Liberia: Justice Minister Escapes Contempt Charge With Apology

Justice Minister Musa Dean has extended an apology to Criminal Court 'C' Judge, Yamie Quiqui Gbesay after he (Dean) had been given a 24-hour ultimatum to provide some needed documents for the L$16 billion case before that court. His apology on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 to the court granted him the mercy to escape a "Contempt Charge" that would have been levied against him if he had refused to adhere to the court's order.

Minister Dean had earlier failed to produce the copies of series of documents to support the defense team in the ongoing missing L$16 billion case that involves former members of the board of directors of the Central Bank of Liberia as he was requested by the defense lawyers to produce. Reacting to Minister Dean's courteous approach to the order, Judge Gbiesay said he would not proceed with the contempt charge against the Minister after hearing his apology. Some of the documents include Minister Dean's January 10, 2020 communication to the Crane Currency, addressed to Mr. Peter Brown, Acting Commercial Director for Africa and the Middle East, relative to the Printing of the Liberian dollar banknotes that was captioned "Banknotes Printing," as well as all documents that informed the content of the minister's communication.

Others include the Crane Currency response to the presidential investigation team's questions relative to the investigation of the alleged printing and importation of the controversial L$16 billion dollar banknotes by the authority of the central bank of Liberia, and the additional information, presentation and clarification provided the government by the Crane Currency's printing of the banknotes that informed the government's conclusion that Crane Currency has not committed any crime either as a principal or as an accessory, and the subsequent decision of the government to drop all of its charges against the Crane Currency.

Crane Currency is alleged to have been the currency printing company based in Sweden that printed the contentious L$16 billion banknotes of which the government is claiming that the former CBL officials misapplied. In his open apology, Minister Dean was heard saying, "As Minister of Justice and Attorney General, we are at the frontline in upholding the rule of law, and we will, therefore, do nothing to impede the work of the court."

According to Minister Dean, he and other state lawyers would always respect the court, "the judge and our colleague lawyers." Minister Dean continued, "Having said that and in the interest of time, we present a folder containing the documents and the January 10, 2020 letter. According to him, the first document requested called for the original copy of the letter dated January 10, 2020, "But I could not have produced the original as the said letter was sent to Mr. Peter Brown of Crane Currency." Shortly afterward, the case continued with other subpoenaed defense witnesses from the CBL testifying to their knowledge of some important documents that include a board resolution for the alleged printing of the LD$16 billion Liberian dollar banknotes at the center of the prosecution.

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