The transcripts of the trial of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia. More…

  • [On former affirmation]

  • Good morning, Mr Taylor.

  • Sir, I wish to remind you of some prior testimony that you have given during your direct examination and the first passage which I'll read to you comes from 11 August beginning at page 26498. I believe it starts at the last five lines.

  • Your Honour, do you wish me to wait for a signal that - before I proceed to read these passages?

  • We'll just wait to see if he's got them first, Mr Koumjian.

  • Just to repeat, it's 11 August, page 26498:

  • Sir, you were asked by your counsel and this is I believe five lines up from the bottom:

    "Q. You left office which year?

    A. No, no, '93. I'm talking - this thing got me so upset

    - 2003, excuse me. Two years before I left office I was

    accused of amassing billions so I put that back to 2001,

    2002. Until today, recently as - as recent as a few months

    back I heard the Chief Prosecutor of the Sierra Leone Court

    talking about millions and billions. No one - no human

    being from 2001 until now has ever come up and said, 'Here

    is a bank account with a million dollars belonging to

    Mr Taylor.' It is just hanging out there. That's all you

    get."

    Before I ask you any further questions, I want to refer to you two other passages. The second is from 20 July, page 24837. I'm going to begin on line 18 when it's ready.

  • I think it's ready now.

  • Mr Taylor, on that line you said:

    "Listen, there is something about - I've been using certain terminologies and what I know, you know, the demonisation and they make you look like you are some scum of the earth so they can destroy you. Nonsense. Listen, I am a Pan-African revolutionary and I have respect for myself. Look, all this thing to try to make thee look like a scum in order - listen, never. Not Charles Ghankay Taylor. This is all why we have seen this and my record is clear. You know all this thing in the public eye. Charles Taylor stole millions of dollars. He has assets scattered around the world. The same lies and constructs to make you appear worse than human until today and I sit in this Hague today before these honourable judges and I challenge the United Nations, I challenge any human being or organisation in this world - I mean on this planet to bring one bank account that Charles Taylor has money in. They continue to lie. I have heard the Prosecutor blatantly lie saying we found millions. Bring the millions here. Please, today, if you have any. If there is any bank anywhere in the world, in Europe, Switzerland, wherever, that has an account - a numbered account for Charles Taylor or anyone associated with me that brought money to you, I urge you today to come forward here in this Europe and bring it. If anyone anywhere on the planet knows of a building or any property in Europe or the United States, please, you're authorised to come forward today. They can hear it throughout the world. This lie about Taylor. I'm supposed to be such a scumbag that people bring me diamonds and nothing but a mayonnaise jar. How much more can they demonise me? How much more? I challenge them today to bring any evidence. It's a lie. Never brought me any diamonds in nothing just as there are no bank accounts anywhere in the world. I will tell anybody, if a bank account is found anywhere in the world that has any money belonging to Charles Taylor, then Charles Taylor has lied. His whole life is a lie."

    The next passage I wish to read to you is from 3 August. It begins on page 25847, line 3. Your counsel had been reading from a speech you gave in France in November 1998 that was on page 142 of the presidential papers, but the question begins on line 3, page 25847, 3 August. On 3 August, your counsel asked you:

    "Q. ... Pause there. Let's confront that too, Mr Taylor.

    The popular image of you is of someone running a country

    and lining your pocket in the process; that you were

    involved in a little personal enterprise. What do you say

    about that?

    A. I would say that is total falsehood and total nonsense.

    Look, we are in a court of law. I have heard these

    accusations before. Taylor is supposed to have robbed the

    Liberian treasury dry and Taylor - I can still remember I

    was by this time in Nigeria and the Gyude Bryant who led

    the transitional government, the name is on the record, was

    at a donors conference in Washington DC and the former

    Secretary of State of the United States, a very good man,

    Colin Powell, in describing me or my activities at that

    time said that he has assets scattered around the world.

    We have since heard about Taylor with billions. How long

    has it been?

    The issue of money, having it or not having it, is about

    ten years old now. I was still President of Liberia when I

    was accused of amassing billions. I went on the national

    radio and I announced to the Liberian people - I said to

    them if any human on this planet earth goes to any bank

    anywhere in the world and brings one bank account of

    $100,000 belonging to Charles Taylor, I said I will resign

    the office of President. It's been ten years.

    I've heard the United Nations has passed asset freeze, all

    these things. All these asset freeze, what bank accounts

    have the United Nations ever come up with and said, oh,

    guess what, here is a former bank account of Charles Taylor

    or here is what is in it.

    You know, we're in this Court in Europe and this may be the

    only time I may have to really - for the world to hear from

    me. This situation in the world where people just get up

    and make up things, unsubstantiated allegations. You'll

    just hear it one day, boom, Mr Taylor is this. And you

    will be working for the rest of your life trying to

    straighten it up and it never gets straightened up. Nobody

    ever brings factual evidence, but it is repeated and

    repeated and repeated until people - it begins to sound

    like it's true.

    I have heard the Chief Prosecutor of this Court talk about

    monies of Taylor. I challenge him again here today in this

    Court that he is Chief Prosecutor, bring one bank account.

    Bring any evidence from any financial institution. There

    is none. Let the gentleman come forward and say, 'Well,

    here is an account belonging to Charles Taylor. He had it,

    but even he closed it years ago'. Bring anything."

    Do you recall - Mr Taylor, do you believe that I've read accurately from your testimony?

  • Very much so. Yes, I do.

  • Sir, when you told the Liberian people that if anyone found an account with $100,000 in it you would resign, when was that?

  • Oh, that was back at - I will put it to what? 2000. I will put it to thereabout.

  • Sir, when you were President were you referred to as "His Excellency" at times?

  • And in correspondence was that sometimes abbreviated by the initials "HE"?

  • Were you ever addressed then as "HE Charles G Taylor"?

  • No, they would not just say - they would just say "His Excellency Charles G Taylor" in addressing me.

  • When you were President would your business address have been the Executive Mansion?

  • Yes. If I had a business the address would be at the Executive Mansion.

  • Sir, you were President of Liberia at that time, correct?

  • And what was the address of your office as President of Liberia?

  • You lived at that residence that was named White Flower at that time, correct?

  • During the time you were President - during times when you were President did you live at a residence called White Flower that was in Congo Town?

  • Mr Taylor, you did have a bank account at the Liberian Bank For Development and Investment, isn't that true?

  • In your name, correct?

  • And this was a personal chequing account. Is that correct?

  • Your Honours, I would like to show the first document in the bundle that was distributed last Wednesday to Mr Taylor. The document at tab 1.

  • I think we should see those documents as well. We don't have them.

  • They are being distributed now. I'll distribute the packets now.

  • Can I indicate, Mr President, your Honours, that so far as this disclosure bundle is concerned, before my learned friend refers to the document behind divider 14 there is a matter of law that I would like to raise in relation to that.

