The Liberian government has indicted former head of s tate, Gyude Bryant, along with two legislators and two former officials of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) for “crimes of economic sabotage, theft of property; bribery and criminal conspiracy”.
Montserrado county Senator Edwin Snowe, Bomi county representative Richard Divine and two former officials who also served under Snowe, when he was managing director of the LPRC before his election as senator in 2005, are on the indictment list which also includes Siaka Sheriff, former controller of LPRC and Andy Gqumie who was Snowe’s special assistant.
Their trial is set for this week after preliminary hearings, which Bryant failed to attend, took place at the Monrovia magisterial court last Friday.
According to the indictment, published Monday in the private daily ‘The Inquirer newspaper’ here, the five accused persons, between March 2004 and up to January 2006, “without any colour of right and fear of God and in violation of the statutory laws of the country, feloniously, criminally, maliciously pilferred, took away and converted sundry amounts from various accounts of the LPRC under various schemes”.
The document alleged that the defendants committed the “crimes to the value of US$ 923,500 for theft of property and economic sabotage, inclusive of US$ 214,500 for bribery, an act also constituting criminal conspiracy”.
“The accused carried out unauthorised withdrawals of the corporation’s funds and did not use the money for legitimate and legal LPRC expenses, but instead, mismanaged the money and converted it to improper and illegal uses, the indictment charged.