On his second appearance in the docket at the Criminal Court ‘C’ in the ongoing Sable Mining bribery case, former House Speaker Alex Tyler has alleged a “calculated plot” was staged against him by the Ellen Sirleaf-led government.
Charged with economic sabotage, bribery, criminal conspiracy, facilitation and solicitation, Tyler was indicted for allegedly receiving a share of hundreds of thousands alleged ditched out by the British company Sable Mining as indicated in the Global Witness 2016 Report.
He is standing trial alongside other defendants, including Varney Sherman, Morris Saytumah, Eugene Shannon, Ernest C.B Jones, Richard Tolbert, Wille Belleh, and Christopher Onanuga on the same charges.
All together, the indictees are alleged to have received US$950,000 in bribes to change the 2005 Public Procurement and Concessions Act (PPCC) in favor of Sable Mining to operate at the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County.
But on Wednesday, Tyler said “this is a lie plotted by the ex-President at the time to tarnish our hard-earned reputation.”
He further told the court and jury that: “Like I said yesterday (Tuesday), I didn’t receive seventy five thousand U.S. dollars or any amount from anyone to change or insert any law or section into the Amendment and Restatement of the PPCC Act, neither did I know of the existence of any company called Sable Mining up until the Global Witness report.”
Appearing emotional, Tyler repeatedly denied the charges levied against him, saying that there was not an “iota of truth” in them and that they were “blatant and calculated lies.”
The Presidential Taskforce set up by former President Sirleaf, in the aftermath of the Global Witness Report, further accused Tyler of receiving an additional amount of US$250,000 allegedly from co-defendant Cllr. Varney Sherman, who at the time represented the legal interest of Sable Mining, to possible influence the leadership of the Liberian Senate to change the PPCC Act.
Moreover, Tyler indicated in his testimony that he only knew about the amendment and restatement of the PPCC Concession Act when he received a cover letter of enactment for the Legislature on the PPCC Draft Bill from ex-President Sirleaf on August 5, 2010.
The cover letter, he said, the House of Representatives read and submitted to its PPCC Committee headed by Representative Edwin Snowe for review and passage.
He noted it was passed into law without any change(s) made to that law and was forwarded to the Senate for concurrence.
He recalled that the Senate then returned the Act as it was passed and endorsed by the House of Representatives “since the instrument originated from the House, with the appropriate signatures and was forwarded to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and approved, signed and printed into handbill.”
In the meantime, the former Speaker was retired from the witness stand, and Judge Peter Gbeneweleh adjourned the case to Thursday, July 11, when the House’s Chief Clerk Mildred Sayon will testify at 10:00 a.m.