Min. Dean is Aware of Charges Being Dropped against Cockrum -Says Solicitor-General Tells Senates

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MONROVIA – The Solicitor-General and Chief Prosecutor of the Republic of Liberia, Cllr. Saymah Syrenus Cephus has told the plenary session of the Liberian Senate that his boss, Cllr. Frank Musa Dean, was briefed by Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh, Assistant Minister for Litigation prior to filing the motion to Nolle Prosequoi in the case against Co-defendant Ellen Cockrum.

Speaking before the plenary of the Senate, yesterday, Cllr. Cephus noted that after the indictment was dismissed and charges suspended, and there was serious public outcry, and that he personally was instructed by his boss, Cllr. Dean to go on the radio and explain what it meant by the phrase: “Nolle Prosequoi without Prejudice to the State”, which he said he did.

According to our legislative reporter, the first question to Cllr Cephus was how and by what means was he (Cllr. Dean) informed, a question to which Cephus answered when he said prior to filing the motion to enter a Nolle Prosequi in the case against Ellen Cockrum, the prosecuting attorney who was in possession of the MOTION, Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh, visited Professor Dean’s office and told him about the motion and the action that would be taken thereafter, at which time Cephus said under oath before the honorable Liberian Senate, that Cllr. Dean remarked: “You go ahead and do it.”

Cephus said, “This was not done in a vexing mood; instead, Cllr. Wesseh indicated that Professor Dean was in a relaxed mood sitting behind his desk. Cllr. Wesseh is available and can testify to this allegation when invited to do so. What I can rightly say on the record of this proceedings is that, Professor Dean was informed and the expression ‘go ahead and do it’ meant to me his consent; and whether or not that did rise to the level of an instruction, I cannot say for sure.”

Cephus said he further confirmed and affirmed that Professor Dean was aware to the extent that after the Nolle Prosequi was entered in favor of Madam Ellen Cockrum, and there seemed a misrepresentation of the actual legal basis for same, or to aptly put what is meant by entering a Nolle Prosequi without prejudice to the state, he, as always done in the past, advised me to go on the radio and make the necessary clarifications to the public on the actual meaning of Nolle Prosequi.

The Solicitor general indicated that the Attorney General advised so because it was being misconstrued by the public that criminal charges had been dropped against Madam Cockrum for Good, Cllr. Cephus intimated.

During the hearing, Cllr. Cephus asked the August Body for an executive session, contending that answers to some of the questions bordered on national security and noted that he would provide evidence to prove that his boss had full knowledge of the action being taken.

He accused Cllr. Dean of hiring for and on behalf of Co-defendant Ellen Cockrum, Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson and told plenary to call in Cllr. Johnson if they so desire to know the truth.

It can be recalled that based on the request to the court by state lawyers in December 2019 upon return of the defendant into the country, Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice has dropped all charges against the former Managing Director of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), Ms. Ellen Cockrum.

Ms. Corkrum was indicted by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County in 2013 for Economic Sabotage, Theft of Property, Criminal Conspiracy and Misapplication of Entrusted of Property when she allegedly made unauthorized transfer of funds aggregating to US$269,000 from the accounts of the LAA through LBDI on diverse occasions to the accounts of co-defendant ‘Diaspora Consulting Engineering Group’ in a bank in America for services which were never rendered by said co-defendant ‘Diaspora Consulting Engineering Group’.

However, the charges were dropped against her on Monday, December 9, 2019, by Judge Nancy F. Sammy of Criminal Court ‘C’ based on prosecution’s request through a motion to Nolle Prosequoi the case.

A motion to Nolle Prosequoi the case was filed by the prosecution on December 3, 2019. In the motion, the Assistant Minister for Litigation at the Ministry of Justice, Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh argued that the case has been pending before the court since 2013 without having the opportunity to serve defendant Cockrum with the Indictment or the Writ of Arrest to bring her under the jurisdiction of the court.

In its ruling on a Nolle Prosequoi filed by the State, the Judge said “This Court says that the Republic of Liberia has the responsibility and obligation to institute all criminal charges against an accused person. In keeping with this responsibility, they also have the responsibility to prosecute all crimes in this country.

Since it is the Republic of Liberia that indicted the movant and it is the same Republic of Liberia that has come and entered or requested the court to Nolle Prosequoi this case, this court hereby grants the said motion in keeping with Section 18.1 of the criminal Procedure Law.”

Judge Sammy continues: “Wherefore, and in view of the forgoing, the movant’s motion is hereby granted and the indictment drown in 2013 is hereby dismissed without prejudice to the State. And it is hereby so ordered; but Attorney General and Justice Musa Dean denied having knowledge of the action taking by the prosecutors, causing public apprehension surrounding the case.

 

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