Cummings’ Lawyers Reject Ruling -Say Requested Document Does not exist; May head to Supreme Court

The legal team representing the interest of Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, political leader and standard bearer of the Alternative National Congress, and two other top executives of the party, Senator Daniel Naathein and Atty. Aloysius Toe, has vehemently rejected the ruling of Criminal Court “A” Judge Roosevelt Willie that reaffirmed the 72- hour ultimatum given by the Monrovia City Court for Mr. Cummings to produce the original copy of the CPP Framework Document, vowing that they may take an appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberia.

Reacting to the ruling at the premises of the court minutes after the ruling was handed down last Thursday, lead defense counsel Cllr. Abraham Sillah said that the original framework document, which is the principal evidence that the prosecution is depending on to prosecute his clients does not exist, and if it exists, the production of it by the defendants is a violation of the Constitution.

“On May 19, 2020, there was a symbolic signing of the Framework document. I said symbolic because they were not at one location. It was done by Zoom. So, everyone remained at his location and signed it, right? Now it means that there were several pages at each location. Now what they are requesting for is a single document containing the signatures of all the political leaders. We are saying that by the Zoom signing in May 2020, there was a symbolic signing of the Framework document and that such document signed by all the parties does not exist. What exists, is what is in the hands of the prosecution and which is even provided to us and is the unsigned version of that May 19, 2020 document”, Cllr. Sillah said.

The tough talking legal mind said as far as his team was concerned, the other document with respect to the CPP framework document is the one which was notarized and filed with the National Elections Commission which was the outcome of review done on the document following backlash from the public when it was first published, when the political leaders approached the lawyers to review the document with the view of addressing the concerns raised by the public. He said those lawyers are living with blood and flesh.

“Their review was accepted by the political leaders and the presentation was done at the LP Headquarters, and based on the review they issued a resolution; and based on the resolution, the final document was filed with the National Election Commission. So there are two documents we are talking about. The one that was notarized and filed with NEC, one which can be obtained by the National Elections Commission and the other one signed by Zoom”, he stated.

Cllr. Sillah said his team will take an appeal to the Apex court, being the final arbiter of justice, to challenge the ruling in the soonest possible time.

In his ruling on Thursday, February 10, 2022, Judge Willie stated that the Collaborating Political Party (CPP) is an association and a public entity and other members should not be denied access to the original copy of its Framework Document. He added that Cummings and other defendants, Senator Naatein and Attorney Aloysius Toe, Chairman and Secretary General respectively of the ANC at the same time when the Framework Document was crafted, were agents of the CPP and have no right to refuse to provide the document to other parties.

“The petitioners being agents of the CPP should have provided the original copy of the framework document and the mandate given by the magistrate is not in their private capacities, but as a public document,” Judge Willie averred.

Judge Willie noted further that the directive given by Magistrate Jallah is not in the private capacities of Cummings and the other two defendants, but as a public document and his ruling cannot be considered as providing evidence against the defendants.

“The magistrate ruling cannot be considered as providing evidence against themselves as the CPP Framework Document is a public document and the court hereby affirmed the Magistrate of the Lower Court decision to produce the Framework document within 72 hours as of the ruling of this court,” the ruling stated.

It can be recalled that on January 26, 2022 Magistrate Jallah ordered a 72-hour ultimatum for Cummings to surrender the Collaborating Political Parties’ original framework documents to prosecuting lawyers for his prosecution.

He noted that the CPP Framework Document is a public document and was not self-incriminating; as such Cummings needs to surrender the instrument for his prosecution.

“This court, therefore, holds and submits that the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination as provided for under Article 21 (h) of the 1986 Constitution does not apply to business records, public documents or political contracts that are normally executed by the parties own rules and regulations as they may deem fit. That said motion should be and the same is hereby granted as a matter of law,” Judge Jallah stressed.

Mr. Cummings and others had approached the Criminal Court A to seek redress and overturn the ruling from Judge Jallah which still did not come their way. A legal option at the Supreme Court is being considered by their legal team.

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