The establishment of War and economic crimes courts in Liberia has gained strength. But the begging question is while most people are shaming and naming alleged war criminals, who are those listed by the TRC as economic criminals? And what are penalties prescribed by the TRC for their alleged actions? Concord Times gives you details of what constitutes economic crimes, names of the accused and penalties as recommended by the TRC.

What constitutes Economic Crimes?
According to the TRC final report, an economic crimes is any prohibited activity committed for the purpose of generating economic gain or that in fact generates economic gain by persons and actors whose economic activities contributed to gross human rights and/or humanitarian law violations in Liberia or that otherwise perpetuated armed conflict in Liberia, as well as those who benefited economically from armed conflict in Liberia. They include public and private persons, national and private corporations, and other business entities. The TRC recommends the prosecution for economic crimes, as gross human rights violations, all those persons; natural and artificial, it finds responsible for the commission of economic crimes, during the period of the Liberian conflict.

What TRC Says About Confession To Economic Crimes?
Pursuant to accountability for economic crimes, the TRC recommends that in lieu of prosecution all perpetrators of economic crimes may apply to the Independent National Human Rights Commission to make restitution of the full sum of all gains from their engagement in such economic crimes, whether in the form of cash or assets illegally acquired, to the Government and People of Liberia. TRC says anyone who admits to the commission of economic crimes thereby eliminating the need for lengthy and expensive prosecution such, person shall benefit from mitigation of liability and sanctions, legal, judicial or otherwise.

Who are those Responsible and Recommended for Prosecution?
Oscar Cooper, Coocoo Dennis, Cora Peabody, Emmanuel Shaw, Edwin Snowe, Charles Taylor, Morris Saytumah, Demetrius Robert Taylor, Benoni Urey, Belle Dunbar, Roland Massaquoi, Nathaniel Barners, Myrtle Gibson, Lewis Brown, Mark and Keshen are amongst several foreign nationals.

Nationalization of Corporate Assets Unlawfully Acquired.
Several Local and International firms were also charged for economic crimes by the TRC. The TRC in its final report states that pursuant to prosecution for economic crimes, all corporate assets of a complicit corporate person, acquired unlawfully, shall be subject to seizure by nationalization for use for the public good only.

It also pointed out that pursuant to prosecution for economic crimes, all unlawfully acquired assets and properties of the individuals recommended for prosecution for economic crimes shall be confiscated and nationalized for the benefit of the public good. Especially so where the property acquired is from unexplained or unjustifiable sources unconnected to the income of the individual.

According to the TRC, confiscation may be necessary so as to prevent the perpetrators from using unlawfully acquired wealth to frustrate and obstruct justice to their gain and the disadvantage of the public interest.

Repatriation of Monies Unlawfully Acquired as Proceeds of Economic Crimes.
All assets subject to confiscation and nationalization but have been fraudulently conveyed, transferred or encumbered within or without Liberia, shall be subject to recovery and repatriation, where necessary, for the purpose already stated, according to the TRC.

It said anyone, individual or corporation, who conceals information or assists a perpetrator in the fraudulent concealment or conveyance of unlawfully acquired assets shall be liable for the commission of the crime of sabotage and obstruction of justice for their complicity in aiding and abetting a perpetrator in defeating the ends of justice and the public good.

TRC further sates that pursuant to public interest objectives, banks and other financial institutions shall be compelled to make disclosure of financial records and transactions when requested.

Determination on Economic Crimes
The TRC determines that all individuals, artificial or natural, armed groups or factions, their leaders and members are responsible for the commission of economic crimes against the state and its people which the TRC now determines may amount to gross human rights violations and war crimes. The TRC also determines that economic crime is unlawful under Liberian, regional, African and international laws.

The TRC determiners that the individuals, groups of persons, institution and corporate entities listed herein are responsible for committing economic crimes between January 1979 and October 14, 2003. The TRC’s definition of economies crimes comports with domestic and international law and standards. There are seventeen crimes that the TRC determined were committed during this period: (1) aiding and abetting economic criminal actors; (2) Corrupt malpractices, (3) bribery; (4) discrimination; (5) environmental crimes; (6) extortion; (7) fraud; (8) government procurement fraud; (9) illegal arms dealings; (10) illegal extraction or sale of natural resources; (11) indigenous spoliation; (12) misuse of public /funds; (13) money laundering , (14) narcotic drug trafficking; (15) smuggling and other custom violations; (16) tax evasion and (17) Unexplained wealth.

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