“I Did Not Receive Any Amount Above My Bosses” – Cllr. Gould Clarifies Prosecution Controversial 150K Distribution By: Yassah J. Wright

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Cllr. Lafayette B. Gould, a prosecutor at Ministry of Justice, claimed that in the 150k saga at their office, he did not receive any amount of money above his bosses on the former Chief Justice Scott and three of her family members’ murder trial. The prosecution funds misappropriation scandal is being publicly played out in the absence of a new Attorney General and Minister of Justice as well as top officials yet to be confirmed and appointed in the new Unity Party government of President Joseph N. Boakai. Accordingly, there is no let-up in claims and counter claims over the way the controversial US$150,000.00 funds was expanded for the prosecution of the murder case of the late Charloe Musu, with a new revelation emerging from one of the Prosecution Lawyers at the Ministry of Justice.  Acting County Attorney of Montserrado, Swahiilo, who accused prosecutors at the Ministry of Justice of misappropriating the money, has revealed that the Comptroller at  the ministry, Milton Gaye, released the money to Solicitor General Nyanti Tuan, Cllr. Bobby Livingstone, Cllr. Adolphus  Karnuah and Cllr. Lafayette Gould and several other prosecutors. In reaction to Sassy’s accusations, Cllr.  Gould said the actual money was US$130,000, contrary to the claim that the money was US$150,000.

According to him, if he were requested for more money to be equal with Cllr. Karnuah, Livingstone, Sesay and former Solicitor General Tuan, it would not have ever been accepted by them. Cllr. Gould claimed that he received money but his share was lesser than the other prosecutors. “If I were to request for the money to be divided equally, it would not have been accepted by those guys on the team,” Cllr. Gould added. He justified that he worked for every dime that he received. Cllr. Gould said he was also part of the preparation of witnesses before trial. ” I helped in the preparation of the evidence for discovery. So how someone says that I received money that I didn’t work for?” he won dered. “I did the direct examination of the lead investigator in Anthony Blaye and I was in court when Zion Tarr and two others testified, ” Cllr. Gould said.  He maintained: “All I know is that the money was given for the trial and we received some of it for our operation.” Cllr. Gould disclosed that he received money from the prosecution fund of former Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott murder trial but not equal to both Cllrs. Karnuah, Sesay, Livingstone and former SG Tuan. “If the government believed that I deserve having huge amount, what’s the issue? If I got a dime, it means that I deserve it because of the role I played. “ Also, Cllr. Bobby Livingstone in his recent press conference admitted of receiving US6,000 of his share of the prosecution fund in the Gloria Musu Scott murder trial. Similarly, Cllr. Adolphus  Karnuah also admitted  receiving  US7,000. Both Karnuah and Livingstone said  Acting County Attorney of Montserrado Sesay received between US$4,000 to US$4,500 and it is on the records at Ministry of Justice. Cllr. Karnuah also described the Acting County Attorney for Montserrado, as a Sierra Leonean crooked who wants to make himself relevant in Liberia. Cllr. Karnuah said that his research has established that Cllr. Sesay and his father are Sierra Leoneans and he went to school in Sierra Leone that’s why he wants to polish himself as a Liberian. “Let these go forth that Acting County Attorney Swahilo Sesay, a Sierra Leonean national seeking relevance cannot do so at the detriment of the repetition and integrity of his colleagues for the purpose of seeking personal vendetta,” Cllr. Karnuah noted. He revealed that it is a normal practice at the Ministry of Justice, Prosecution fundings were allotted and given from the Ministry coffers for the trial of the Central Bank Liberia (CBL), Cyber Mining; Angel Tokpah; Charles Julu; Charles Gyude Bryant and many other cases for the purpose of underwriting the costs of those trials. Cllr. Karnuah stressed that at no time did he misapplied and siphon prosecution funds intended for other County Attorneys of the fourteen political subdivisions of the country as being insinuated and claimed by Cllr. Sesay. He said each County Attorney of Liberia is paid their prosecution funds straightly through checks or bank transfer and not through his office. Cllr. Karnuah noted that he is entitled to his own prosecution fund which he periodically signs for in written checks whenever said funds is available. The Ministry of Justice Director for Litigation, stated that Cllr. Sesay is a wounded beast searching for anyone to devour for the sole reason of being told to vacate the office of the County Attorney of Montserrado, something he desperately rejects. “I have no personal problem with Cllr. Sesay as he is a junior lawyer and a younger friend of mine, what I find difficult to comprehend is his callous, reckless and dishonest characterization of his professional colleagues squarely for his desperate attempt to maintain the position of County Attorney of Montserrado, when in fact and indeed he has got no legal justification to cling onto the position,” Cllr. Karnuah stressed. Cllr. Karnuah noted that Cllr. Sesay was appointed as Acting County Attorney of Montserrado during the dying days of former President George M. Weah regime, and a letter which was copied along with Cllr. Bobby Livingstone by the officer in charge; advised Cllr. Sesay to stay away from the office of the County Attorney of Montserrado and turn all government properties in his possession over to the relevant personal in the office of the County Attorney. He revealed that the letter motivated Cllr. Sesay to resort to besmear the good character and image of him (Karnuah) and other Prosecutors they consider to be behind  said letter. The counselor said in Cllr. Sesay onslaught against him and other Prosecutors, he continues to lie and misinform the public that he(Karnuah) along with other Prosecutors received the amount of US$150, 000.00(One Hundred Fifty Thousand United States Dollars) and misapplied same and Sesay numerous publications have failed to state who received said amount  and for what purpose. It can be re-called in the case involving former Chief Justice of Liberia, Gloria Musa-Scott and others murder trial, the acting County Attorney of Montserrado, Cllr. Swahilo Sesay, has accused prosecutors who were representing the Ministry of Justice (MoJ ) of siphoning US$150, 000 intended for the Charloe Musu’s murder trial. Cllr. Sesay’s accusation comes after Criminal Court ‘A’ convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, former Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott and several of her family members of murdering Charloe. The funds distributed, according to Sesay, was released by Comptroller Milton Gaye to the former Solicitor General Counselor Nyanti Tuan for presentation to him, but at that time, he was facing the Supreme Court’s one month suspension from the practices of law in the country . It was intended to transport, feed and lodge lawyers and witnesses if the case were to be transferred from Montserrado County to any other courts outside of Monrovia. But, according to him, their contention to transfer the case did not materialise which the lawyers were expected to refund some of the monies. Cllr. Sesay accused Counselors Bobby Livingston, the head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Adolphus Karnuah, a former County Attorney, Aloysious Allison and the Solicitor General of diverting the funds to their personal use.

