CCTV Footage Shows Customs Staff Receive US$500 Bribe

first_imgClosed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage authorized by Criminal Court ‘C’ yesterday to be viewed by jurors has revealed defendants Joseph Weeks and Linda Sumowood, as persons receiving US$500 as a bribe from one Varney Johnson.Johnson is believed to be a customs broker for businessman Abraham Gumbaja Sinayoko.Weeks and Sumowood were both assigned at the Customs Business Office at the Free Port of Monrovia. They are charged with multiple crimes, including economic sabotage, bribery and criminal facilitation.They were said to have demanded and received the money from Sinayoko, who had shipped into the country a container of assorted commodities, with the pretense that Sinayoko owed government additional duties amounting to US$2,352.91, for which they needed the US$500 to cancel.In his testimony as prosecution’s second witness, Sumo Kalaplee said he viewed the footage, but said he was not at the Free Port when the pair allegedly received the money.He further testified that the footage presented in court was the same that he had previously viewed when a copy was made from the surveillance system’s server immediately after the incident.Kalaplee’s testimony appeared to be very similar to the one that prosecution’s first witness, LNP officer Albert Peters had provided.Officer Peters testified that before arresting the two customs officers, he spotted Weeks receiving money from Varney Johnson, believed to be Sinayoko’s broker.The incident prompted Peters to ask Weeks to step out from behind his counter, but while leaving the counter, the defendant also allegedly dropped the money on Sumowood’s counter, who later took possession of it.Further to Kalaplee’s testimony, Peters claimed that while he was on one of his daily routines, he received information that two of his employees and a police officer, identified as Albert Peters, were engaged in a serious confusion over a bribery allegation.Weeks and Sumowood had initially argued that Peters falsely accused them of receiving an envelope that contained US$500 from Varney Johnson, of which they claimed they had no knowledge.“I hurriedly arrived at the port and was briefed by the parties, so I suggested that since this was an allegation on somebody receiving money, we all should allow everybody to view the CCTV to see what went wrong,” Kalaplee explained.“The parties and myself proceeded into the chief collector’s office, and we started to play the CCTV footage in which we came to a point where it clearly identified defendant Weeks, through the window of his assigned desk, receiving an envelope from one Varney Johnson,” the witness alleged.Kalaplee alleged that when Weeks received the envelope he immediately opened it and checked the content, clearly seen on the footage, before putting it in his pocket.The witness claimed that after officer Peters spotted Weeks in the footage, it was then that he asked him to step out from behind his desk.“Sumowood, being aware that a criminal investigation was being carried out by officer Peters, folded the US$500 and walked away with the intention to frustrate the investigation,” the state witness claimed.The case continues.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgDONEGAL County Council is being urged today to overturn a ban on discussions of a controversial Compulsory Purchase Order.Sinn Fein councillor Jack Murray had been advised by council officials that he couldn’t include the issue of a new sewage pipe proposal for Moville at next Tuesday’s meeting of the Inishowen Electoral Area.However Cllr Murray has asked those officials to re-examine their decision. The ongoing dispute over the waste water treatment plant and disposal pipe in Moville is now in the High Court as campaigners seek a judicial review of a decision to give it the go-ahead.But the completely separate issue on the compulsory purchase of Dan McGuinness’s land on the peninsula has been banned from discussion at the Inishowen Electoral Area meeting next Tuesday.Sinn Fein councillor Jack Murray has been warned that he cannot discuss the issue because he has been told it is sub judice – in other words prejudicial to the High Court case which is heard before a judge.Today Cllr Murray told “I have raised the controversial Waste Water Treatment Plant in Carnagarve and voiced my opposition to the council’s proposals at almost every Inishowen Electoral Area Committee meeting since I joined the council last year. I feel very strongly that this matter needs to be discussed. “I have been in regular contact with the Community for a Clean Estuary group and after discussing recent developments with them, I made the request for the CPO in Carnagarve to be placed on the agenda for the next meeting of the IEAC.“I was advised by council officials that this could not be done as they feel that the case should be treated as sub-judice. As I am not a lawyer, I spoke to Dan McGuinness who then sought legal advice on the matter and subsequently forwarded that advice to the council.“I followed up on that email and again requested that the item was placed on the agenda.”Mr McGuinness also claims the authorities are ignoring the fact that the foreshore of Lough Foyle is owned by the UK.“The item specifically to be included on the agenda for next Tuesday’s Inishowen Electoral Area Committe meeting is ‘Greencastle/Moville Sewage Outfall compulsory purchase order,” Mr McGuinness. “There were two separate applications made by Donegal County Council, one for the WWTP and separately, one for CPOs, ref 05XA0002, for the acquisition of lands needed.“These were determined separately under their separate reference numbers. The WWTP approval was judicially reviewed on 6th October 2011. The CPO confirmed by  on 12th August 2011, was not judicially reviewed and neither was it referred to in the pleadings supporting the Judicial Review Application. As things currently stand, the Compulsory Purchase Application is not under legal challenge.“In these factual circumstances, Donegal County Council cannot apply the Sub Judice rule as it is clear that no element of that order is currently before the court.”He has taken legal advice on what he claims is a denial of his democratic rights. “I have spoken to my solicitor and his clear unambiguous view is that this item on the agenda CAN be discussed as it is not part of any ongoing court proceedings. It is not sub judice,” said Mr McGuinness.He added: “Cllr Murray has been a constant supporter of me and local residents in our opposition to these plans.”Meanwhile the UK claim on land on the Donegal side of Lough Foyle up to the high water mark remains a bitter part of the dispute.LEAVE YOUR COMMENT BELOW© 2012, all Rights ReservedThe copying, republication or redistribution of Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited by law.Follow us on us on PIPE CONTROVERSY: COUNCILLOR IN BID TO OVERTURN DISCUSSION BAN was last modified: March 9th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Lough FoylemovilleSEWAGE PIPE CONTROVERSY: COUNCILLOR IN BID TO OVERTURN DISCUSSION BANlast_img read more