9 March 2017

Liberia: Defendants Plead Not Guilty in Sable Mining 'Bribery' Case

Defendants in the ongoing Sable Mining "bribery" case at Criminal Court "C" in Monrovia Thursday pleaded not guilty to charges brought against them by the state.

Defendants G. Varney Sherman, E.C.B. Jones, Christopher Onanuga, Richard Tolbert, Klaus Piprek, Willie Belleh, Eugene Shannon, Morris Saytumah and J. Alex Tyler pleaded not guilty after the reading of their indictment by the Clerk of Court.

The not guilty pronouncement by the defendants leaves the government with the burden to proof in its case against them.

The defendants are charged with bribery, criminal facilitation, criminal solicitation, economic sabotage and criminal conspiracy for allegedly receiving money to alter the 2010 Public Procurement and Concessions Law to grant Sable Mining access to the iron ore rich Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County.

Following the filing of the not guilty plea and the waiver of Jury trial by the defendants, state lawyers applied for continuance on Friday.

This plea was resisted by defense counsels, some of whom described it as 'bad' and not in the interest of the trial.

Twenty-six witnesses testifying for the state are to begin taking the stand tomorrow Friday.

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