Access Bank, one of eight banks subpoenaed by the Criminal Court 'C' to surrender the financial statements of all accounts of Senator Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County who was earlier indicted by a Ministry of Justice backed criminal investigation team, has replied the court that it does not have any bank accounts for Senator Sherman.
Access Bank's reaction is in response to a-72 hour ultimatum by Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay issued on Thursday, December 22, to surrender the bank records of Senator Sherman in its possession. It can be recalled, that on December 22, 2016, Judge Gbeisay subpoenaed a number of banks, including Ecobank, Afriland First Bank, International Bank Liberia and United Bank for Africa (UBA), and Access Bank to surrender all bank accounts of Senator Sherman in their holdings. According to our Staff Reporter, only a handful of the banks have complied with the ultimatum.
But, Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), Global Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank (GT Bank) have not honored the December 22nd subpoena. Accordingly, included in the judge's order, are the personal and corporate bank statements of Chancellor Sherman and his law firm.
Meanwhile, without full knowledge of Senator Sherman's financial assets within these banking institutions, the court may not be able to further adjudicate the alleged bribery case against him on grounds of merit. Nonetheless, sources within the courts further admitted that LBDI, Global and GTbank were not among the banks that were initially requested by Criminal Court "C" to provide financial records of Senator Sherman.
"Some of them were served with the documents on Tuesday, December 27, and Wednesday December 28 respectively. This is why they have not replied to the mandate," the sources clarified. "It is not that they want to disobey the court order, we also could not serve the writ earlier enough due to the holiday season," one source admitted.
It should be noted, that the January to September 30, 2010 bank statements of Counselor Sherman, which Global Witness allegedly cited as the medium that disbursed the over US$950,000 in bribes to former Speaker Alex Tyler and others by the UK mining firm, Sable Mining, are key to the merits and demerits of the bribery scandal. It should be further noted, that Senator Sherman's role was that of legal counsel to Sable Mining.
Meanwhile, the government has tirelessly argued that those documents were some of their major pieces of evidence in the further prosecution of this all important bribery case.
Among others, Global Witness also alleged that the money received from Sable's representatives were intended to facilitate a "sweet hearted access" within the Public Procurement and Concessions system, that upped Sable's chances of gaining unfettered access to the Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County, Liberia.
However, WNN was not able to verify whether or not, the scheme grants access of the endowed Wologizi Mountain to Sable Mining Company. Meanwhile, Sherman and his co-conspirators have dismissed the allegation as complete falsehood.
WNN initial examination of the Criminal Court "C" warrant, also observed, that along with the personal and business bank statements of Senator Sherman, are those of Besides the personal bank accounts of Cllr. Sherman, are those of Sable Mining, Western Cluster, Delta Mining Consolidated (Pty) Limited and West Africa Exploration. The exhaustive lists of financial statements to be surrendered to court, also includes those of Senator Morris Saytumah of Bomi County; Sumo Kupee, Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), former Grand Kru Senator, Cletus Wortoson; Former Speaker J. Alex Tyler; Rep. Henry Fahnbulleh, as well as the Chairman of the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC), Willie Belleh, and former National Investment Commission (NIC) Chairman, Richard Tolbert.