  • Yes, that's understood and I will be sure to alert counsel before I get to that document:

  • Mr Taylor, I'm directing your attention to the document at tab 1. We see that it's labelled Liberian Bank For Development and Investment, Monrovia, Liberia, new account application. It then states names number 1, and there's only a number 1, Charles G Taylor. Home address, Congo Town. Business address, Executive Mansion. Looking down the form there are several blank boxes and then it states initial deposit, US $1,000. Next below that is an applicant signature and then the date 8 December 1999. Mr Taylor, do you recognise your signature as being the signature in the box for applicant signature?

  • That is correct. That is me.

  • I believe the microphone is not activated for Mr Taylor.

  • Oh, I'm sorry. That is correct. It is my signature.

  • Let's go to tab 2. Just as a way of explanation, we have a poor copy of what appears to be a signature card and then a better copy of what appears to be the same card with another --

  • Mr Koumjian, before you go on to another tab or another document, I haven't quite understood from the records what is this document that we've just looked at? What is it?

  • This is a new account application at the Liberian Bank of Development and Investment and I would also note it shows an initial deposit of $1,000, it's dated 8 December 1999 and at the bottom is written in hand a number. It says C/A number 32851-01.

  • And does Mr Taylor agree with your statements of the evidence? Is this Mr Taylor's evidence or is this your interpretation of the document? In other words, have you put this to the accused? Because I'm reading it. I don't know - where it says C/A number and then a number. I don't know what that is. Is that part of the record or is that something someone added?

  • Your Honour, I will get to that later - the significance of that number later in my examination. I think it will be clearer than asking Mr Taylor now. What I have simply asked him is whether he recognises his signature on the form that's stated as a new account application. But could I ask that the document be marked for identification at this time?

  • Madam Court Manager, do you have an MFI number there?

  • Your Honour, it would be MFI-305.

  • Thank you. That document is marked for identification MFI-305.

  • If Mr Taylor could please be shown the documents behind tab 2:

  • Perhaps Mr Taylor to deal with - to properly address the Justice's concern, do you have any comment to make about what this document I just showed you behind tab 1, MFI-305, what that is?

  • Well, this is going to take a little bit of time but I'll go through it. The document, your Honours, behind tab 1 is only the smallest part of the issue dealing with this bank account. I'm waiting for Mr Koumjian to go further because looking at that document it really doesn't say anything. That is my signature. But the full document, I'm sure he will come to it as we go a little further. I recognise my signature on that document. That document is only part of the entire puzzle that he is trying to impeach that I did not have a bank account, which I did not have a personal bank account. But as we go further we will see that, so I will give him an opportunity to go further.

  • Thank you. Let's do exactly what you suggest, Mr Taylor, and put the puzzle together and then we'll get your comments. Behind tab 2 there is a photocopy of an LBDI chequing account signature card. It's a very poor quality. The same card then appears on the bottom with another card on the second page, just to explain why it's repeated, just because of the quality.

  • That is correct.

  • Sir, first of all, we see - so let's use the second page which is the better copy.

  • We see at the bottom half something that says Liberian Bank For Development and Investment, LBDI, chequing account signature card. The account title, Charles G Taylor. The account number 00201-32851-01. It then has printed Charles G Taylor and a specimen signature. Sir, is that your signature?

  • And the printing by the way, is that your printing for Charles G Taylor?

  • It's dated 8 December 1999. Do you agree?

  • Now, above this on the same page appears to be another card. The account number is the same. The account title is different only in that it states HE Charles G Taylor. And the authorised signature printed is "Kaddieyatu Darrah". First of all, Mr Taylor, of course is this the Kadiatu Diarra that has previously been mentioned in your testimony?

  • That is correct.

  • She was your special assistant. Is that correct?

  • Do you recognise her signature in the line for the specimen signature?

  • And it is dated 15 December 1999, one week after your signature, correct?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, I would like to go to tab - perhaps the two-page document can be given the next MFI number, which I believe would be 306.

  • We'll mark the first document referred to which is a fairly illegible copy of an LBDI chequing account signature card, that will be MFI-306A and the second document that's just been referred to is MFI-306B.

  • Perhaps before we leave these, Mr Taylor, if we could just note that the account number listed on these signature cards, the last seven digits, that is 3285101, is what was written on the bottom of MFI-305, the new account application, what was handwritten. Now if Mr Taylor could be shown tab 4. Sir, tell me when you're ready?

  • I'm ready.

  • Sir, we see that this document is entitled the Liberian Bank For Development and Investment with an address in Monrovia, Liberia, debit ticket. The date which is handwritten appears to me to be 7/18/00. And there's remark under a box called debit, RAD 211112. Then it states offset credit, in the next box to the right Charles G Taylor and then there's a number 0020132851-01. The details are a little difficult to read. I'll do my best and if you disagree with how I'm reading the handwriting please correct me. Actually I cannot make out the first word. "Basing" or something like that?

  • I can't help I think.

  • Then REF number. And then it appears to be C0001991535601. Then it says - the letters appear to me to be INDGOLB/O. Those are three separate words or three separate groupings of initials. Natura Holdings and PTE Limited?

  • As per - and I cannot make out that word - W/LD, 7/17/00, and then handwritten, one million, nine hundred, ninety nine thousand, nine hundred seventy-five dollars. Then we see amount in figures, US dollars, this is in numerals, $1,999,975. Do you believe I've read this correctly?

  • Yes. I will say yes.

  • Sir, Natura Holdings --

  • Mr Koumjian, I for one would like to hear from the accused. If he knows this document, if he could read out to us, because obviously some words you couldn't read. So when he says, "Yes, you've read it correctly," I would like a clearer reading of this document. I can't read this document and I'm not satisfied with the way you've gap read it, but if the accused can give us a better reading of this document, I think I would do with that. If he can't, that's a different story.

    Mr Taylor, could you please read for us this document, if you can?

  • Yes. To the best of my ability, because this is not my handwriting, but I'll read it. This is a debit ticket dated July 18, 2000. You have offset credit and that box reads, Government of Liberia, GOL. That's what GOL means, Government of Liberia-00-201-32851-01. To the left a debit box has RAD 211112. Now, I too cannot make out the first word. That's RAD or RAD, reference number C0001991535601 IMD - GOL, Government of Liberia, B/0 Natura Holding and PTE Limited as per copy - I can't make out that - 17 - I mean 7/17/2000, one million, nine hundred ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and seventy-five dollars, in words. And the numbers in the box below, amount in figures, United States dollars, $1,999,975.

  • Mr Taylor, Natura Holdings is a business familiar to you, correct?

  • And that is, correct me if I am wrong, owned by or was partially owned by Guus Kouwenhoven. Is that right?

  • That business was engaged in the timber business in Liberia, correct?

  • Now, Mr Taylor, you recall telling us in your testimony that all funds received from businesses in the timber business in Liberia must, by law, be deposited into the Central Bank?

  • No, I said revenues. I did not say all timber, because I told this Court that there were accounts that were set up that timber money did go into and I can give the reference. On December 1 in this Court I mentioned to this Court, page 32804, I mentioned Guus and monies being deposited in a special operational account. So I have told the Court that monies did go into an operational account and this is the account.

