Court Postpone Cummings’ Trial -As Cummings Expresses Disappointment

The Monrovia City Court has granted state prosecutors request, for third time in a row, to postpone the alleged forgery and criminal facilitation trial of Mr. Alexander Cummings and others amidst objections by Defense Lawyers that the State demand to retrieve the original framework document of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) from the National Elections Commission (NEC) before its witnesses can testify is a calculated ploy to willfully delay the trial and defeat justice.

However, the ANC political leader and standard bearer Mr. Alexander B. Cummings has expressed dismay over what he called a mockery of the judicial system of the country in his trial where a lot of delay tactics are being employed to unnecessarily prolong a misdemeanor case which according to him normally takes up to 30 days at the magisterial level to be trashed out and accused the Ministry of Justice through the Solicitor General of being behind it for its own reasons.

Defense Lawyers of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) contended that five months into the trial of the ANC Political Leader, Mr. Cummings, and others for misdemeanor, the judge has persistently been bombarded with unmerited and unreasonable requests by state prosecutors.

State prosecutors on Monday, May 2nd, again requested the court to subpoena the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Ms. Davidetta Browne Lansanah, to appear, testify and produce the CPP original framework document, after its Political Officer, Ignatius Wesseh, has already testified and produced the same CPP framework document on April 27, 2022. State prosecutors contend that unless the so-called CPP original framework document is retrieved from the NEC, its 34 subpoenaed witnesses, including Unity Party (UP) Political Leader,  and key government witness, Mr. Joseph Boakai, and UP Secretary General Mohammed Ali will not testify.

ANC Defense Lawyers  described the persistent unmerited requests for postponement of the trial as indication of the state’s ill-preparedness and lack of evidence to warrant prosecution.

Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and former Justice Minister, Counselor Gloria Musu Scott, subpoenaed as state witness and later dropped, has now been listed as State lawyer along with four others formerly of the Sherman and Sherman Law Firm.

The court said it granted the state request to resume the trial on Wednesday, May 4, to ensure what it termed as “substantial justice and fair play.” The ANC Political Leader, Mr. Cummings, Vice National Chairman Daniel Naatehn and Secretary General Counselor Aloysius Toe are accused of allegedly altering the CPP framework document. The three ANC officials have vehemently rejected the charges and termed it as bogus  and politically motivated as part of conspiracies between the All Liberian Party of Benoni Urey and the ruling Congress for Democratic Change to thwart Mr. Cummings’ presidential bid in 2023.

Mr. Cummings speaking to journalists yesterday at the Temple of Justice shortly after the court adjourn the trial to Wednesday, May 4, 2022 after Judge Jomah Jallah granted the request of the prosecution to subpoena the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission(NEC), Davidetta Brown-Lassanah to produce the original copy of the Framework document of the Collaborating Political Parties(CPP) filed by Mr. Cummings on behalf of the CPP when he served as one of its rotational chairmen.

“Today was another day where justice has been trampled on. It was a waste of time for the court. The Ministry of Justice through the Solicitor General continues to make mockery of a judicial system. The judge is doing his best to control the case according to our law, but again our Justice Ministry led by the Solicitor General is denying justice for the defendant by his constant delay of the trial.

Mr. Cummings lamented why the government has elevated the case so high when in normal circumstances misdemeanor cases are prosecuted by a city solicitor and not a solicitor general of a country and also not happy that the case has taken up to 4 months when it should have taken just 30 days at the Magisterial level to be adjudicated.

“I keep saying there are more serious crimes, rapes, murder, all of these happening in this country and nothing happens and yet the Ministry of Justice under Mr. Weah is using all the resources to prosecute a misdemeanor case. It is sad for our country. It is not good for our country but justice will prevail and we are confident of outcome of the trial”, he said.

Also speaking to newsmen at the same venue, Cllr. Lafayette Gould, one of the legal counsels of Mr. Cummings said that corroborated the submission of the ANC political leader and said clearly the prosecution was bent on dragging the case on for a longer time to its benefit, adding that the whole thing has become a persecution against Mr. Cummings and others and not a prosecution of the case brought against them by Mr. Benoni Wilfred Urey, Political leader of the All Liberia Party.

He said it was wrong for the prosecution to once again ask for the original copy of the framework document of the CPP to be subpoenaed after it was brought in court before then and was marked as evidence by the court.

He stated as being “not safe” for the document as requested to be in the reach of the Solicitor General, Cllr. Syrenius Cephas , whom he said could not be trusted after tampering with the evidence requested by the Judge for the records of the court. He however, expressed optimism that no matter the length of the time, which he does not wish to last, Mr. Cummings will be vindicated.

The ongoing trial involving Cummings and two other top officials of his party, Senator Daniel Naathen and Atty. Aloysius Toe has dragged on for such a time that was unexpected when it first flagged up at the Monrovia City Court. The defendants have consistently denied the allegation, terming it as a ploy to stop Mr. Cummings and his party from taking part in the ensuing 2023 general elections and accused ALP of colluding with the ruling establishment.

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