MONROVIA – Brownie Samukai, whose conviction for economic sabotage was pardoned by the President, says Judge Yormie Gbeisay is “legally corrupt” and does not deserve a seat on the Supreme Court Bench.
Judge Gbeisay, nominated by the President as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, presided over the economic sabotage case involving the former Defense Minister, his principal deputy, and comptroller.
The trio was accused of misappropriating and misapplying monies intended for the pension of men and women of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
The case was held at Criminal Court ‘C’ where he was found guilty – a ruling subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court.
However, Judge Gbeisay’s nomination to the Supreme Court Bench did not sit well with the convicted ex-defense minister. He has called on the Senate to question his integrity.
In an interview with FrontPageAfrica, Mr. Samukai described Judge Gbeisay as “one of the most legally corrupt Judge to be nominated to the Supreme Court”.
Samukai alleged that Judge Gbeisay, conspired and lied in his March 24, 2020 ruling against him and his co-defendants, he stated in his ruling said: “… see exhibit twelve, four manager checks were issued to defendant Samukai; 3 manager checks were issued to defendant Johnson and five manager checks were issued to Defendant Dorkor…”. Samukai said this was a “bald-faced lie and a criminal act” by Judge Gbeisay to have induced evidence in his ruling that was never ever part of the entire trial.
“Our lawyers raised this action on the part of Judge Gbeisay in the 19 counts objection presented to the Honorable Supreme Court as a violation of our constitutional rights to a fair trial by Judge Gbeisay,” he said.
According to Samukai, at no time during the entire trial and disposition of the case, whether from the side of the prosecution, witnesses from the Ministry of Defense or the Armed Forces of Liberia, or from the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), nor from Ecobank, or anybody, including Judge Gbeisay himself, manager checks mentioned by the Judge. “How could Judge Gbeisay make such boldface untruth?” he asked.
He said, “This action of Judge Gbeisay is a clear case which should have demanded a judicial review of his March 24, 2020 ruling. Would it have been conceivable that his judicial mentor, protégé, and ethnic colleague to have mustered the integrity threshold to call for judicial review or scrutiny?”
When asked why he and his colleagues in the case did not bring this up until Judge Gbeisay’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Samukai said, Judge Gbeisay began to sweat profusely and appeared confused when he, Samukai, and his colleagues, went to the Clerk of Court and demanded to see and read Exhibit Twelve. He said, it was evidently clear that Exhibit Twelve had only seven sheets, and none had evidence and/or exhibit of any check or checks as was stated by Judge Gbeisay.
“The Clerk of Court himself was confused, surprised, and dumbfounded. In fact, the entire records of the case have no line, statement, word or word or anything ever mentioned about any check or checks issued to any of the defendants whatsoever,” Samukai said.
Samukai said rumors of the coincidence that Judge Gbeisay met with Solicitor General Syrenus Cephas on Sunday, March 22, 2020, and then visibly on Tuesday morning March 24, 2020, about 8:45 a.m. in the chambers of Judge Gbeisay on the day of the ruling lend credence to reports that the ruling was highly likely written by the Solicitor General Cephas (now suspended) and given to Judge Gbeisay to read.
“In fact, during the reading of the ruling, Judge Gbeisay was sweating profusely and soaked wet, and he kept saying “We”, which was legally questionable since the Circuit/Criminal Court is not a We.”
Samukai said he has no doubt that those who helped to vet Judge Gbeisay before recommending him for nomination may have been sincere in their efforts, but may have not seen the “other side” of the Judge. Samukai said he has no doubt about the credibility and integrity of the Liberia National Bar Association to vet any of its colleagues and arrive at a credible recommendation.
Samukai said he stands convinced that the March 24, 2020 ruling by Judge Gbeisay cannot stand the elementary test and scrutiny of legal evidence as mandated by Liberia criminal procedure law and or rule of evidence.
“This may be a unique opportunity for Judge Gbeisay to put himself in queue to meet the integrity threshold and corruption index by his colleagues in the Liberia National Bar Association,” he said.
Samukai said the integrity of those being appointed to sit on any High Court such as the Liberian Supreme Court ought to be undoubtedly held to the solemn oath of integrity as Judges or Justices of the High Court.
“The characterization of any individual or persons so nominated owe it as a solemn duty to be truthful, with the highest degree of integrity and fairness in their ruling or judgment during the adjudication of cases before them, and when rendering their opinion in any judicial matter,” he said.