  • Sir, let's go to MFI-193. If that could be shown --

  • Before you move from that document, Mr Koumjian --

    Mr Taylor, you have read the box stating offset, brackets, credit, brackets, and you read it as Government of Sierra Leone, GOL.

  • Of Liberia, my mistake. Apologies. But to my reading, there appears to me to be a line through GOL and an initial at the side and a name above that.

  • The name above that is Charles Taylor. That is an initial, okay, and the initial, apparently by signing, that's how it got crossed. But GOL is there and GOL is repeated.

    Now, we're about to move, your Honour. I have not answered the Prosecution's - I had said before that exhibit behind number 1, 2 and 3, that after the Prosecutor exhibited them, then I will answer his question regarding what really this is, because the picture that he has given is not the full picture. So if I may be permitted now to answer his question.

  • Mr Taylor, why don't you go ahead and tell me what you want to say about this deposit into your account at LBDI.

  • Which deposit? Which of the documents?

  • The debit ticket behind tab 4:

  • Do you want to talk now, Mr Taylor, or would you like me to go through the rest of the --

  • Yes. It's very important, your Honours, these are financial documents that will take our time because what the Prosecution seeks to impeach is the fact that I said I had no personal account and I had no personal account. If you look behind divider 2 in that bundle that he gave, that he has exhibited and marked, you will see there, your Honours, that Kadiatu Diarra and Charles Taylor have the same bank account. This account, if you look at the first - at the top of the page where Kadiatu Diarra signs, the account number is the same, 201-32851-01. If you look at the bottom of that page, you will see my signature on a signature card that gives - that is signed on December 8. It's the same account number 201-32851-01.

    Now, what does that tell us? This account is a Government of Liberia account. I am a signatory to that account. Kadiatu is a signatory. If your Honours look at the top of that page, as you come below Kadiatu Diarra's name, you will see number, combinations of signatures required. I'm not sure if I can - if I can better go on this thing.

  • We can see it clearly, Mr Taylor.

  • Okay. Very good. You see there, your Honour, it says "anyone". "Anyone". There are two signatures on this account. Any one of the two. It is an operational account being operated by the Government of Liberia. It is not mine. So when you go now behind divider number 4 and you look at the deposit from Natura, and the Prosecution has exhibited documents that showed that that deposit went through the Finance Ministry. In their bundle that they gave, you will see that in that box it states Government of Liberia on line 1. As we're going through, it further indicates for the second time GOL means Government of Liberia. It is not my personal account. Never was and never will be.

    So that's what I wanted to bring into focus. That's why even on the deposit it is stated Government of Liberia.

  • Mr Taylor, in fact, the account is entitled only in your name, Charles G Taylor, correct?

  • No, that is not correct.

  • Let's go back, sir, to the first document behind tab 1, the new account application. Now, we've already pointed out what the names are on the account, one name, Charles G Taylor. But let's look at the box that states type of account requested, check one. And we see an X next to the third line down. "United States dollars personal chequing account." Is that correct, Mr Taylor?

  • That is correct. So what's the question?

  • Sir, let's look at some testimony you gave on 26 August at page 27448, beginning at line 17. Again, that's 26 August 2009, page 27448, line 17. And at that time I believe - actually, your counsel is reading from MFI-193. And I'm sorry I don't have the page reference within the MFI, but from the transcript he read:

    "It is important to clarify" --

  • I don't think that transcript is in front of you yet.

  • Not yet. I'm sure it will come up, your Honour.

  • It's 26 August, 27448.

  • Your Honour, that page does not correspond to that transcript.

  • I'll come back to that later then. Thank you:

  • Sir, let's look at another document concerning this account, and that would be behind tab 5. It is entitled "Statement of Account". I'll wait until everyone has it.

  • I think everybody has tab 5 in front of them.

  • It's entitled "Statement of Account Liberian Bank For Development and Investment" and it gives the address. It then gives the accounts number. I won't repeat it. We've read it before. The name, Taylor, Charles G. US dollar chequing accounts personal. Mr Taylor, if this account belonged to the Government of Liberia, why is it in your name as your personal account?

  • Very, very clear. I've explained this and I'm sure these financial records will be understood. Mr Koumjian, this account is opened by the President on authorisation and countersigned - Kadiatu Diarra is not my wife. She is not my lover. She works for the Government of Liberia. The only reason why she is signing and is capable of signing, that's what that form said, anyone that is capable of signing that, because she's acting on behalf of her government under instructions. That's the only reason why she is on this account. So the fact that it says here - this, your Honour, is a covert account opened up by the Government of Liberia during this period, and I've gone through this and you will get to see where the Government of Liberia is finding means, okay, to purchase arms and ammunition to fight our war after we have informed the United Nations. And so there's a government official - it has to be opened in my name as President Charles Taylor, but it is operated by a government official for the purpose intended as a covert account. That's why those two accounts. So the fact that it says here United States dollars or chequing, the documents will show monies going into that account as Government of Liberia - is shown as Government of Liberia and there's another official that has a single signature that can operate this account. That is not my wife, that is not my lover or anything but an employee of the Government of Liberia. That's why it is covert. That's why it states this way.

  • Mr Taylor, Kadiatu Diarra was your loyal personal assistant, correct?

  • No, no, no. Kadiatu Diarra worked for the Government of Liberia as my personal assistant. To just say "your loyal", she did not work in the private capacity, no. She was Assistant Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and special assistant to the President.

  • Sir, are you telling the Court that this was a covert account set up in your name?

  • It is not just set up in my name. It is set up in two names, Mr Koumjian. That's what I'm telling this Court.

  • The title of the account, sir, is Charles G Taylor. Kadiatu Diarra is listed as an authorised signatory. The title of the account, sir, is not Kadiatu Diarra, it's Charles G Taylor, correct?

  • It doesn't really matter. The bank did not require that the two titles be put there. What the bank required are the authorised individuals to operate that account.

  • So, Mr Taylor, to keep this account secret, because you were expending government revenue on secret causes, you put it in the name of the President?

  • No, no, no, no. You got it wrong. The secrecy had nothing to do with the government and legislature of Liberia because the legislature had authorised the President to do anything necessary to secure the country. The secrecy had to do with dealing with the international community. It was personal and once it was not coming out of a government account it could not be blocked, it was a personal account so it could not be blocked.

  • You believe that accounts cannot be blocked?

  • No, excuse me, Mr Koumjian. As far as I understand, your Honours, I would answer Mr Koumjian's question. Mr Koumjian seeks to tell this Court --

  • Your Honour, could the witness pleased be asked to answer the question.

  • I'm referring to the judges now, please. I'm referring to the judges. I'm referring to the judges. The issue at question you are questioning me on here as to whether this account is my personal account or a government account, I'm saying it's a government account. Now go ahead with your questions.

  • I think you are both talking about two different things. Mr Taylor is referring to blocked in a different sense than you are referring to it, Mr Koumjian, so I think you ought to rephrase your question.

  • My question, sir, is you said it was personal and once it was not coming out of a government account it could not be blocked. It was a personal account, so it could not be blocked. What are you talking about there?

