“Why Cummings, others will be vindicated” -Legal Team Displays LP’s Resolution and UP’s Letter

MONROVIA – As the legal battle in the case of alleged forgery and criminal conspiracy brought against the political leader and standard bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) Alexander B. Cummings and co-defendants, Senator Daniel Naatehn and Attorney Aloysius Toe continues, the legal team of defendants says documents in its possession clearly Support “the Innocence & Integrity of Cummings, Naatehn, & Toe”  and confident that their clients will be vindicated in addition to the inability of the prosecution to establish any case against them but has decided to play delay tactics in order to undermine the entire ongoing legal process.

Relying on the contents of some of the documents, the lawyers took a deeper look of how the political leader of the Liberty Party(LP), Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence signed the LP resolution on July 1, 2020 when there was an existing document alleged to have been finalized and given for notarization and registration in May, 2020 and letter from the Unity Party dated July 6, 2020 informing the National Elections Commission(NEC) of its resolution to commit itself to the Collaborating Political Parties(CPP) after signing a frame work document on May 19, 2020. These two major information the lawyers said proved that the two parties were in error not to accept the fact that the symbolic signing of the framework document on May 19, 2020 cannot be wished away.

“One of the Political Leaders at the time, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, finally signed the Liberty Party Resolution on July 1, 2020. How possible is it that the Political Leader of the Liberty Party at that time would sign and submit a Resolution to notarize and register the CPP on July 1 for a document alleged to have been finalized and given for “notarization and registration” in May? The LP Resolution is so dated because the lawyers had to work to agreeably “review and amend”, and thereafter, Resolutions indicating the various approvals of the parties were then submitted for notarization and registration of the CPP”, the lawyers stated.

To further buttressed their submission, they opinionated that even the Unity Party (UP), in its letter of July 6, 2020, to the Chairman of the National Elections Commission, in which it transmitted its consent through a Resolution of its own, clearly indicated “In compliance to the CPP framework document signed by the political leaders on May 19, 2020, and subsequently reviewed by the Party’s legal team, the Unity Party would like to submit to your good office a resolution with the Party’s NEC members’ names and signatures affixed endorsing decision to form a collaboration named and style “Collaborating Political Parties…”

“Again, the point here is that if the May 19, 2020 document symbolically signed via zoom was finalized with actual wet signatures and presented to co-defendants only for “notarization and registration”; why would the same document be the subject of a “subsequent review by the party’s legal team?. All reviews naturally would occur before final signing of a document”, the lawyers maintained

Addressing the media last week to express its dissatisfaction over the case, two members of the team, Cllr. Abraham Sillah and Atty. Lafayette Gould said that though it is not often done to address the media in the middle of a trial, they are however compelled to do so because of the many falsehoods they continue to see in the public space by the prosecution concerning the ongoing trial of their clients on charges of forgery and criminal conspiracy. They stated that they were not speaking for the ANC but the defendants who according to the lawyers, are jointly charged and are now being tried by the government of Liberia.

Providing the background of the case, the two lawyers said on January 2, 2022, after having announced its intention to leave the CPP, the All Liberian Party (ALP), through the Government of Liberia, filed the above-mentioned charges, which according to them  are petty offenses punishable by fines and/or minimum jail term. They said it was stated in the allegation that the defendants committed forgery by allegedly including a clause into the CPP Framework Document to keep the CPP together, and thereby making it harder for any of the four parties to leave the CPP.

The lawyers noted that with respect to the present status on the case, it has taken 45 days and still counting that since the case was filed by the government, the prosecution is yet to produce its first witness. They said in keeping with law, the defendants requested the prosecution to provide the evidence on which they relied to file these charges to which the prosecution responded in part by providing a total of 10 documents.

They said that instead of the prosecution proceeding to trial, they requested court to compel the defendants to produce what they referred to as the “original signed copy of the May 19, 2020 Framework Document” to the government to be used as evidence against the defendants.

“Defendants objected to the request on grounds that (i) prosecution request was illegal, unconstitutional and a strange practice, and (ii) that they do not have the requested document because there is no “original signed copy of the May 19, 2020 Framework Document” signed by all parties and delivered to the co-defendants for notarization and registration of the CPP. In actual fact, the document that was symbolically signed via zoom on May 19, 2020, was never immediately or thereafter completed with the actual wet signatures of the four parties”, the lawyers said.

Speaking further on the case, the lawyers said against the objection of defendants, the magistrate requested defendants to produce the said “original signed copy of the May 19, 2020 Framework Document” to prosecution within 72 hours. They added that based on this decision of the magistrate, the defendants sought a review of the magistrate’s decision before a circuit court judge but that the Judge of the circuit court strangely agreed with the Magistrate and ordered co-defendants to produce the documents.

“Although the co-defendants could have sought a review of the incorrect ruling of the circuit judge, they opted to respond to the Subpoena Duces Tecum, truthfully and faithfully, so as not to delay the trial, which has begun to appear to co-defendants, for the obvious lack of evidence, the government’s prosecutorial team is spending it’s time trying to delay”, the lawyers said.

As a way of properly providing a robust defense, the lawyers said their clients field a written response to the Subpoena Duces Tecum where in the sworn response, the co-defendants again contended mainly that they do not, and have never ever had the subpoenaed documents because no such document exists or ever existed.

“Along with the response, co-defendants attached the Framework Agreement that was filed with the National Elections Commission (NEC), and a FrontPageAfrica Newspaper article (https://frontpageafricaonline.com/politics/liberia-controversial-jobs-clause-greets-cummings-ascendancy-as-head-of-opposition-alliance/) which confirmed the circumstances that immediately followed the symbolic signing of May 19, 2020, for which wet signatures could not be obtained following the said symbolic zoom signing”, the lawyers noted, adding “Consequently, to refer to the symbolic zoom signing as producing an “original signed copy of the May 19, 2020 Framework Document”, is erroneous and without factual basis”, they said.

“This zoom-signed document was never immediately thereafter signed with all wet signatures of the four constituent parties. Rather, in lieu of the attendant public outcry which greeted the symbolic zoom signing, the four parties agreed to have the evolving draft of the CPP Framework Document which it had symbolically signed via zoom turned over to a team of lawyers to further “review and amend”.  It was the agreeably reviewed and amended document that was agreeably approved, subsequently notarized, and used to register the CPP”, the lawyers stated further.

They maintained that to date, no basis has been laid by the prosecution for its erroneous claim that an “original signed copy of the May 19, 2020 Framework Document” exists. This is despite listing this so-called document as its first and primary evidence.

“It is instructive to also note that the notarization took place on July 7, 2020, almost two months after the symbolic signing via zoom and following lengthy periods of consultations with the lawyers as to their agreeable and authorized review and amendments, as well as a review by all the parties and conclusions of resolutions testifying to their final agreements”, they stated

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