By Abraham S. Sollie/GNN Contributer-
State and defense lawyers on Monday, August 1, 2016 concluded a heated argument before the Presiding Judge of Criminal Court “C”, Emery S. Paye, requesting that the indictment against some officials of Stable Mining Africa Limited including its Executive, Andrew Grove be dismissed.
It can be recalled that Mr. Andrew Grove, in his own name and Sable Mining Africa Limited, a non-resident corporate entity, by and through their legal counsels the Justice and Public Interest Consortium Africa (JUPICA), on July 19, 2016, filed a 37-count motion to dismiss the indictment levied against them by the Government f Liberia through the Grand Jury of Montserrado County.
In their motion, Mr. Grove and his Sable Mining prayed the court to dismiss what they referred to as purported indictment, order it stricken from circulation in any form, manner or shape.
The indictees legal team headed by Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus, requested the court to declare the indictment against their clients as null and void and also make of no force or effect what they referred to as fictitious and frivolous writ of arrested issued against their clients.
They stated that they want the indictment against Co-defendant Grove dismiss because they said he is a natural person who according to them is neither a resident of Liberia nor an employee of any corporation doing business or operating under the laws of Liberia and that he has no dealing or interest in business activities or officials in public service whether directly or indirectly.
They contended that their client strongly rejects and denounces as grossly baseless any negative insinuations suggesting the commission of any crime or collusion for whatever actions or activities within Liberia.
As for Sable Mining Africa Limited, the defense lawyers argued that it is a foreign corporation without links to any Liberian official in public service whether directly or indirectly and that it (Sable Mining) rejects and denounces any assertion from any source bordering alleged collusion for the commission of crimes in Liberia.
The defense lawyers added that the entity also rejects the pretense of the issuance in absentia an indictment against its corporate person, image or operations.
They further argued they want the indictment dismissed because Criminal Court “C” lacks jurisdiction over their clients and does have the power exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction beyond the scope of its statutory power.
“That Movants say that the allegations contained in the indictment insinuating that Andrew Groves and Sable Mining Africa Limited are residents or are based in London, Great Britain is absolutely incorrect and groundless in that while it is true that Co-Movant Andrew Groves is a British by nationality and Sable Mining is an International corporation, none is resident in London as erroneously claimed by the indictment. Movants say such false allegations regarding Movants being residents of London, Great Britain are further proofs that the indictment is nothing but mere speculation hatched by its authors to unduly harass Movants. Therefore, the indictment being a product of falsehood, it should be denied and dismissed,” they contended.
They indicated that the state failed to show in open court a copy of the extradition treaty that its (state) lawyers bragged of signing with the British Government.
They among other noted that the indictment be dismissed because the time for the prosecution of the case has passed in that the alleged crimes were said to have been committed in 2010 something they said is beyond the statutory period of five years.
In response, the state lawyers headed by Montserrado County, Cllr. James Daku Mulbah, in a 24-count resistance prayed the court to deny and dismiss the defendants’ request to drop charges against them (defendants).
The state lawyers argued that the state denies the legal and factual sufficiency of the averments contained in the defendants’ motion.
The state lawyers argued that a defendant, under the Liberians laws is not be tried in absentia as such, they prayed the court to denied the request because they (defendants) have been presented under the court’s jurisdiction something they said makes the defendants’ request a subject of dismissal.
“Also because as to the entire motion, respondent says that our laws provide exemption from criminal liability only to foreign ambassadors and foreign public ministers. Because Movants are not have not said they belong to this class of person is enough reason to deny and dismiss the entire motion. Respondent says that the averment therein is clearly an indication that the Movants does not know what constitutes the crimes Bribery and Economic Sabotage. Respondent submits that the Movants offered and paid money for the performance of an official duty of the Legislators and by that created an opportunity for one to defraud the Government of Liberia,” the state lawyers added.
They among other things said that they want court to quash the defendants’ request in that it was in May of 2016 that UK-based Global Witness released its report captioned “Deceivers” six years after the alleged commission of the crimes.
Judge Paye, after hearing both parties arguments, suspended his ruling and said the ruling will subject to the filing of legal memoranda by both parties in the case designating Thursday, August 4, as the deadline for the memoranda.