Convicted FDA Ex-MD, Others Given 72-hr. Ultimatum

The assigned Judge of Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia has given 72 hours ultimatum to the convicted former Managing-Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and four other convicted felons to pay a fine of US$10, 000 each in the just ended US$ 6 million economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and deceptive writing case.

Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh also corrected his earlier judgment from 5 years imprisonment to 10 years for each of the convicts,but the US$6 million to be restituted remained the same.

In his correction of the judgment on Monday, Judge Gbeneweleh cited section 23.5, page 385 of the Criminal Procedure Law as his reliance which provides for correction or modification of sentence.

The Judge who earlier gave lesser judgment was resisted by state prosecutors and told the court that section 15.87 of the Penal Code relating to fines and restitution provides: “A person tried and convicted under the Sub-Chapter “F” shall be made to restitute the amount stolen and shall be fined an amount not less than US$10, 000, or be imprisoned for not less than 10 years, or both.”

Judge Gbeneweleh explained to the court that if the amount involved is US$1,000, the convicts shall pay a fine of US$5,000 or be imprisoned for not less than five years or both.

“Consistent with the relevant provision of the New Penal Code of Liberia, this court hereby corrects the portion relating to the restitution, fine and the imprisonment as follows,” Judge Gbeneweleh noted.

He pointed out that the court order convicts, Moses Wogbeh, John Kantor, Janga Kamara, David Blayee and Maxwell Gwee to restitute the amount of US$6 million to the government and people of Liberia as of the date of the final judgment of August 25, 2015.

“They are also fined US$10, 000 each to be paid into government’s revenue within 72 hours as of the date of the final judgment and sentenced to10 years each,” Judge Gbeneweleh added.

He then ordered the clerk of the court to prepare a commitment and place same in the hands of the Sheriff to have the convicted felons detained for the period of 10 years at the Monrovia Prison Compound or any suitable prison facility within the Republic of Liberia.

The defense lawyers took exception to the final judgment of His Honor and announced an Appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberia, sitting in its October 2015 Term Court.