Opening of Courts Delays Argument into Weeks Criminal Appearance Bond

MONROVIA, Montserrado- Arguments into the validity of the US$900,000 property valued criminal appearance bond filed by former Central Bank Governor, Milton Weeks could not be held today, as the day marked the official opening of the March term of court.

Weeks was released Friday, March 8 after his lawyers filed the bond on Tuesday. State lawyers had said they would argue the bond today, and challenge its legal validity.

Another defendant, Charles Sirleaf who is the current Central Bank’s current Deputy Governor for Operations and son of former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was also granted compassionate release, on Friday.

According to a court document signed by Criminal Court C Judge Boima Kontoe, Sirleaf release was based on an application by his lawyers citing medical reasons, which was also not challenged by the prosecution.

“Arguments having been entertained and held on both sides of this court says, the veracity and validity of movant exhibits, seem being the medical records attached to movant’s motion not having been challenged by prosecution/ respondent, and this court having reason to believe that the medical condition of the movant is worsen if not granted an opportunity to have access to his doctor and medication during the pendency of these proceedings, that the removal of movant to some other place of conferment where his health may be better preserved, hold the view that movant’s motion ought to be granted with modification  that he is granted compassionate release as provided for under revise code II,” the court document read.

The court ordered the defendant removed from the Monrovia Central Prison to his home or any other place of dwelling desirable to him within the city of Monrovia or its environs under the condition of house arrest. The court further ordered that the defendant’s passport be surrendered to the sheriff and must not be visited by anyone other than his lawyers, doctors, wife, parents, and children during the pendency of the release.

“The state during the pendency of this compassionate release is ordered to maintain security surveillance of the movant 24 hours a day and 7 days a week during the pendency of the compassionate release, while movant is ordered to report to the sheriff of this court twice a month, at an interval of 2 weeks.”

The both men along with three other defendants, Dorbor Hagba, Richard H. Walker and Joseph F. Dennis- all officials of the Central Bank are facing prosecution for multiple criminal charges for the alleged role played in the printing of excess Liberian dollars bank notes of more than L$500 million, which cost the government an extra US$835,361, in 2016 and 2017.

They were sent to the Monrovia Central Prison by the court following their arrests and subsequent charge by the Liberia National Police. The arrest followed the government’s report into the investigation of reports of alleged missing billions in new Liberian dollar currency, on February 28, which holds the criminally culpable of the multiple charges.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Gbatemah Senah

Senah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. Between 2017 and 2019, he won six excellent reporting awards from the Press Union of Liberia. They include a three-time Land Rights Reporter of the Year, one time Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Human Rights Reporter of the Year.

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