Chairperson of the special presidential Taskforce Committee in the Sable Mining bribery investigation, Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, says the change of judge means the entire case has to start all over.
“If what I heard is true, that the Judge in the ongoing case has been changed, it means the entire case has to be retried. That is the law,” he said.
Cllr. Koffa made the statement on Wednesday May 3, 2017 at the Center for the Exchange of Intellectual Opinions (CEIO) on Carey Street when he served as guest speaker.
He further revealed that with the absence of Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould has left a huge void in the case; stating that the late lawyer was a knowledgeable person and the special taskforce may find it difficult in prosecuting the case.
“We are saddened over the sudden death of Cllr. T.C. Gould, a prosecution lawyer in the ongoing case, which left a huge void in the case. He was very knowledgeable about the law; as such we may find it difficult in his absence,” the special presidential taskforce noted.
According to him, the taskforce took an appeal to the Supreme Court based on error from the judge.
He urged all Liberians to stand in the fight against corruption so as to give a better future to everyone.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has assigned Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay to the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Kakata, Margibi County.
Judge Gbeisay has been re-assigned to Margibi County and subsequently replaced with Judge Yussif Kaba, currently manning the Civil Law Court in Monrovia.
Gbeisay had been presiding over Criminal Court ‘C’ for the last two terms of court, a total of 104 days, before his transfer to Margibi County.
Before his transfer, prosecutors in the Global Witness case complained to Justice in Chamber, Associate Justice Philip A.Z. Banks, just a day before Gbeisay was expected to send some of them to prison if Heine Van Niekerk (an executive of Sable Mining), their key witness from South Africa, failed to appear before the court to testify.
It was van Niekerk, who Global Witness claimed, presented the spreadsheet and emails to the court.
The emails and spreadsheet outlined Sable Mining’s alleged payment of over US$950,000 as bribes to Liberian officials with the intention of changing the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) Act and award the Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County to Sable.
Gbeisay also refused to legitimize the evidence by placing a permanent mark on prosecution’s ‘vital emails and spreadsheet evidences’ that the state lawyers claimed were obtained from Global Witness.
The decision caused prosecution to ask for a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to be filed against Judge Gbeisay.