Liberia: Mining Scandal Could Haunt Sherman in Likely Supreme Court Justice Search

2 September 2018

The names of prominent lawyers are being speculated as possible candidates for a Supreme Court judge's role as the Senate prepares to hear the impeachment case involving Associate Justice Kabineh Ja'neh.

Justice Ja'neh could be removed from office should two-third members of the Senate return a guilty verdict on account of charges contained the House's impeachment bill. Ja'neh is charged with corruption and abuse of public office.

Senator Varney Sherman is one of the top lawyers who is leading the list of individuals who may be appointed to the Supreme Court bench if Ja'neh's battle against the impeachment ends in defeat.

A member of the main opposition Unity Party, Sherman was once an ally of President George Weah. He has reportedly renewed ties with Weah since his 2017 presidential victory as his wife serves the administration as junior cabinet minister.

However, his more than 30-year colorful legal career was tainted in May 2017 when he was linked to a shocking bribery scandal.

The Grand Cape Mount County Senator along with former deputy Lands, Mines and Energy Minister, E. C. B. Jones, former House Speaker Alex Tyler, Sable Mining, Richard Tolbert, Andrew Grooves, Klaus Piprek, Eugene Shannon, Morris Saytumah and Willie Belleh are facing multiple criminal charges including bribery, economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, criminal solicitation and criminal facilitation.

Global Witness in its report, "The Deceivers," showed how in 2010, Cllr. Sherman hired as lawyer for the UK based Sable Mining told the firm that in order to easily obtain the contract for the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County, the company must first get Liberia's concessions law changed by bribing senior officials and legislators. The law was eventually amended and restated.

Following months of delay in proceeding, the Supreme Court reopen the case this month, ordering the presiding Judge of Criminal Court "C" to resume jurisdiction over the matter.

- Festus Poquie

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