Liberia: Ezzat Eid Criminal Charges Against 2 Lebanese Was 'Unlawful'

-- Say defense lawyers

Lawyers representing two Lebanese nationals, Salah Farhat and his son Tamer, are seeking the authorization of Criminal Court 'C' in Monrovia to arrest Ezzat Eid, former president of the World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU).

In February of this year, Eid accused the Farhats of stealing US$1.3 million from the coffers of the Tayo Motors Company, where Salah served as managing partner, and Tamer as the assistant managing director.

Later, the Farhats were charged with money laundering, theft of property, misapplication of entrusted property, and criminal conspiracy, charges which the defense team is now seeking to have dismissed.

Based on Eid's complaint, then Criminal Court 'C' Judge Blamo Dixon, ordered the Farhats' imprisonment at the Monrovia Central Prison immediately after Salah and his son, Tamer, failed to raise US$3.5 million as bail to prevent their incarceration.

However, the American Underwriters Group (AUG), an insurance company in Monrovia secured the US$3.5 million bond, which Judge Dixon later rejeted on grounds that the AUG does not have sufficient funding to post the bail to release the defendants.

Dixon's decision was challenged by the Farhat's lawyers before Justice Yusuf Kaba, who is now presiding as the chamber justice.

Shortly afterward, Kaba mandated Dixon to release the Farhats from further detention on the AUG's bail.

But with Judge Nancy Sammy replacing Judge Dixon, the Farhats' lawyers -- the Jones and Jones Law Firm, has filed a "motion to dismiss the indictment" before Judge Sammy.

The Jones and Jones law firm argued that the method used by Eid against the Farhats was done through an "unlawful" means, stressing, "it constitutes grave violation of the Farhats' rights and, as such, Eid should be arrested and face justice over his action."

The lawyers further argue that before Eid could charge the Farhats; he managed to convince some officers of the Liberian National Police (LNP).

The Salah Farhat and his son, Tamer on their way back to the Monrovia Central Prison, at South Beach.

The defense lawyers also alleged that the charges were not based on tip off from any of the competent authorities, and or financial audit, "rather Eid rushed to judgment based on conjecture after the dissolution of the partnership, and consequently developed charges considered unfolded, and prejudicial to the substantial rights of the defendants."

They claimed that the defendants were arrested on February 27 of this year upon the Eid's complaint and later taken placed in the Police Holding Cell in Monrovia, from where the Farhats were detained at the Monrovia Central Prison the next day (February 28).

"The alleged offenses involved transnational crimes that the LNP never investigated, and or any security agency with the authority to investigate the said crime, which Eid has alleged," the law firm claimed.

They claimed that Eid and the Farhats were business partners of which, Eid had 65 percent share and the Farhats had 35 percent shares with outstanding receivables (meaning uncollected money of the business).

They argued that before the dissolution of the partnership, Eid conducted an audit of the Farhats, from which he cleared the pair of any wrongdoing.

Later, Eid noticed that he was indebted to the Farhats, and that they were entitled to 35 percent share of the outstanding receivables, but it was when he decided to bring the charges against the pair, and subjected them to imprisonment.

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