  • Mr Koumjian, the United Nations imposed an arms embargo on Liberia. Any transfer from this account for the purchase of arms would have been stopped because the clearing for all of the money coming out of LBDI went through New York, Citibank. So it was impossible. So if money is coming out of this account being paid on a personal level the United Nations will not know that what it is going for and it is none of their concern, but the Government of Liberia it would be a different concern because New York served as a clearing house for LBDI.

  • So to hide the account that this was government money you put it in the name of the President of the country. Is that what you are telling us?

  • With the authorisation of the legislature, yes, that is exactly what I'm saying.

  • Mr Taylor, you said this was a covert account to buy arms, correct?

  • Yes, sir, you did. Do you want me to find the line?

  • This covert account was used to buy arms, but that's not the only reason why it was used. It was used to buy arms but let me clear it's not the only reason why it was used.

  • Well, sir, first of all which arms did you buy using money from this account?

  • Well, in 2001 we expended monies from this account to help pay for the arms that we were getting from Serbia in 2001.

  • Who did you transfer the money to?

  • We did not transfer. It was taken out and paid in cash.

  • Sir, let's go back to the document behind tab 5.

  • Yes, we are there.

  • And let's look, so we understand it, again this is the document that shows that this is an account in the name of Taylor, Charles G, US dollar chequing accounts, personal. It then lists various dates in July 2000 and has transactions record of debits and credits. Now we see a credit in what appears next to the number 12 down, I believe, seven lines. I'll read exactly what I read from that line: 18 and then the next column 20856. The next column the letters RAD as in David, then INO, then CGT initials with periods after each, B/O Natura HOL. There we see in the credit column 1,999,975. Sir, this was a deposit from Guus Kouwenhoven into this account in your name at the Liberian Bank For Development and Investment, correct?

  • No, you are trying to - you are trying to mislead this Court as you are speaking, Mr Koumjian. I'm sorry. Let's look at that document. This is a financial document and we ought to take our time and look at it. Let's first go back to your Charles Taylor. The account number, your Honours, 32851 is the same account that we're referring to with the two signatures of myself and Kadiatu Diarra. If you look at the statement of that account, that statement is the statement that covers the period 1 July 2000 through 31 July 2000. Again I'm sure your Honours are following this. If not I could point it out on the stuff.

    So if you look back at what Mr Koumjian is talking about, this 1 million 999 is the same document that he showed behind divider number 4 that shows the 1,999,000 deposited under what I say the government of - I mean of Liberia. So this is the same period that is being reflected here. There's not a separate amount. This is the amount from Natura and if we look at behind exhibit 4, Natura there states that this is a GOL deposit. That's what he is reflecting on this page. I don't know if we agree.

  • Mr Taylor --

  • Mr Taylor, on issue of Natura investments and the document I think behind divider 4 this was precisely the point that Justice Doherty was trying to say before. The words GOL have been deleted and been replaced by the words Charles G Taylor. Now, this is the account to be credited.

  • No, your Honour. Let me point out to you it's not deleted. Look down. If you look down on the line you still see GOL being mentioned. If you come down on the first line of the details GOL is mentioned there again, okay. What we are saying there is that's an initial, okay, I do not know how that - but look down on the details, it still says GOL right there. GOL.

  • Yes, I've seen the second GOL. But I think perhaps we're arguing at cross-purposes here. The monies reflected behind divider 4 were debited from the Natura Holdings account.

  • And credited on the account in your names, the account number --

  • Which account you say is a Government of Liberia account but in your names.

  • This is the same Government of Liberia - yes, your Honour, that is co-signed again by the second government official. It's the same account, they are not two accounts.

  • Did you say co-signed or --

  • Yes, if you look, Kadiatu Diarra behind divider number 2 signs the same account and any one of us can withdraw from this account. You see where it says anyone. It's the same account that the Kadiatu Diarra signs. That's why I'm insisting it's not my personal account.

  • Even though there is the word "personal" you're saying it's not a personal account.

  • No, no, no, it's not. You have personal accounts, you have chequing accounts. The way the account is opened there's no other nomenclature that the bank uses except those categories, personal accounts, chequing accounts, and it does not say joint, you know, account like that but that's why she comes and she signs, because this, if you see, she signs a week later because all of these technicalities are worked out.

  • If the witness could be shown the transcript for 26 August. I have the correct reference. I apologise, I had one digit wrong. It's page 27748, line 17. 26 August, 27748:

  • Do you recall, Mr Taylor, your counsel was reading to you from MFI-193, the preliminary response of the Government of Liberia to report of panel of experts and at line 17 he read:

    "It is important to clarify that each logging company operating in Liberia is a signatory to a standardised concession agreement. The concessionaire's obligations are detailed in the agreement and each is required by law to pay all taxes directly into the central government revenue depository maintained by the Ministry of Finance, the statutory agency empowered to assess, receive and collect taxes."

    So, Mr Taylor, given that that is the law that all deposits, revenues, have to go to the Central Bank, why is this almost $2 million going into an account - personal chequing account in the name of Charles G Taylor?

  • Well then again, Mr Koumjian, based on your documents that you have presented here, and I will have to go through it because I have gone through it since you gave it to me, you see that the Finance Ministry you see the transmittal from the Finance Ministry that you presented amongst your documents. That the Finance Ministry is involved in this and that's how it goes on to the bank. I would have to go through this to find it again, but you presented it over the weekend to me.

  • So, sir, you are saying that this deposit directly into your account violated the law that all revenue must go to the Central Bank?

  • It did not violate the law. This was - this involved an operation with the Ministry of Finance and that's why I'm saying the document that you have presented in this folder shows that the Ministry of Finance was involved. So to ask me that I think is unreasonable because you know the Finance Ministry is involved.

  • Sir, let's go to talk about - you mentioned Citibank records and you said you used this account to pay for arms through Citibank?

  • Okay, please explain. If I misquoted you, please correct me.

  • What did you say about the use of Citibank?

  • Mr Koumjian, Mr Koumjian, I did not say that I used Citibank to pay - to buy arms. I never said that. Let's get that straight.

  • What did you say about Citibank, sir?

  • Well then you ask me. What is your question?

  • My question is this morning you said you mentioned that you used Citibank and this account?

  • What did you use Citibank for?

  • I did not. I said that LBDI used Citibank as their clearing house. That's all I said about Citibank.

  • Let's explain something because you've told us you have a background as an economist and use some terminology - you used the word clearing house. But is it correct that in order to transfer money between Liberia and most banks around the world there are intermediary financial institutions that are used in order to make that transfer?

  • These are usually called correspondent banks?

  • And at this time in Liberia, Citibank in New York was a correspondent bank for some Liberian banks including LBDI, Liberian Bank For Development and Investment, correct?

  • To the best of my knowledge, yes, Citicorp served as a type of clearing point, yes.

  • Just so we understand an example of how that works, let's look behind tab 6.

  • Is it Citicorp, C-O-R-P? I note two things: First, the record itself and, secondly, we've had a reference to Citibank.

