MONROVIA: The writ of subpoena Duces’ Tecum and Testificandum issued on the directive of the Judge of Criminal Court ‘A’ Roosevelt Willie on the Mayor of Monrovia City, Jefferson Tamba Koijee to produce to Court Monrovia City Police Officer Varlee Telleh and to testify to his telephone number(s) has generated public mixed public reactions with others calling it a witch-hunt.
The writ orders the Monrovia City Mayor to appear and testify to his telephone number(s) used between February 21st to the 25th of this year, which according to those who have spoken against the court’s decision, amounts to “pure witch hunt and not a subpoena to get facts”. Others say there is no reason to fear because all is done under the ambit of the law.
Individuals and groups suspicious of the court action maintain that it is a strange phenomenon that the court would set aside findings from the police which had cleared individuals, in this case Mayor Koijee of any wrongdoing, and go out to fish for non-existent issue.
According to some pundits the court appears to be acting of what seems to be clearly premised on sentiments intended to satisfy the interest of certain individuals at the detriment of innocent citizens, as is in the case of Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee and Varlee Telleh.
In a well-circulated position statement made public over the weekend, a copy of which was sent to The Analyst, a civil society group, Justice for All Initiatives, said it was taken aback “that justice would be traded for probably a price with no conscience just because an interest is involved and the character of an innocent person would be brought to public ridicule and sacrificed to please someone else”.
“We cannot fathom any reason for the writ as it clearly shows that there is something fundamentally wrong with our justice system,” the group continued. “The last time we checked, it was found out that court actions are triggered by the outcome of police reports which form the basis where cases are developed before being forwarded to court especially when police are brought in to investigate and then forward cases for prosecution in the court.”
“To the best of our knowledge, in the instant case, an investigation was launched by the Police when allegations were made against Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee and Varlee Telleh by Cllr. Jerome J. Verdier Sr, as masterminds in the murder of the late Cherloe Musu, a niece of former Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott at her residence and the outcome of the investigation was that there were no facts linking Koijee and Varlee Telleh to the murder. They were therefore exonerated from all allegations and insinuations.”
The group then asked: “So on which basis is the court relying to subpoena Koijee and Telleh if it is not witch-hunt?”
Another group, Citizen Rights Action Group, through its Public Secretary Desmond Latoe Jr, said it is sad that Judge Roosevelt Willie would allow himself to be used as “a conduit to divert attention from the murder case where a young promising Liberian lady, Cherloe Musu, lost her life; and for only trying to delay the case, those behind this tactics are roping the names of Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee and Varlee Telleh”.
“We hereby condemn this act of cowardice on the part of Judge Roosevelt Willie for submitting to a scripted game plan to delay justice while at the same trying to rubbish the reputation of other Liberians for no reason.”
Mr. Latoe indicated that there is a case file from which the prosecution presented the case and there was nowhere where it implicated Koijee and Telleh.
“So where did the court arrive at its decision to issue the writ to subpoena against these gentlemen”?
A social critic, Madison Tuweh Sr. said it is high time that the judiciary set itself the standard worthy of being the hope of the common man but as it stands, “it is a show of shame for the court to be looking for a way to do the bidding of some powerful external forces while trying to deliberately injure innocent parties and by extension depriving the nation from knowing the truth behind the heinous crime committed which claimed the life of an innocent young Liberian”.
He urged the court to vacate the writ and allow the case to proceed with the contents of what has been presented before it for adjudication.
The Analyst last night was able to obtain a copy of the clearance letter issued by the Liberia National Police through Mr. Prince Mulbah, Deputy Police Inspector General for Crime Service, Intelligence and Interpol Affairs.
The clearance states, among other things, that the police on being informed about the accusation made against Mayor Koijee and Telleh by Cllr. Jerome J. Verdier, Sr, launched an extensive investigation which included getting in contact with Cllr. Verdier himself and the outcome of the investigation was that there was no magnitude in the allegation.
The communication dated June 6, 2023, which historicized its investigation, said on the 1st of March 2023, the investigative team met with Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee and Varlee Telleh relative to the accusation made against them by Cllr. Jerome Verdier Sr. who accused the latter as the mastermind and perpetrators of the crime respectively.
It stated that separate interviews were conducted with the accused persons in an effort to get their accounts; and both men (Major Koijee and Varlee Telleh) denied any involvement into the incident that occurred at former Chief justice Scott’s house nor do they have any knowledge about the same, describing Cllr. Verdier’s accusation as baseless, fake and lacks any iota of truth.
