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Will Gbeneweleh Continue in Missing US$16B CBL Case?

first_imgChief Justice Francis Korkpor (left) and Judge Peter Gbeneweleh, Assigned Judge of Criminal Court ‘C’Chief Justice Korkpor to decideThe likelihood of assigned Judge Peter Gbeneweleh of Criminal Court ‘C’ presiding over the alleged missing US$835,367.72 and L$2,645,000,000 involving Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) current and past senior officials squarely rests with Chief Justice Francis Korkpor as to whether he will agree to reassign Gbeneweleh to that court to continue with the second reading of a mandate of Chamber Justice Joseph Nagbe.Justice Nagbe had issued a mandate to Judge Gbeneweleh after the prosecution had accused the judge of taking sides in the proceeding, and wanted the Justice-in-Chamber to end his legal authority in the trial of the case, which mandate Gbeneweleh is yet to read in open court due to the expiration of his quarterly session.Judge Gbeneweleh had earlier denied the government lawyers’ (prosecution) request to set aside the bail bond filed to release the defendants and to have them (defendants) rearrested and subsequently detained at the Monrovia Central Prison until a new bond could be secured.Milton A. Weeks, former executive governor of the CBL, filed a property evaluation bond in the amount of US$909,319.88 to secure his release from pre-trial detention.Accident and Casualty Insurance Company (ACICO) secured the bond for Charles E. Sirleaf, deputy governor, in the amount of US$60,000. The company also secured a US$60,000 bond for Richard Walker, director for operations, Joseph Dennis, deputy director for internal audit and Dorbor Hagba, director finance.The Grand Jury of Montserrado County indicted the men for multiple crimes, including economic sabotage and misappropriation of public funds following the released reports of two separate investigations into the missing L$16 billion.It is now in the purview of Chief Justice Korkpor to see if he will allow Gbeneweleh to continue with the reading of the mandate, even though the Judiciary Law Title 17, Liberian Code of Laws Revised TITLE 17, gave the Chief Justice power to assign judges on a rotational basis.The Judiciary Law Title 17, Liberian Code of Laws Revised TITLE 17, Section 3.9, entitled: ‘Assignment of Judges to Circuits’, provides that “each Circuit Judge, except the judges commissioned as relieving judges, shall preside as resident judge over the Circuit Court of the circuit for which he was appointed.”It continues, “The Chief Justice shall assign, on a rotating system, a Circuit Judge to each quarterly session of the various circuits and if all business before a circuit court is disposed of before the expiration of a quarterly session, the Chief Justice shall have the power to reassign the Circuit Judge assigned thereto, to sit for the remaining time of the quarterly session in any other circuit in addition to the Circuit Judge currently assigned there, if he deems such reassignment will aid the prompt disposition of judicial business.”And though “all business before the circuit court”, including this case, has not been disposed of, the Title 17 law suggests that the Chief Justice could reassign another Circuit Judge to Criminal Court ‘C’ if he gets the impression that Judge Gbeneweleh has too full a plate to dispose of all the business before his court.However, Judge Gbeneweleh’s 42 days assignment as judge of the Criminal Court  ‘C’ has expired, meaning that he cannot read the mandate unless the Chief Justice Korkpor reassigns him to that court.Judge Gbenewwleh took over the court during the May 2019 Term.Similar complaint was filed before Justice Nagbe against Judge Gbeneweleh, but the complaint was denied shortly after Gbeneweleh and the prosecution presented their case before the justice in chamber.Justice Nagbe’s decision came at the time when Judge Gbeneweleh had not made any judgment as to whether or not, he should accept the bond secured to release all the defendants from the Monrovia Central Prison when the prosecution ran to the justice to prevent Gbeneweleh from further proceedings with the matter.In his challenged ruling, Judge Gbeneweleh said, “this court cannot legally proceed contrary to the provision of the specific statute.”He continued, “We observed that the total amount of bail bond proffered by the defendants is US$1,149,319.88, which is far and beyond US$13,000 required by Section 13.2 of our criminal procedure law,” Gbeneweleh ruled. He added, “The bail bond proffered by the defendants is sufficient and adequate to release them from pre-trial detention, and also secure and or guarantee their reappearance before the court when required.”Judge Gbeneweleh said that the sureties of the defendants are also legally qualified to secure the day to day appearance of the defendants before the court.When he accepted the defendants’ sureties, the judge said, “The surety filed by the defendants is hereby granted and the exception filed by the prosecution challenging their bail bond is denied.”The CBL executives were arrested following the release of USAID-backed Kroll report, and the report by the Special Presidential Investigation Team (PIT), which uncovered wide-range of discrepancies in the printing of new Liberia banknotes worth billions of LRD, and the controversial disbursement of US$25 million intended to be infused into the economy to curb the rising exchange rate between the Liberian and US dollars.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘It’s an exceptional group’, Guardiola salutes City

first_imgThe Spaniard had watched that match from high in the stands as he served out a suspension.But he played down any significance in being closer to the action as Riyad Mahrez scored twice, his first goals for the club, in an emphatic victory which kept them in touch with the Premier League pace-setters.“I don’t play,” said Guardiola, after watching Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan help his team score five or more goals for the 10th time since he took charge before the 2016-17 season.“The managers, we are there to be there when they have little doubts, to support them.“I don’t know what’s going to happen with these guys. It’s the same group, they keep reacting, they are an exceptional group.“But they know when the situation is not good in terms of results, the closer I am to them.“They deserve all my respect. They made me happy the last two seasons, and that’s why, always, I will be with them.”City were 3-0 ahead and cruising at half-time, before Mahrez replaced Aguero on the hour mark and scored twice, his first goals since his move from Leicester in July.The Algerian has only started two Premier League games for the champions and Guardiola admitted he wished he could offer more minutes on the field to both Mahrez and young England hopeful Phil Foden, who also came off the bench in the second half.“It’s good for him to get the first goals,” added Guardiola.“Of course it’s important for him. He came here, he’s an incredibly talented player. He deserves to play more minutes, like Phil Foden.“It’s a pleasure to watch Phil play football and, of course, Riyad as well.“But the season is too long and they have to be ready, prepared, because they are going to play a lot of minutes.”– Slick City –City are now only two points behind leaders Liverpool after emphatically banishing any suggestions their European angst might leak into their domestic form.They toyed with Cardiff for much of a one-sided contest and if they had doubled their scoreline then the Bluebirds, who dropped into the relegation zone, could have had few complaints.“After a not good result in midweek, we responded with the same level we had for the last 12 or 13 months,” Guardiola said.“The first 20-25 minutes is always complicated, not easy, but after one or two goals immediately it was easier.”For Cardiff manager Neil Warnock, the defeat means they are still seeking their first victory of the campaign.They also lost full-back Lee Peltier with a dislocated shoulder, which Warnock expects will keep the defender out for a number of months.Warnock acknowledged the divide in class between the teams and added: “It was a long afternoon. We are finding it difficult at the moment against the top clubs.“But, like I have said before, it’s not going to define our season.“It will knock our chins to the floor for a bit, but the lads have got to get over this and get on with next week.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez celebrates with team-mates after scoring his second goal © AFP / Geoff CADDICKCARDIFF, United Kingdom, Sep 22 – Pep Guardiola insisted it was his players who deserved the spotlight after the Manchester City manager returned to the dug-out to inspire a 5-0 thrashing of Cardiff on Saturday.Guardiola was back on the touchline in the Welsh capital and the champions were back in the old routine after their shock midweek defeat at home by Lyon in the Champions League.last_img read more