  • Citibank, Citicorp, your Honour, it's the same.

  • The same institution?

  • Mr Taylor, I want to use these two pages as an example to show how correspondent banks are used to transfer money. And these are two pages from the web page of the Association for the Legal Defence of Charles G Taylor. The pages are entitled at the top "How to Help". And we see - for example, we see there are several financial institutions listed on these two pages, six in total. But let's just look at the first page. We have Citibank listed and it has a telex and a swift code, but it states "for credit to Echo Bank" with an account number. For credit to an account number for the Association for the Legal Defence of Charles Taylor.

    So just so we understand how this would work, would you agree with me, Mr Taylor, that someone who wanted to give money to this association would send it - could send it to Citibank following these instructions and then from Citibank it would be transferred into the account at Echo Bank the account number given for the Association for the Legal Defence of Charles Taylor?

  • I would say yes.

  • Below that, just to use another example, is Deutsche Bank. The same procedure would be used. Correct?

  • And then on the next page we see a bank in Paris and a bank in Switzerland. Similar reasoning: These banks would have a relationship with the Liberian bank that would allow money to be transferred, correct?

  • Using these specific examples, yes.

  • Just use that as an example. Now, I want to talk about the Citibank - some Citibank records. Just so we know where they come from, perhaps if we could look behind tab 7.

  • I'm sorry, your Honour, could that last document be marked for identification? I believe I missed one or two. Tab 4 has not yet been marked. So I would ask first for an MFI for tab 4.

  • Tab 4, the debit ticket, is marked for identification MFI-307.

  • And then the July statement of account, which would be tab 5, it says Statement of Account, 1 July 2000 through 31 July 2000.

  • That will be marked for identification MFI-308.

  • Then the document we just were discussing, the two-page document listing how to help with the listing of correspondent banks, may that be marked next in order.

  • That last document is marked MFI-309.

  • Now, Mr Taylor, when a bank has a relationship with a correspondent bank, it actually will have an account. So, for example, LBDI will have an account with Citibank that allows it to transfer money between LBDI and other institutions that have a relationship with Citibank, correct?

  • No. You are asking me now to testimony almost as an expert.

  • If you don't know, just say you don't know.

  • Thank you. We see, just to make clear where documents came from, behind tab 7, something dated May 19, 2004, the letterhead from Citigroup Incorporated, 399 Park Avenue, New York, and it indicates that documents - read it - "pursuant to the subpoena described above, I am producing the enclosed documents on behalf of Citibank."

    On the next page we see that there's a Citibank address in the top left and then it indicates this is a - "Dear Roslyn, please find attached an update to the signature list for Liberian Bank for Dev and Investment, account number 36006105." So there's a specific account number given for the bank for LBDI.

    Turn to the next page. We see handwritten on the right A/C 36006105. "Dear Mrs So, please find attached our most recent list of authorised signatures for your records."

    Then on the following page there's a list of signatures of various bank officers. Perhaps if I could just ask if you recognise, Mr Taylor, Francis Dennis as being the President of LBDI in 1998.

  • Thank you. So, sir, I want to take a look at some transactions. You've already mentioned that you've looked at these. So let's go -

  • Sorry. May that document, your Honour, be marked for identification, the bundle - the several pages in tab 7?

  • We'll count that as one document.

  • Now, sir, going to tab 8, this appears to be a computer printout and there appears to be a page number at the bottom right, 2417. I want to refer you to the second to last transaction - second to the bottom. But before I do that, let's look at the top just so we're clear what we're looking at. This report, the computer report, is dated August - dated 080100. We're in North America as far as the date. Using the North American dating convention, that would be August 1. The account number is 36006105, the same account number we saw in the last tab 7 for LBDI.

  • It indicates - there's a date range from 701 to 731. Appears to be 2000, 0-0. Now, sir, second to last transaction dated 17 July 2000 shows the ordering party Natura Holdings PTE Limited. Do you see that, sir?

  • And it says "for further credit to". And above that there's a - excuse me - account and then there's an account number, 0020132851-01. And that is the same account number as the account we looked at in tabs 1 and 2, the account in the name of Charles G Taylor with LBDI, with the signature cards from you and Kadiatu Diarra; is that correct?

  • Well, let's - well, let's get the picture. It doesn't - why doesn't it say Charles G Taylor here? It's the same point that you've been trying to make to this Court that because it says Charles G Taylor and open, even though there's another government official, it means that it's personal. Why doesn't it say Charles Taylor here? Because what is the important is the account number and the signatures. Whether you put jack rabbit on it, but for these judges, it's good to explain - what is this page, Mr Koumjian? This page that you've just asked me to respond to, what is it?

  • Sir, do you recognise this as the same amount of money, $1,999,975, that was transferred into the account at LBDI that we just looked at with the debit ticket we looked at?

  • That was transferred to this account, yes. But I asked the question because, important - you know, I don't know if everybody here is financial and these judges too are just looking at this document. This document is the - is an account page of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investments. This is not an account statement of the account that I have told these judges is the account of - that is using the 325 something. This is a bank statement, not a personal account statement. And the amount shown here, your Honours, is the same amount that was - is behind divider number 4 showing the deposit July 17, 2000.

  • Although it's the same account number, 32851-01, you are saying it's significant that it does not have your name on it?

  • It's not important. What is important in the bank, the account numbers and the signatures to that account are important. Names could change any time. That's why my name is not mentioned here because it goes to an account.

  • Sir, let's look at another transaction behind tab 9.

  • First, may tab 8 be marked for identification, your Honour?

  • Yes, that page is marked MFI-311.

  • Sir, the information on the top of the printout is the same, the page number is 2071. And then in the middle, I direct your attention to a transaction dated 03/30, 2000. March 30, 2000. It gives a reference number, for the record I'll read it: F06009000F8201. Details. Further credit to Charles G Taylor. Account - AC 0020132851-01. There's another reference number - other reference, DC0003300032. And we see the ordering party, embassy of the ROC, Monrovia, Liberia. The amount that that account, 3285101, further credit to Charles G Taylor, the amount that was deposited was $3,500,000. Now, Mr Taylor, tell the judges about this money that you received from the embassy of the ROC, Monrovia?

  • What do you want me to tell them?

  • Do you acknowledge that you received $3.5 million to the account in your name that we've been talking about at LBDI --

  • -- on March - please let me finish and I'll let you --

  • -- on March 30, 2000? It may have been received the next day at your bank.

  • That is correct. I acknowledge that $3.5 million went into this account. I acknowledge that.

  • Mr Taylor, what was this money for?

  • That's why the account, I'm saying, is covert.

  • But you've already told us about money that Taiwan - let's clarify one thing. Embassy of the ROC, that's the embassy for Taiwanese government in Monrovia, correct?

  • And you've already told these judges that Taiwan was giving about $10 million in aid per year to Liberia. That was not covert. That was open, correct?

  • That was open, that is correct.

  • So why is $3.5 million going into the personal chequing account in the name of Charles G Taylor?

