Liberia: Prosecutors, Comptroller Linked to the Misapplication of US$150,000 Appropriated for the Prosecution of Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott Trial

MONROVIA — Claims and counterclaims have surfaced regarding the handling of the US$150,000 allocated by the government of President George Weah to former Solicitor General Nyenati Tuan as prosecution funds for the trial of former Chief Justice Cllr. Gloria Musu-Scott and three others. These individuals were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Charloe on February 22, 2023. Cllr. Swahilo Sesay, the County Attorney of Montserrado County, has alleged misapplication of these funds.

By Garmah Lomo, Contributing Writer

The money was earmarked for transportation, feeding, and lodging of witnesses and lawyers, in the event of the case being moved from Montserrado County to another part of the country. The case was, however, not moved out of the capital as was requested by the defendants.

Cllr. Sesay maintained that a portion of the funds should have been returned to the Comptroller, given that the proceedings took place in Montserrado County. As the County Attorney, he claimed responsibility for the custody of the money but alleged that prosecuting lawyers, including Cllrs. Bobby Livingstone and Adolphus Karnuah, distributed the funds among themselves without his knowledge or consent.

Cllr. Sesay accused Solicitor General Tuan of being coerced by Cllrs. Livingstone and Karnuah into giving them the money, although Cllr. Tuan denied any improper distribution, affirming that the funds were used for their intended purpose.

Cllr. Karnuah denied receiving any money from the funds and referred inquiries to Comptroller Milton M. Gaye of the Ministry of Justice, who declined to comment due to the transitional process.

For Cllr. Livingstone, he admitted receiving US$6,000 for personal use from the funds and revealed that the actual amount received for the trial from the Comptroller was US$130,000, not US$150,000 as alleged by Cllr. Swahilo Sesay.

Comptroller Milton M. Gaye from the Ministry of Justice, when approached, acknowledged preparing the checks but withheld detailed information about the money’s distribution. Although Karnuah has referred to him as the source of information regarding who received and signed for their portion of the money Comptroller Gaye deliberately avoided providing specific recipient details.

Given that the money in question is public funds used for a public purpose, disclosure of the recipients should not be problematic. However, amidst the wrangling among some prosecutors involved in the Gloria Musu Scott et al. case and their alleged substantial benefits, some county attorneys accuse them of delaying or complicating their work.

These county attorneys have not received prosecution funds since August 2023, coinciding with the start of the Gloria Musu Scott et al. case, which raises questions about the allocation of such a large sum for a single case while other important cases await trial.

It is rumored that a significant portion of the money was distributed among the prosecutors involved in the trial, with speculation that even former Solicitor General Cllr. Nyenati Tuan received a share of US$15,000.

Amidst these controversies, Cllr. Adolphus Karnuah and Cllr. Bobby Livingstone are reportedly seeking appointments as Solicitor General and Assistant Minister for Litigation, respectively. However, questions linger about their suitability for these positions given the cloud of doubt and possible malfeasance surrounding their involvement in the prosecution funds issue.

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