In NOCAL Corruption Trial: Court Denies Urey Motion

By Edwin G. Wandah

The First Judicial Circuit Court of Montserrado Court has denied a motion for severance filed by defendant Clemenceau B. Urey, Sr. in a Criminal Sabotage and other alleged crimes levied against him and nine Co-defendants.   In the Court’s ruling, movant, (Clemenceau B. Urey, Sr.), and nine others were indicted by the Grand Jury for Montserrado County during the February Term of Court A.D. 2015 for the alleged crimes of Economic Sabotage, Bribery, and Criminal Conspiracy on April 8, 2015.

(Movant), Urey and nine others who were indicted, filed a twelve (12) Count Motion, contending that in pursuant of Section 16.10 of the Criminal Procedure Law, his, (Clemenceau), defense was different from those of the other Co-defendants and hence, as matter of law, he should be served from the other Co-defendants.

Movant also contended that his defenses are that he acted on the instruction of the President and hence, he is immuned from court’s process; and that as Chairman of the Board of NOCAL, he was only permitted to vote in cases where there was a tie.

In further contentions, the Movant said since there were none in this case, he, (movant) did not vote to approve any payment to the Legislature; but further relied on an affidavit executed by Co-defendant Fodee Kromah in support of his contention.

However, prosecution in response to the motion, filed an-eleven (11) Count resistance; resisting in which it argued that Movant’s plea is a self-serving, inconsistent and contradictory. Prosecution further categorically denied the averments contained in the motion, specifically, in respect of the blanket and self-serving allegation that Movant acted on the instruction of the President.

Prosecution meanwhile argued that the affidavit executed by Co-Defendant Fodee Kromah is self-serving since the very Co-defendant who executed the affidavit had written in his statement before the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission-LACC that “persistent” to pay lobbying fees resulted to a Board resolution to give in to the demands of the lawmakers; which means that the Board voted and a resolution to give in to the demands of the lawmakers; which means that the Board voted, and the resolution was passed.

Another contention raised by Prosecution was that the minutes of the Board taken as far back as May 22, 2007, reflects the initial amount of USD50.000.00 which was approved by the Board for lobbying fees, with an additional USD26.000.00, paid out of NOCAL’s accounts as lobbying fees because of the urgency of the matter.

The Chairman, Clemenceau B. Urey Sr. authorized the USD26.000.00 additional payment without prior approval of the Board, which he, (Urey), Chairman of the Board of the NOCAL Board apologized to the Board.

Meanwhile, in the mind of the court, facts and circumstances in this case culled from the records before court does not appear that Movant’s defenses are separate and distinct and that he would be prejudiced by a joinder of offenses or of defendants.

The Court therefore held that the Movant was not entitled to separate trial; wherefore, and of the foregoing, Court ruled that the Motion for Severance was thereby denied, and the resistance thereto granted.