  • It is not my personal chequing account and if these judges accept your interpretation then I guess that's it, but it is not - if you are asking me why was this money going into this account, I have said that this account was a government account used and the monies going into there are covert monies to take care of certain things. That's why it is done personally.

  • Mr Taylor, I want to give you every chance to explain that. Why when you've already told us about Taiwan openly giving money to Liberia, why do you have to have Taiwan give $3.5 million into a covert account? Explain this to us?

  • Because it's covert. That's as simple. Because it's covert.

  • Why is it covert? Because it's going directly into your pocket?

  • Then why can't Taiwan simply give this to the Government of Liberia openly, sir?

  • Mr Koumjian, I know we are going through this again and I don't want us to go backward and forward. As far as I'm concerned, if I'm understanding you properly, and I'll answer your questions, you seek to impeach what you read to these judges that in fact the account was not - it was not a government account, it is a personal account. I think that's the issue. As to the covert nature of the account, that's the responsibility of the people of Liberia to determine as to whether money went into my pocket or not and none of your business. My answer to you is that the amount that went into this account was covert, it was used covertly and I'm under no obligation to tell you what those covert operations were.

  • Sir, I'm going to ask you please tell us what are the covert operations that you convinced Taiwan to fund with $3.5 million?

  • I did not - the Government of Liberia was operating covertly. I asked Taiwan for $3.5 million. I was given 3 - I mean the government was given $3.5 million and it was used for the purpose that we decided without the Taiwanese knowing what it was used for.

  • Why wasn't it just deposited into the Central Bank of Liberia?

  • Because the Central Bank of Liberia operated directly with the IMF and the World Bank. All deposits, all withdrawals that went into the Central Bank was monitored by the IMF and World Bank.

  • Sir, this transaction is dated March 2000. What did you need millions of dollars in covert funds for in March 2000?

  • We were accumulating money, Mr Koumjian. We were accumulating money and in 2001 that's how we managed to pay for the arms and ammunition that I have said that I ordered and it was done in 2001. And these judges will see that that account ends after this covert operation. It doesn't go any further.

  • I'm sorry, explain that. Which account ends? Which accounts ends, sir, after the covert operation?

  • 32851. You will see when it ends. It does not continue until my presidency ends.

  • We will continue. We'll look at this some more. Let's look, sir - may that document, your Honour, labelled page 2071 with the $3.5 million credit be marked for identification next in order.

  • Yes, that's marked for identification MFI-312.

  • Let's look behind tab 10. Are you ready?

  • Again this is a - it's labelled Liberian Bank For Development and Investment and it states a few lines down that this statement covers 1 August 2000 through 11 September 2000. It has an account number 20132851-01. My copy at least appears to be cut off but partially the last three letters of your name LOR Charles G, chequing accounts, personal in the box at the top left.

    Now, sir, what I'm interested in this account - in this document is to go to the box that's at the bottom of the second page, account summaries. If we look at this, it appears to be a monthly running total of debits and credits to the account. I frankly cannot read or do not understand the very first line. Something - it looks like a 03 to me. But that has a minimum balance minus 110 and no credit amount. But then we look at the next entry, 1999/12, and we see an ending balance of 17,000. If we then go to the month of March where we were just looking at the Taiwan transaction we see 2000/03, we see debits, money taken out of the account, $4,722,370.48. Then we see credits into the account, $6,905,500.

    So first, Mr Taylor, while we've already seen that you had a $3.5 million deposit from the embassy of Taiwan in that month, how do you account for the other almost 3.5 million, $3.4 million in deposits received in March 2000?

  • Well, in the first place, Mr Koumjian, you see this is why sometimes I wonder about what you have been doing. What is this statement that you have just read? You are trying to tell these judges that this statement is a part of page 1 ending in page 2. Totally misleading this Court. Totally misleading this Court.

    On these two pages are two separate and distinct statements, your Honours. So this second part, what's the origin of this second document that you are bringing here? You want these judges to believe that this second part is a part of account 32851? Is that what you are trying to tell them, which would be misleading? What is this second document that you are asking me about?

  • Sir, this is the second page of the account statement --

  • -- from 1 August 2000 through 11 September 2000?

  • That is not correct. Mr Koumjian, if I may help these judges, on the second page where it says at the top closing balance, that ends that statement, your Honour. And it would be reflected on the next - in the next thing that he is going to bring this balance is carried forward on another statement of 16,020. This statement at the bottom is a totally different, different statement that has nothing to do with this account. It has to do with the bank LBDI balance if which is so where is the origin of this particular bottom part? This is nothing but a paste. But the closing balance on that day is 16,020 in account 32851 and if you say anything different your accountant should have told you it's wrong.

  • Mr Taylor, in fact that closing balance that you are talking about, $16,020.16, is exactly what's reflected in the very last line of the account summaries ending in September 2000; $16,020.16?

  • For a particular account. This summary has nothing to do with that account. This is a bank summary. And there's no way that it is attached to that. That's what I want these judges to understand.

  • Mr Taylor, in March - so I understand your testimony, are you denying that in March 2000 in the LBDI account that we've been talking about that has the account number 32851-01, that in March 2000, six million nine hundred and some thousand dollars were deposited into your account?

  • I cannot recall but if you have the deposit will you please show me the statement of deposit. I cannot recall $6 million going into that. But if you have the financial statement amongst the - show it to me, please.

  • Is it possible that you would not recall over $3 million going into that account?

  • Mr Koumjian, I have answered. I have said I do not recall but if you have the statement of account in these documents to show that it happened I'll be glad to accept it. I do not recall.

  • This is my question, Mr Taylor: Did you have so much money that $3.4 million is something you could just forget? You wouldn't know whether or not in March 2000 you had only 3.5 or if you had had 6.9 million deposited into your account?

  • This is a very serious case. Let's stop joking. Mr Koumjian, you people have told it to be cynical that way. Let's stop joking with my life.

  • Sir, I'm not joking.

  • I am asking you to answer the question.

  • No, I am not going to fight with you. You know, to say you have so much money.

  • Mr Koumjian, we want to be able to follow what's going on.

  • We are looking at the page that has the words "account summaries" and that seems to be what is in question.

  • I have also seen the figure at the bottom of that account summarise which is 16 million --

  • 16,000. No, it is 16,020,16, isn't it?

  • 16,000, okay. $16,000 as the balance. But also above that are some other figures. Now according to Mr Taylor these are all figures reflecting different accounts - different accounts, not relating to the same account. You are saying that this summary is a summary of the one account.

  • Yes, this is at the --

  • In the names of Mr Taylor.

  • At the end of this period which is for whatever reason 1 August to 11 September, at the end of each of the statements that are given there appears to be a summary monthly given in the account. If you look back at tab 5, you will see there was a similar summary for that July statement.

  • Yes, but the trouble I personally am having: One is that that summary is illegible for the most part because I would have wanted for instance to see or to understand what are the figures in the left most corner - the first column of that account summary, I can read it. I don't know if it's a year or a month or what it is. I don't know if it's account numbers. Can you help?

