Monrovia- Senate Secretary Nannorlor F. Sengbeh, Sr. and others to include former National Investment Commission Executive Director, George Wisner have been declared free, from all indictment in a criminal proceeding, following Monday’s September 7, ruling by Criminal Court C at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, based on a motion filed by defendants lawyers to dismiss the case.
They were indicted on allegations of Economic Sabotage, theft of property, forgery and criminal conspiracy, in a case filed Republic of Liberia by and through Hans Armstrong as respondents.
According to the indictment, Singbeh designed a fraudulent scheme along with the other defendants to withdraw US$5M from the company’s accounts at Ecobank and Afriland Bank with the aim of settling salaries and other expenses of the company.
However, the court notes that the respondent, in person of Hans Armstrong was previously indicted during the February A.D. 2020 Term of the 8th Judicial Circuit Court for Nimba County and a Writ of Arrest subsequently issued for his arrest.
Accordingly, Mr. Armstrong was arrested on March 6, 2020 and incarcerated at the Sanniquellie Central Prison, while the defendants in the proceedings were indicated during the May A. D. 2020 Term of the First Judicial Circuit Criminal Assizes “A”, barely one court term after Armstrong had been indicted in the 8th Judicial Circuit Court for Nimba County.
This means, Armstrong was indicted in the February Term of Court in Nimba County, did not allow his case to be concluded before running to Montserrado County with a separate lawsuit in the May Term of Court.
The ruling was based on a motion filed by lawyer representing one of respondents, representing the Afriland Bank, Cllr. Daku Mulbah that Armstrong is still a defendant in a case in Nimba and cannot file another lawsuit in a similar case, when he has not yet face his indictment.
“The Clerk of this Court is hereby ordered to prepare a release in favor of all defendants in these proceedings, thereby restoring their rights as guaranteed under the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, and it is hereby so ordered,” Cllr. Ousman F. Feika, Circuit Court Judge Presiding said in his ruling.
Mr. Armstrong, based on court record, is indicted at the 8th Judicial Circuit Court of Nimba County for the crimes of Theft of Property and Forgery, while the defendants on the other hand are indicted for the commission of the crimes of Economic Sabotage, Theft of Property, Forgery and Criminal Conspiracy.
According to the court, based on the fact that the defendants in these proceedings are the private prosecutors in the indictment against Armstrong in the criminal case against him at the 8th Judicial Circuit Court for Nimba County and the law in said jurisdiction provides that a cause of action be dismissed, if there is another action pending between the same parties for the same cause in the court in Liberia.
As such, the court said it sustains the resistance of the defendant’s counsel, as well as the application for the dismissal of the case associated therewith, that crimes contained in the indictment drawn against the defendants are the same as the one against Mr. Armstrong in the 8th Judicial Circuit Court of Nimba County.
“This court, therefore, holds the rationale that to proceed with this trial would be tantamount to undermining the ends of justice and a complete disregard of the statute, hence a violation of same.
The court further said it finds it difficult to understand, and troubling to comprehend, that the same state that indicted Mr. Hans Armstrong in Nimba County a court germ before, is the same state that proceeded to indict the defendants herein without first concluding the initial indictment against Mr. Armstrong in which the defendants are private prosecutors with huge interest at stake.
The motion to dismiss the case was file by defense counsel, on Monday, August 23, where a resistance to an application was made that the private prosecutor Mr. Armstrong is himself indicted in the 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Nimba County.