However, the accused prosecutors have so far denied the allegations terming it as “baseless and untrue.” Sesay also claimed that the funds was distributed right before his own eyes by the accused prosecutors. “Livingston, Karnuah, former Cllr. Nyanti Tuan and the other prosecutors distributed the money right in front of me,” Sesay alleged. Sesay claimed that prior to the distribution of the funds; he was facing a month suspension by the Supreme Court. He further claimed that after the accused prosecutors shared the funds among themselves; he was left to single handedly fund the expenses associated with the proceedings. “I provided my personal money to transport the Pathologist to visit the homes of Cllr Scott. I also paid for the transportation of the Correction officers who did the presenting investigation,” Sesay alleges. “Let any of them deny that.” When the reporter contacted Cllr. Tuan, he denied sharing the money with the other prosecutors, although the funds were intended to facilitate lawyers and witnesses from Monrovia to where the case would have been transferred during to prejudice.

“The funds meet its intended purposes,” Cllr. Tuan clarified.  For his part, Cllr. Karnuah denied the allegations of his involvement. “I did not receive a dime from the money, “Karnuah  said. But, he failed to provide further explanation of the money, instead he referred the reporters to Comptroller Gaye. When Gaye was contacted, he said he cannot comment on the matter.  As for Livingston, he argued that he has no role to the management of money.  “I am from Financial Intelligence Unit and I have nothing to do with money related to murder cases. If it was for financially related matter I would have commented,” Livingstone clarified.  According to him, Sesay does not have knowledge of the working of the Ministry of Justice. “Sesay is ignorant when it comes to prosecutors funds and the working of the Ministry,” he claimed that  Sesay’s allegations is untrue and baseless. Also, Allison denied playing major role in the murder trial when contacted. “I was not active with the matter asked anyone of them,” Allison claimed. But he did explain about the reason for his inactiveness as one of the lead lawyers for Criminal Court ‘A Meanwhile, Cllr. Livingstone stated that Cllr. Sesay should leave that post as Acting County Attorney by now because President George M. Weah told all of his appointees to step down on January 22, 2024 instead, he is passing impersonating. He said the total money that went to the Ministry of Justice was US$130k, and that money went to the comptroller of the Ministry, they decided it in to departments. He revealed that Cllr. Sesay received US$3,000 of that money and he (Livingstone) received US$6,000 and the records of their receipts are to the Ministry of Justice. Cllr. Livingstone stated that Cllr. Sesay joined the case during the final argument period after his suspension was lift up by the Supreme Court of Liberia. Cllr. Livingstone said Sesay knows nothing about prostituting and he should step down because his time as Acting County Attorney is over.

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