The report indicated: “On 2nd March, 2023, at 1820 Hours, the investigative team spoke with Diaspora Liberian lawyer, Cllr. Jerome J. Verdier Sr., through the Deputy Inspector General of Police for Crime Services, Hon. Prince B. Mulbah, requesting him ( Cllr. Verdier) to assist the investigation with whatsoever facts and/or evidence he may have that could have been of evidential importance to the investigation, in support of his allegation made when he appeared on a local radio station (Spoon Network) where he linked Major Jefferson Tamba Koijee and Varlee Telleh to the death of Cherloe Musu. During the telephonic interview (via phone ) with Cllr. Jerome j. Verdier Sr, he emphatically said he has no evidence or any facts whatsoever, documentary or otherwise; rather he was only giving the LNP a lead that any investigator can use to solve a case. ‘I don’t have any evidence, be it documentary or whatsoever but I am giving you leads that any investigator can use to solve a case’, he concluded.’”
The report further said that On March 7, 2023, the investigative team, through the offices of the Inspector General of Police, reached out to Cllr. Verdier via email and WhatsApp requesting him to provide evidence to substantiate his allegations against Major Koijee and Telleh. Again, he responded through WhatsApp, but failed to provide evidence as requested of him.
To prove their innocence, the report said, call log analysis showed that there was no communication between Mayor Jefferson Koijee and Varlee Telleh prior to, during, and after the incident at Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott’s house as it was widely insinuated by the diaspora Liberian lawyer, Cllr. Jerome J. Verdier Sr, accusing the latter of criminally conspiring to carry out said act at the former Chief Justice’s house.
“The investigation, having thoroughly reviewed the case background, narratives, crimes scene, visitations, neighborhood canvassing followed up police actions, review of statements obtained from persons of interest, and witnesses, interviews and investigations conducted, case analysis and findings, it has verified, certified and established that there was no intruders, no arm robbers nor assailants into the home of Cllr. Musu Scott on the night of the incident, same being February 22, 2023 at 22 hours.”
The report further stated: “Meanwhile, Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee and Varlee Telleh, who were accused by Cllr. Jerome J. Verdier Sr are hereby exonerated and/or discharged from further questioning due to lack of evidence to link them to the commission of the crime (murder).”
“In view of the aforementioned and by directive of the Inspector General, Honorable Patrick T. Sudue, we herewith issue Monrovia City Mayor Honorable Jefferson Tamba Koijee this police confirmation clearance for lack of evidence, Criminal culpability in connection to the gruesome murder Cherloe Musu and for reference police”, the clearance letter signed by Prince Mulbah, Deputy Inspector General for Crime Services, Intelligence and Interpol Affairs said.
The subpoena was issued based on a submission made by defense counsel on Thursday, November 30, 2023 to Judge Willie for Major Koijee to produce his employee, Varlee Telleh, to testify as to whom he called on February 21st and February 25th of this year.
The court also issued a subpoena on Orange GSM Company to produce the call log for the number 0777142133 and also track the phone and its user.
Judge Willie further issued a subpoena on Orange GSM number 0776011-848, Lone star GSM numbers 0886529330 and 0880898722 on grounds that the court wants the communication companies to state who is using the said numbers, which were being used and owned by co-defendant Scott.
LoneStar and Orange GSM Companies along with Monrovia City Mayor, Jefferson Koijee are expected to appear in open court on Monday, December 4, 2023 at 10 O’clock am to testify in the ongoing murder case involving former Chief Justice Scott and three of her relatives.
The Defense Counsel also states that the three telephone numbers, which belong to Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, one of Co-Defendants, must be subpoenaed from the GSM Companies hereinabove mentioned because, from February 21, 2023 to today’s date, November 30, 2023, the want to know who has been using those numbers and also the gadgets of the phones which using them, since they had earlier said they can determine the location of the phones.
Following the defense lawyers application, Prosecution resisted and said the application lacks specificity and purpose because the application by the defense counsel did not mention what specifically the defense counsel wants; and that defense’s submission is intended to delay and baffle the trial as the accused defense lawyers of going on what they called “a fishing expedition.”
“Since the Prosecution has stated that the application by defense counsel lacks specificity, it means that they do not know what they want and so, this Court should deny the application,” the judge revealed in passing on the application and its resistance.