did she do? The JFK incident is still fresh around here; what has she done? She has awarded her friends who have stolen our country’s money with good and well paid jobs in her government.’’
Mr. Karbakollie said, however, that he is not in support of Varney Sherman and others, only if it is proven in the court of competent jurisdiction that they are guilty of the crime levied against them.
Cllr. Sherman, House Speaker Alex Tyler and others were charged with criminal conspiracy and sabotage among others, as, according to allegations, they tried to circumvent the Liberian Laws in order to grant the Sable Mining Company the authority to mine the Wologisi Mountain located in Lofa County.