27 February 2013

Liberia: 'I Only Signed Purchase Order' - Fmr. Police Boss Tells Court

The first witness produced defense lawyers told the court and jurors that when she took over the LNP, the force had no logistics and there was a need to arm the force to combat armed robbery across the country but there was no trust in the existing force so Executive Response Unit was founded to handle arms.

Madam Beatrice Munah Sieh Browne admitted that the US Government had provided uniforms for the ERU but stated that the material the uniform was made from was so thin and members of the ERU wanted the same grade of uniform issued the Police Support Unit (PSU).

The former police director testified that the purchase of the uniform was done by the procurement committee at the LNP but she only signed the purchase order as she had always signed documents for everything connected to the operation and functions of the police.

Madam Sieh who took the witness stand yesterday said she was not surprised that her former deputy, who also testified for the Government of Liberia, said she (Asatu Bah Kanneh) had no knowledge of the procurement because both of them were not part of that committee.

Madam B. Muna Sieh Browne who is on trial along with four others for economic sabotage, criminal facilitation, criminal conspiracy and theft of property said her prosecution was not based on acts of corruption, rather a personal vendetta between she and the head of the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) Frances Johnson Allison.

"The other defendants you see sitting over there are in this case all because of me," Defendant Browne said yesterday when she took the witness stand to counter testimonies given by state witnesses against her and the other four defendants.

She alleged that drafts of the LACC investigation which led to the indictment against her was rejected twice by Madam Allison and amended to reflect her name because she (Browne) and Madam Allison loved to the same man in the 1980s which ignited a brawl between the two.

"She promised then that she (LACC Boss) will make sure that I go to jail even if that is for one day and this is what she is doing," Witness Browne told the court.

Madam Browne who had served the LNP from 1979 to 2009 said it was sad that after 30 years of serving the country an individual (Frances Allison) would use the same country money to prosecute her because of personals differences.

Other individuals standing trial with the former Liberia National Police Inspector General are Former Deputy Commissioner for Administration (LNP) Col. Harris Manneh Dunn, Proprietor of Ultimate Investment & Holding Company Prince O.A. Akinremi; and Former Fiscal Auditors of the Ministry of Finance Kaymah N. Zeon and Nebo Garlo.

The five defendants came under trial for allegedly scheming the procurement of uniforms and accessories for the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) in 2008 when said uniforms were not delivered to the force as claimed by the LACC.

Madam Asatu Bah Kenneth, one of the states witnesses and fmr. Deputy for administration to Madam Browne had taken the witness stand and said she had absolute no idea of the procurement of uniforms and accessories for the Unit.

In fact, according to Witness Kenneth's testimony, at the time there was no need to purchase uniforms and accessories for ERU because those were being provided by donors; the US Government.

Meanwhile, the trial continues today.

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