  • This is unfortunately the best copy that I have but it appears to me that the M is cut off the word "month" on the left. So this is - on the left-hand column is a month going from at least the second one December '99, then January, February, March, et cetera up through September 2000 and opening balance is the second column. The minimum balance is given in the third column. This is my interpretation. A maximum balance in the fourth column. Then an amount that had been deducted during the month, debit amount, in the fifth column. Then the amounts of credits that went into the account that month in the next column, credits. Then I believe it says then the number of debits and credits but I have trouble reading - to be honest I can't - it says number of debits and then the number sign of credits and then the final column is the ending balance. So we see, for example, in the month of March 2000 where there was the Taiwan transaction for 3.5 million there appeared to have been only two credits that month but the total credit amount was $6,905,500.

  • We will have to leave it there, Mr Koumjian. We will take the lunch break and resume at 2.30.

  • [Lunch break taken at 1.31 p.m.]

  • [Upon resuming at 2.30 p.m.]

  • Go ahead, Mr Koumjian.

  • Can I just mention a change in representation, that, Mr President, our case manager, Ms Moilanen, has left us.

  • All right. Thank you, Mr Griffiths.

  • Mr Taylor, how much did you spend on arms that you obtained from Serbia?

  • I can't be too sure, but in excess of about - I would say between $5 to $7 million.

  • How did you pay for that?

  • How was the cash obtained?

  • Cash cheques at the bank and the cash was brought to me and we executed our business.

  • Where did you keep the cash?

  • Oh, in a small office in my - I mean in the mansion.

  • So when was it that you had the cash brought to you?

  • What do you mean when? Whenever the need arose.

  • Well, how much times did you pay for arms from Serbia?

  • Well, the payments was over time. There was one major shipment and one major payment.

  • So was there only one occasion then when you had cash brought to you?

  • Why did you have cash brought to you on multiple occasions then?

  • Mr Koumjian, you may disagree with how we did business in Liberia --

  • Sir, please answer the question.

  • I'm answering the question. You may disagree, but the fact of matter is, at that particular time, that was what I was authorised and had the authority to do and I did. Now, I don't remember whether it was 50 times or 10 times, but all I did to secure Liberia was to make sure that when money had to be brought, it was accumulated and we paid to get our material.

  • Sir, let me repeat the question. Perhaps you didn't understand it. You've said you made one purchase. Why did you have cash brought to you on multiple occasions for one purchase?

  • When I mean one purchase, I'm talking about in terms of order. There were not three, four, five different orders. There was one order. That order was paid for in different installments.

  • Let's read your answer on my page 63, line 2: "Well, the payments over time, there was one major shipment and one major payment."

  • I've just explained what I really mean, that I'm talking about one order and there were payments.

  • How did you - from the cash going to you in your small - you said in your office, where did you cash go then?

  • What do you mean where? It went to the individual that was responsible.

  • Did he come to Liberia, the person that you were buying the weapons from, to collect cash?

  • No, I did not deal with the people. The person that managed that entire transaction was my chief of protocol that handled it. As the material came, defence took over. But the whole operation of the purchase of arms was left with my chief of protocol.

  • The man you sent with Sam Bockarie in November 1998 to Burkina Faso?

  • I did not send Sam Bockarie. I disagree. I did not send Musa Cisse with Sam Bockarie anyplace.

  • Sir, did you send Musa Cisse to accompany Sam Bockarie to Burkina Faso in November 1998?

  • I want to ask you a little bit about what you told us about receiving this money from Guus Kouwenhoven and the embassy of Taiwan and depositing it into this account at LBDI. First, I would like the witness to be shown MFI-193, and particularly page 9. This was also read in Court on 26 August at the page reference I previously gave and corrected. I think it's 27748.

  • What document is this? I don't --

  • Paragraph 12, I'm going to direct your attention to, sir. This document, just to remind you - perhaps Mr Taylor could be shown the first page. It's titled Preliminary Reaction of the Government of Liberia to the Report of the Panel of Experts Appointed Pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 1306-2000", paragraph 19, in relation to Sierra Leone. In paragraph 12, sir, of this document it states:

    "It is important to clarify that each logging company operating in Liberia is a signatory to a standardised concession agreement. The concessionaire's obligations are detailed in the agreement and each is required by law to pay all taxes directly into the central government revenue depository maintained by the Ministry of Finance. The statutory agency empowered to assess, receive and collect taxes."

    Sir, the $1,999,975 payment that went into this account at LBDI violated this clause because it didn't go to the Central Bank, correct?

  • I would say incorrect. But, I mean, your Honours, we have been dealing with financial statements here, and the way that things are jumping left and right, I understand that I'm supposed to answer the gentleman's question. We are taking one sheet of paper, we flash it this way; we take another sheet and flash it that way. I'm afraid that - I mean the essence of my responses are not coming. We may have to look at this whole financial thing because at issue here, and I think we all will agree, is the fact that I did not tell this Court - I have told the world that I did not have a personal account when I had one. This is the issue.

    So we can't just look at it in these - we have to look at the full picture. And the fact of the matter is, I informed this Court on 1 December about the existence of this account. The transcript, 32795 and 796, talked about the existence of these covert accounts that I told this Court on December 1. 32804 also tells this Court about these deposits that are coming from timber company. I'm not hiding anything. I'm not ashamed of anything here. So I want us to look at it. We have an account opened by me, signed by a government official, brought to bear. The monies in question here, the 1 million that you just asked about, Mr Koumjian, goes through the Finance Ministry. Now you're asking me as to whether something violated a ministry. That's the prerogative of the people of Liberia. It's none of anybody's business if I violated a Liberian law but the people of Liberia.

    The issue here: Did I lie to this Court? And I did not. It is a government account signed by the government official and your people, Mr Koumjian, spoke to Ms Diarra and she told you people that it was a government account. She told you people back in 2004. You have disclosed some of the information here. It's still hidden from these judges, so what is the whole issue here? This account is a government account. Ms Diarra told you people it was a government account. She told you people how it was operated. You have disclosed some of the information and the rest you haven't as far back as 2004. So now you come and ask me did I violate Liberian law. My answer is none of your business.

  • Sir, this account is in the name of Charles Taylor. It's not in the name of Government of Liberia, correct?

  • Well, incorrect. I will disagree with you as you put it. I will disagree.

  • Sir, do you consider yourself the equivalent of the Government of Liberia? Is that what you considered during your presidency?

  • Well, that's not the issue. No, I would not consider myself, but when the authority is given to me by the legislature to use any and all means for the protection of the state, and they are aware, I don't care who else is not aware. The legislature of the Republic of Liberia authorised the President, reports were made to the legislature to those committees responsible, accounts were kept of what was going on, and this account ended in 2001.

  • Sir, when did you inform the legislature --

  • -- of Liberia about the money you received, the $3.5 million --

  • Please, I haven't concluded my question. The $3.5 million you obtained in March 2000 from the Government of Taiwan into this LBDI account, when did you inform the legislature about that?

