31 July 2012

Liberia: Over U.S.$70,000 Corruption Case Heats Up Bomi County

State prosecutors led by Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould on Monday, July 30, 2012 rested with the production of documentary and oral evidence in the ongoing corruption case involving Albert N. Bropleh and Shirley Marsh of the City of Monrovia, Liberia. The case is being adjudicated in Tubmanburg, Bomi County. The venue was chosen for the sake of fairness.

Defendants Albert N. Bropleh and Shirley Marsh served as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners and Human Resource Manager respectively of the LTA. The LTA is a public independent Commission established in March 2006 to regulate the telecommunications and information and technology (ITC) sector in Liberia with its head office on 12th Street Sinkor, Monrovia.

According to an indictment by the Grand Jurors for Montserrado County, a copy of which is in possession of this paper, the two former LTA officials are indicted with the crimes, namely economic sabotage, misuse of public money, property or record and theft and illegal disbursement & expenditure of public money.

The indictment alleges that former LTA chairman did steal, embezzle, retain and convert to his personal use and benefit, money from the account of the LTA amounting to Seventy One Thousand Twenty Two United States Dollars (US$71,022.00). The indictment further alleges: "That between the period January A.D. 2007 to December 31, 2008, defendant Albert N. Bropleh did thereby in furtherance of his criminal intent to defraud and steal from the LTA and /or make opportunities for other persons to defraud and steal from the LTA money."

Among other things, the indictment adds that the defendant alleged act is in violation of sound accounting practice and procedures generally accepted. The indictment has placed defendant Bropleh under the jurisdiction of the court. But the accused have since the denied the charges levied against them.

Accordingly, the prosecution paraded four witnesses before resting its documentary and oral evidence. The Executive Director of Audit Service at the General Auditing Commission (GAC), Mr. Richard Wisseh, testified as prosecution's fourth witness. Mr. Albert Nah Bropleh is the elder brother of Dr. Laurence K. Bropleh, former Minister of Information.

It could be recalled that sometimes ago, Dr. Bropleh was also indicted and charged with similar crime by the Government of Liberia (GOL). But he (Dr. Bropleh) was vindicated by the Supreme Court of Liberia. The Supreme Court is the final arbiter of justice in the country. The resting of the prosecution witnesses under the cross-examination came after defense lawyer, Cllr. J. Lavela Supuwood, gave notice to the court that he had rested with questions.

Meanwhile, the trial is expected to continue Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at the same venue.

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