MONROVIA, Feb. 8 (LINA) – The Supreme Court of Liberia has affirmed the lower court ruling with modifications, finding former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai and two others guilty for the crimes of theft of property, and criminal conspiracy and should restitute the full amount of US$,.147, 656.35 within the period of six months.
The high court also ruled that the appellants are hereby sentenced to two years in a common jail, but however the sentence shall be suspended provided the said appellants shall restitute said amount of US$1.147, 656.35 within the period of six months and thereafter enter an appropriate arrangements to pay the remaining portion in one calendar year.
If the appellants fail or refuse to restitute as stated above, then they shall be incarcerated in a common jail and remain therein until the full amount is paid or liquidated at the rate of US$25per month as provided for by law. Justice Yusuf D. Kaba pointed out.
Justice Kaba further stated in his ruling that the men were equality guilty of the crime so should bear the full punishment of restituting the money or go to jail for two years.
The court also mandated the three men to pay said amount of the money within six months of this ruling and that at the end of the six-month period, a payment plan be made for the balance of the money or risk going to jail in a common prison.
In the ruling by lower Criminal Court ‘C’ Judge, Yamie Gbeisay, he sentenced Samukai to two years imprisonment, and his two deputies to six months respectively or with a condition to restitute US$1.4 million over a one-year period, but their legal team took an appeal to the Supreme Court.
But the Supreme Court has overturned the six months sentence period from the lower court of the two men to two years each with the former Defense Minister Samukai, saying they were equality guilty of said crimes.
The High court’s ruling has sparked confusion as to what becomes of Mr. Samukai’s win in the recent December 8 Special Senatorial Election in Lofa County.
It can be recalled that a seven-person Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC) on Friday, February 5, upheld the win of Mr. Samukai after the victory had been contested by the ruling party’s candidate and his legal team.