By: Stephen G. Fellajuah
Having being stopped by the Government of Liberia from being certificated as the next senator of Lofa County, former Defense Minister Brownie Jeffrey Samukai on Thursday, August 19, 2021 met the 50% requirement for restitution as was ruled by the Supreme Court of Liberia, when a group called the “Friends of Samukai,” comprising family members, supporters and friends of the embattled politician, paid the amount of US$173,276.05 to Montserrado County Criminal Court ‘C’ as balance payment, having before paid $18,000 to the same court.
According to receipts from Criminal Court C, a Manager’s Check #00047576 received from Co-Defendant Brownie J. Samukai, Jr. in the amount of US$173,276.05 constitutes additional payment drawn on United Bank for Africa Liberia (UBA), payable to the order of AFL Morale and Welfare Account, as part payment of US$573,828.17, which is 50% of the money adjudged to be paid against the total sum of US$1,147,656.35.
According to the “Friends of Samukai”, the payment is in fulfillment of the commitment made by them toward Mr. Samukai’s share of the money for which he and others were first convicted by the Criminal Court and upheld by the Supreme Court of Liberia. The check was deposited in the Sinkor Branch of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) with an account titled AFL Moral Welfare, with copies of the deposit slips presented to the Criminal Court.
Making remarks briefly after presenting copies of the payment documents at the Temple of Justice, the National Coordinator of the “Friends of Samukai”, Abass Mark Biaty, said initially, the group paid US$18,000, following which the recent payment of US$173, 276.05 against US$191,276.05 represents the full amount of the 50% mandated by the Court.
“We told you that we were going to pay the portion of our son Brownie Samukai’s money, and after that we expect the Court anytime soon to clear our Senator to go and represent the people of Lofa County,” Biatty told the press.
Also remarking, the Co- Chairman of the “Friends of Samukai”, Youngor Sherman, said the citizens of Lofa County have always demonstrated leadership, stressing “what we say is what we do.”
Madam Sherman noted that Lofa County decided to choose their son Brownie to represent the people of the county because they have no other choice. “Today we decided to clear the balance 50% so our son can take the senate seat and represent us,” Ms. Sherman stated.
“We are not lazy people that our son will just be pulled by his nose, but thank God today Lofa decided to clear their son, the money was raised through the Friends of Samukai around Africa and the Americas”, she said.
It can be recalled that early this year, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict handed down by the Criminal C Court convicting Samukai and two of his colleagues, sentencing them to a two-year jail term for misappropriation of pension fund belonging to some members of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), but with the proviso that they could avert going to prison if they restituted the sum of US$1.3 million within the period of one and a half years or half of the said amount within six months.
The legal predicament in the aftermath of the judgment has dogged the ambition of Samukai to take his seat in the senate, having garnered massive votes to defeat his other competitors during the past December 8, 2020 midterm senatorial elections.