Sunday, 3 April 2011

First Place Battle- Is UP Gov’t, Politicizing Togba Mulbah’s Trial to oust him at Polls?

David B. Kolleh,, (231 631 0032)

As the trial of  the Deputy Speaker of the 52nd National Legislature Togba Mulbah  proceeds at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, party officials of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and some Politicians of the opposition block are terming the trial of the Deputy Speaker as being more political than legal. 
Reports from Bong County say, Deputy Speaker Mulbah is a victim of an intense political struggle between the ruling Party and the Congress for Democratic Change in Bong County. UP already has  one of its partisans within Mulbah’s District prepearing to oust him at this year’s polls, allegadly using his ongoing trial as a stage.

The Deputy Speaker of the National Legislature was taken to court by the state on charges of attempted murder, after he allegadly ordered the beating of a Police Officer Lexington Beh, following a controversial truck seizure issue between his men and the Police officer more than five months ago.
Though, the Deputy Speaker has been criticized by people from the public for telling security men assigned  to him to beat the officer, he maintains the men did were acting on their own.

Mr. Acarous Gray, Secretary Genaral of the Congress for Democtartic Change (CDC) told Journalists more than two weeks ago that their partisan’s involvement into the Police officer’s beating saga was given so much attention by government because, he was from the opposition block, and it was intended to reduce his chances for reelection in  Bong County.

The CDC Secretary General said his party was not against the Deputy Speaker going to court but said the party is keen in insuring that their partisan gets a fair trial.

CDC Wants Fair Trail 

 “We want a fair trial and justice in this matter because the current regime (government) is engaging in witch-hunting and selective justice for those it perceives as strong opponents or hard-core politicians refusing to join the ruling party for which Liberia can become a one party state again,” Mr. Gray stated in a strong tone.
He noted that there were some public officials of the Sirleaf Administration who committed heinous crimes, but the government did not only refuse, but deliberately ignored their arrest and trial for justice.

Political Trail 
In 2006, according to Mr. Gray there was a murder allegedly involving former Deputy Director of the Special Security Service, Ashford Pearl and former Director, now Immigration Commissioner Christopher Massaquoi at the home of the latter, but there was no prosecution.
"At the centre of the sad event was a Special Security Service (SSS) officer shot and killed at the home of Chris Massaquoi on GSA Road in Paynesville, but up to present, the two continue to go free in Monrovia and its environs,” the CDC chief scribe noted.

Because the two individuals are confidants of the presidency and members of the ruling Unity Party, according to Gray, the death of the SSS personnel went into oblivion.
Gray maintained that the CDC will stand-by Deputy Speaker Togba Mulbah until the dead end of the matter.
“He is being put on trial because of his refusal to join the Unity Party as requested by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf  on several occasions, and since the last time he rejected such a request, he was told that he would be taught a lesson,” Gray claimed.

The CDC fears manipulations in the trial, considering its political nature.

The Deputy Speaker’s case is being heard by Criminal court ‘A’ presided over by Judge James Zota on eight charges as claimed by the Government of Liberia, including  obstruction of government’s activity by a public servant, preventing arrest and discharge of order and duty, physical obstruction of government’s functions and aggravated assault. Others are Criminal conspiracy, theft of property, hindering law enforcement and criminal mischief.

The decision by the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf-led administration to take Deputy Speaker Mulbah to court is against the backdrop of the July 10, 2010 incident in which it alleged that the Deputy Speaker ordered the flogging of Patrolman Lexington Beh of the National Police, who reportedly impounded his truck at a police checkpoint for plying the RIA route without traffic lights.

On the morning of July 11, 2010, troops of the Police Special Unit, led by Deputy Police Director for Operations Al Karley, invaded the home of Mulbah at Fish market to arrest him, but was prevented by UNMIL, some members of the House of Representatives and supporters of the CDC.

 Different Testimonies in Court

The State on Monday, March 21, produced two medical personnel to give accounts into the ongoing trial of Deputy Speaker Mulbah and others at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.
ELWA’s Registered Nurse Louise Dahn and J. Fallah Moses, Medical Doctor at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital testified before Criminal Court ‘A’ giving separate accounts. The J.F.K. Doctor said he saw bruises on Officer Lexington Beh, as testified by previous witnesses. But he said Officer Beh’s uniform was muddy, and not torn up.

Doctor Moses further said that the victim was stable when he was transferred to the J. F. K. Hospital. As for the ELWA registered nurse, she told the court that she did not observe bruises on Officer Beh upon arrival at the hospital initially. A Medical report from the ELWA Hospital says Officer Beh was conscious, but his clothing were muddy and torn up at the time of his admission.

In Lexington Beh’s testimony last Friday, March 18, 2011, he told the court that he could not give account of anything that happened at the checkpoint after he was beaten by Togba Mulbah’s Men on July 10, 2010.
Count one (1) on the defendants’ indictment narrates that they beat Officer Beh and got him helpless before throwing him down unconscious from the pickup which had no license plate.

The Prosecution in its agreement before the court said after Lexington Beh was beaten on July 10, 2010, he was first taken to the ELWA Hospital for medical care, but due to the severity of his injuries, he was transferred to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital where he continued his treatment.

Count three (3) of the indictment also reveals that after Officer Beh was identified to Deputy Speaker Mulbah by the impounded Truck operator that he was the one who had impounded the truck, defendant Togba Mulbah allegedly moved on him and assaulted him before ordering his men to beat him. The situation is reported to have occurred while Officer Beh and three others were on duty, Manning a night checkpoint in the Thinkers’ Village area.