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Apr 29, 2009

C.J. hears closing arguments in former P.M.’s case

Story PictureArguments have concluded in the judicial review in the case of former Prime Minister Said Musa. The hearing began on Monday and today Senior Counsel Edwin Flowers, lead attorney for Musa wrapped up arguments before Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh, rebutting Tuesday’s submissions by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Branker-Taitt. In his presentation, Flowers maintained that there is no evidence to warrant a committal of Musa to stand trial in the Supreme Court and that Magistrate Earl Jones erred in law when he so ruled at the end of a preliminary inquiry in January. Musa was charged with the theft of ten million dollars granted to G.O.B. from the government of Venezuela. In rebutting two of the arguments made by the D.P.P. on Tuesday, Flowers told the court that a letter from Musa to the Venezuelan Bank, Bandes, was not an instruction but a request to cover government obligations and does not provide evidence of dishonesty or appropriation. Furthermore, Flowers said, for property to be appropriated, it must have been in existence and when Musa’s letter was written there was yet no grant to Belize. Flowers also argued that a deposition tendered was inadmissible since it does not satisfy Section forty-one of the Criminal Procedure Act, to which the D.P.P. responded that statements can be treated as evidence, if they were tendered at the preliminary inquiry. The hearing closed just before one this afternoon and while the D.P.P. did not make a statement, speaking on behalf of Musa, attorney Lisa Shoman told News Five, she is fully confident in their case.

Lisa Shoman, Attorney for Said Musa
“If you remember, the D.P.P. yesterday was given an opportunity to explain certain things and in fact, that only opened up even more questions for us and made it even more clear to us that our case has been what it is all along, which is that the only evidence, if you want to call it that against Mr. Musa or anything against Mr. Musa are some bald assertions that were made and there is nothing at all in the charge of theft and therefore nothing at all upon which Mr. Musa should have been committed for the charge of theft. No matter how the political directorate of this government tries to spin it, it will never be one in which Mr. Musa will be charged and convicted for theft because no theft occurred. We are very confident that the arguments we made were compelling and we very confident that the C.J. will issue certiorari and we believe that he will do this in order to quash the committal that was made by Magistrate Jones.”

A ruling is now left to be made by the Chief Justice at a date to be determined.

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