MONROVIA – Following a request from state prosecutors last Wednesday for Criminal Court ‘C’ to drop all criminal charges against ex-CBL Deputy Governor for Operations Charles Sirleaf, Richard Walker, Joseph Dennis and Dorbor Hargba, the Court on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, granted the Government of Liberia’s motion to drop criminal charges.
The accused were indicted by the Government of Liberia in 2018 for multiple offenses ranging from economic sabotage, theft of property and money laundering.
According to state prosecutors, government’s decision to clear Charles Sirleaf and three others is consistent with Chapter 18, Section 18.1 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Liberia, which states, “”The prosecuting attorney may by leave of Court file a dismissal of an indictment or complaint of some the defendants”.
Solicitor General Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus who filed the motion on behalf of the State on Friday, May 15, 2020, told the court that Government’s focus was now redirected at the Board of Governors of the Central Bank of Liberia and former Executive Governor Milton Weeks, instead of former Deputy Governor Sirleaf and the suspended officials of the CBL.
Cllr. Cephus said, former Executive Governor Weeks who served as Secretary to the Board by statute is said to be in the know and had participated in the authorization of the printing of the L$10.5 billion and its excess including the L$2.6 billion in question.
In his response, the presiding Judge Gbeisay, having listened to the Prosecution’s motion, announced that the Criminal Court “C” reserves ruling on the motion filed by the state, a ruling that was announced on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 when the Court dropped charges against Charles Sirleaf and others.
Following the Court’s May 19, 2020 ruling, Sirleaf and others were seen leaving the courtroom in smiles and giving thanks to God.
In a related development, former CBL Governor Milton Weeks and Government lawyers have withdrawn their matter from the Supreme Court.
The parties’ decision has compelled Associate Justice Jamesetta Wolokollie to forward the case to Criminal Court ‘C’ in order to resume jurisdiction.
Defendant Milton Weeks is facing criminal prosecution for multiple offenses ranging from money laundering economic sabotage and theft of property.
It can be recalled, Mr. Charles Sirleaf and his boss, Mr. Milton Weeks along with the director of finance for the CBL, Dorbor M. Hagba, the bank’s Deputy Director for Internal Audit Joseph Dennis, and Richard Walker were jointly indicted on 4 March 2019 to account for their roles in the alleged printing of L$10.5 billion and its excess including the L$2.6 billion.
Liberia’s Chief Prosecutor, Solicitor General, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus told journalists last Friday following the presentation of the motion before the court that the Republic of Liberia is dropping charges against Charles Sirleaf and others because by law, they were not in authority to authorize the printing of money.
SG Cephus explained that authorizing the printing of money falls under the authority of the Board of Governors of the Central Bank of Liberia, and pointed out that at the time of the commission of the alleged crime, former Executive Governor Milton Weeks was the Secretary to the Board.
“So we are redirecting our legal battle at the Board of Governors; we will go after every member of the CBL Board”, Cllr. Cephus had told journalists, indicating further that “this case cannot be won when the real individuals involved are left out”, stressing that Mr. Charles Sirleaf and the rest of the defendants were serving in subordinate capacities for which they cannot bear liability for authorizing printing of the L$10.5 billion and the excess out of which L$2.6 billion is unaccounted for.
“I am saying you cannot fight the snake from the tail, you fight it from the head; what that means is, Mr. Charles Sirleaf and the rest of the defendants were serving in subordinate capacities and cannot be the ones to be held accountable for the authorization intended to print money at the CBL,” he repeated.