LIBERIA: Court Places Weeks, Sirleaf Under House Arrest

L/R: Mr. Weeks and Mr. Sirleaf

Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice on Friday released from prison and placed under house arrest former Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Governor Milton Weeks, and deputy governor Charles Sirleaf following a motion and bond filed by lawyers of the two men.

Sirleaf was granted compassionate release from the Monrovia Central Prison on health grounds to enable him seek medical attention, while Weeks got freed based on a US$900,000 property bond filed with the court.

The defendants were released from prison late Friday on the court’s order,

The defendants are charged with multiple crimes including economic sabotage and criminal facilitation, for allegedly illegally using government funds.

Weeks’ bond was approved by the Presiding Judge Boima Kontoe to secure his release from the Monrovia Central Prison.

The motion for compassionate release filed by defense lawyers claimed that the defendant had been diagnosed of severe osteoarthritis of right shoulder, right lobar pneumonia R/0, lung cancer, alcoholic liver disease, gout, and systemic hypertension with hypercholesterolemia which makes his continued confinement at the Monrovia Central Prison to pose risk of death to him or serious permanent injury to his health.

The lawyers, therefore, requested the court to grant said release to enable the defendant seek medical attention.

State lawyers headed by the Solicitor General did not interpose objection to the motion for compassionate release filed by defense lawyers.

The motion was granted by Judge Kontoe on grounds that the defendant in question is currently charged and indicted by the Government of Liberia for his alleged involvement into the L$2.6 billion case.

Judge Kontoe further indicated that the defendants (Weeks and Sirleaf) be placed under house arrest, and restricted to family members, doctor and lawyers and close family members such as parents, wife and children.

He further indicated that the defendants’ passports be surrendered to the Sheriff of the Court during the pendency of the release.

He pointed out that in the process of the defendants’ release the State should provide security surveillance 24-hours of the day and seven days a week, while the two men are ordered to report to the Sherriff of the Court twice a month.

The duo was arraigned before the court on allegations of economic sabotage, misuse of public money, property or records and illegal disbursement and expenditure of public money, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation relative to the mysterious disappearance of the money.

Charles, son of ex-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is on trial along with former Central Bank governor Milton Weeks, bank supervisor Dorbor Hagba and two others in the aftermath of investigative reports on the printing and shipment into the country of L$15.506 billion between 2016 and 2018.

They were arrested on February 28 just minutes after the release of the reports from a probe by the Presidential Investigative Team and the USAID-funded Kroll Associates on the alleged disappearance of the banknotes printed in Sweden by a hired company, Crane Currency AB.

LINA

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About Cholo Brooks 13510 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.