The panel of public prosecutors have issued a write of subpoena via the court on the bank accounts of Senator Verney Sherman the presumptive mastermind in the close to one million United States Dollars bribe involving several former and present government officials.
The subpoena is seeking the details of all Sherman’s Financial accounts with the First International Bank(FIB Liberia Limited) as of 30 September 2009 to ascertain the veracity of the transactions alleged in the Global Witness report detailing kickbacks for compromised Concession deal for a UK based mining Company.
Sherman – one of the country’s successful and politically connected lawyers is alleged to have advised his client – UK based Sable Mining to provide kickbacks In return for a compromised concession law that would allow it smooth and favorable entry into the country’s mining industry.
But the Senator has issued a statement of defiance to the presidential mandated inquiry taskforce. Sherman’s who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee has anchored his refusal to cooperate on his lawyer-client confidentiality oath and would rather face his accusers in open court.
His refusal to cooperate with the probe team comprising the Ministry of Justice, the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission and the office of the President is being considered a deliberate attempt to obstruct justice.
A panel of public prosecutors Tuesday invited individuals linked to the alleged felonious crime to appear for questioning but this paper gathered that with the exception of Cllr. Sherman, Speaker Alex Tyler, Senator Morris Saytumah and Representative Henry Fanbulleh, the rest of the accused persons have appeared before the taskforce.
Democrat was informed that arrest awaits those who would take on non compliance posture in the investigation.
According to the Global Witness report ( Deceivers One)The sum of $10,000 was paid to Professor Willie Belleh Jr., Chairman of the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission .
On 10 August Belleh wrote to Varney Sherman, saying: ‘We finally got the revised PPCC Act completed. The Minister of Justice and I met with the President last night and reviewed areas of concern to her. She approved. The document has been forwarded to the National Legislature. It is expected to be fast-tracked.’ In September 2010 the PPCC Act was amended and restated.
The transaction detailed in the report amounts to bribery a felonious crime under Liberians law. This is what the law says about the crime:
Sec. 36.02. BRIBERY. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly offers, confers, or agrees to confer on another, or solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept from another:
(1) any benefit as consideration for the recipient’s decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion as a public servant, party official, or voter;
(2) any benefit as consideration for the recipient’s decision, vote, recommendation, or other exercise of official discretion in a judicial or administrative proceeding;
(3) any benefit as consideration for a violation of a duty imposed by law on a public servant or party official; or
(4) any benefit that is a political contribution as defined by Title 15, Election Code, or that is an expenditure made and reported in accordance with Chapter 305, Government Code, if the benefit was offered, conferred, solicited, accepted, or agreed to pursuant to an express agreement to take or withhold a specific exercise of official discretion if such exercise of official discretion would not have been taken or withheld but for the benefit; notwithstanding any rule of evidence or jury instruction allowing factual inferences in the absence of certain evidence, direct evidence of the express agreement shall be required in any prosecution under this subdivision.
(b) It is no defense to prosecution under this section that a person whom the actor sought to influence was not qualified to act in the desired way whether because he had not yet assumed office or he lacked jurisdiction or for any other reason.
(c) It is no defense to prosecution under this section that the benefit is not offered or conferred or that the benefit is not solicited or accepted until after:
(1) the decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion has occurred; or
(2) the public servant ceases to be a public servant.