Sable Mining Africa Limited (SBLM) – the firm at the center stage of the corruption saga involving the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the former Chairman of the ruling party and other top current and former government officials – has filed a motion dismiss the indictment.
The company, as a co-defendant, was indicted in May for bribery, criminal conspiracy, economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and solicitation. SBLM, according to the indictment, connived with the co-defendants to alter, change and cause to be changed the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) Act and made provisions for the Minister of Lands, Mines & Energy to have the power to declare a concession area “non-bidding area” as found in Article 75 of the amended PPCC Act of 2010 so as to create ease for the awarding of the concession agreement on Wologizi Mine to Sable Mining.
The indictment indicated that Sable, accordingly, bribed key and strategic players with a total of US$950,000.
However, in a 37-count motion, Sable argued the Court lacks jurisdiction and does not have the power to exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction beyond the scope of its statutory powers. Referencing Part I of the New Penal Code of Liberia, Sable indicated Criminal Court “C” does not automatically confer upon itself general jurisdiction or the power to exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction especially where there exists no extradition treaty between Liberia and the United Kingdom.
They further argued that only the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate can make changes to the Liberian laws, therefore, the indictment erred by stating that Co-Movant Sable Mining Africa Limited and Andrew Groves caused changes to be made in the PPCC Act.
“Movant say there is a compelling documentary evidence to show that the claims upon which the Grand Jury indictment is based are groundless because President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on 20 August , 2010, apparently acting as Head of Government, wrote and submitted a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives to review the Amended and Restated version of the PPCC Act of 2006, stating therein principally that the need to review the PPCC Act of 2005 was conceived in the former National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL).”
The motion referred to the indictment as “a product of misrepresentation as it falsely and erroneously presented Movants as the ones who were behind the restatement and amendment of the PPCC Act even though the records show that it was the President herself.”
Sable Mining noted that it was not a party to the letter written by President Sirleaf or its content and maintained that the decision to request the review of the so-called Restated and Amended PPCC Act was exclusively the decision of President Sirleaf as shown in the letter.
They further contended that President Sirleaf specifically named and praised in the letter all of the institutions that were involved with the restatement and amendment of the PPCC Act.
Such institution include the Government Economic and Management Assistant Program (GEMAP), for allegedly recommending the review of the PPCC Act, the World Bank for allegedly providing extensive technical assistance as Liberia’s premier partner in supporting, establishing and mobilizing the operations of the PPCC Act, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for its alleged elaborate technical assistance, the International Senior Lawyers Program (ISLP).
The motion noted that President Sirleaf also named and praised Liberian institutions such as the Ministries of Finance, Justice, Planning and Economic Affairs, State for Economic and Legal Affairs, the office of the President, the National Investment Commission (NIC) the PPCC Commission itself for allegedly making invaluable contributions to the restatement and amendment of the PPCC Act.
Sable Mining in its motion contended that the motion’s objective is not to simply challenge the inefficiency or frailty of the evidence the prosecution presented before the Grand Jury of Montserrado County, rather it is filed based on the compelling fact that there is absolutely no evidence at all to warrant the issuing of indictment. This, according to them, is because the entire indictments are drawn or based on incompetent testimonies produced by two witnesses quoting a news report, which also quoted Global Witness report and not what the purported reported witness has seen, experienced or that lie within their certain knowledge.