  • Well, listen, if you look back at my response I said the appropriate individuals. You have restricted it now. You've just misquoted me to say I said the - if you look at my response, I said the appropriate area, and that's why it was opened in the bank. Why would anybody - I want to be crooked and open an account in the bank?

  • Sir, what was the purpose of putting the account in your name as opposed to leaving it in the name of the Government of Liberia?

  • That's the system of the bank. The bank - we did not want it open as a government - I mean as a Government of Liberia. Excuse me, as an account from the Central Bank that would be used in the IMF and the World Bank would know. If you look at, your Honours, the dates, I signed on the 8th. Kadiatu signs a week later. What is the process? There is still - we are discussing who, which official, some people were saying other people, we finally decided that we wanted it very quiet. Kadiatu goes and she signs the signature card and if we want to be fair in this trial which you are administering justice, Mr Koumjian, maybe if the cheques were brought here for the honourable justices to see they would see who signed the cheques, okay. I admit that I signed some cheques but this was an account operated by Kadiatu Diarra and I was fully aware, acquiesced and I take full responsibility because it was what was expected of me as President. Now we may disagree as to maybe as compared to other systems. This is what I was authorised to do. I did it, got through with this operation and your Honours will see that this account closes in 2001.

  • Sir, Kadiatu Diarra, any action she took in regards to this account were under your directions, correct?

  • You are not trying to blame her for anything in this account?

  • No, no, no, at all. I take full responsibility.

  • So this account was completely under your control, correct?

  • This account was under my authorisation and control, yes.

  • Sir, aside from paying for arms from Serbia what else did you use the account for?

  • That account was used to pay the SSS. It was used to pay the ATU. It was used to carry on what we call humanitarian acts on part of the President. All of these done - covert military operation were paid from that same account.

  • Sir, why would you carry out humanitarian acts on behalf of the President through a covert account?

  • Depending on the type of - it depends on what was available and how fast it could be managed. If we had an emergency situation where for example we had a case - we had several cases where the bombings, there were several injured people, we had to charter an aircraft immediately to take them to la Cote d'Ivoire at the Polio clinic. The cash that is available we paid. It's a Government of Liberia operation. We would rush, take the physical cash, pay, and replenish the account. So this account was use in a way that will serve the interests of the Government of Liberia and making sure that things were proper.

  • Sir, why would the pay, the salaries, of SSS and ATU soldiers be paid out of a covert account?

  • Because the amounts that they were being paid far exceeded the amount that was paid the ordinary - we've been through this - armed forces personnel. I told this Court that the ATU were the highest paid in the country. A private made, if I'm not mistaken, some $300, $400 a month. Up to a general that made about 1,000 or better. They were the best paid in the whole republic. The Secret Service was very paid and other agents - other individuals and depending on the operation were paid.

    So it was handled from a secret account in order to make sure that there was no internal conflict between and amongst the other armed forces by going through a payroll through the Finance Ministry. It may sound unorthodox but this was authorised and we did it.

  • Let me just ask clarification. When you say, Mr Taylor, that the account was used to pay the SSS and the ATU, was this just their salaries or also their operations?

  • It was salaries and operation. Now, for example, the SSS took a regular - I don't know that's the word we want to call it, salary. Okay, I can use that word because it was more than a salary. The SSS received a payroll salary amount but they received additional - what would be the right word to use? Remuneration, or whatever, on a monthly basis, okay, as a means of encouraging their work. The ATU was not paid from any payroll. They were given an amount as professional soldiers and that's how we conducted it.

  • Sir, aside from the $3.5 million from the Taiwan embassy and the $2 million minus the $25 fee that Citibank collected from Natura Holdings, Guus Kouwenhoven's company, what other funds were put into this account?

  • Oh, different funds. Beside the 2 million there were other amounts that were brought in cash. $150,000, $200,000. Depending on the operation. Sometimes we took what we call through the Finance Ministry pre-tax credits from certain companies because the government was cash strapped to do things. So there were different different amounts that came in.

  • Sir, you said sometimes $150,000, $200,000 cash were brought in. Tell us who brought in $150,000 to $200,000 cash?

  • It would be sent by Natura and other timber companies.

  • Through Guus Kouwenhoven, is that what you are saying?

  • Through his company, yes.

  • What other timber companies gave you large amounts of cash?

  • I don't recall all the names. I'm saying that cash did come. When we wanted the cash, the Ministry of Finance would request certain pre-tax credits. It would come and it would be deposited in the account.

  • What else besides from timber companies? What other sources did you have?

  • That's it. That's it. We didn't have to the best of my recollection - in fact we may very well find out that most of the cheques on a day to - I didn't operate the account on a day-to-day basis. What I'm trying to get very clear to these judges, the world and more especially the Liberian people is that I authorised it and even though I did not go through it on a daily daily basis I was fully aware. It was with my authority.

  • I'm glad you are fully aware. So let's go back then and ask you some questions, perhaps you can explain the account history in tab 10. This has not yet been marked for identification but, sir, the second page, the account summaries. We see in the column labelled 12/99, the left column, that for that month there is a credit amount of $917,243. Where did that come from?

  • Which are you looking at? The first?

  • If you look at the second page of tab 10, the account summaries is the table at the bottom. The second line says, it appears to me, the first digit is cut off but something 999/12 and then the credit amount for that month, $917,243 and just --

  • I'm afraid I'm not understanding the same thing you are understanding, Mr Koumjian. So I disagree with all these figures you are calling.

  • Perhaps you could look also at the MFI-308 under tab 5. If you compare the second page of that document, the account summaries, to the second page under tab 10 account summaries, you will see it's identical except for the last two months, August and September. You recall MFI-308 tab 5 is the July statement.

  • Yeah, but I should ask you, Mr Koumjian, to tell me because if this is an amount actually that is accounted for as you are mentioning it should be in the account statement.

  • My question, sir, I don't have the account statement for December. What did you receive --

  • -- $917,000 - from whom did you receive $917,000 in December 1999?

  • That's what I'm trying to tell you. I don't see what you are referring to. I see a number. And you don't show me a document that shows that it is a debit amount as received by the Government of Liberia. I don't know the --

  • Well, of course not.

  • [Overlapping speakers] so where is the account statement?

  • Let me make myself clear, Mr Taylor. It's not my position that these are monies belonging to the Government of Liberia. This is your personal chequing account?

  • Yes, I understand that.

  • Sir, let me ask you this: You told us you were kept very well informed, you were well informed about this account. Can you explain any deposit of 917,000 to your account in December 1999?

  • I was kept informed but I do not recall the individual amounts. I have told you this. I do not recall the individual amounts. But also I do not see how can you conclude that this is a Government of Liberia deposit except you show me on the account statement where this so-called deposit, whether it was a debited deposit or a credit received. So where is the accounting for that?

  • Let me just try to help you then, Mr Taylor.

  • Please, I'm going to try to help you. Let's go to the third line up on that account summary. So in tab 10 it's the third line up in the account summary. If you went back to tab 5 which is the July statement it would be the last line. We see in the column --

  • [Microphone not activated].

  • Tab 5 the last line I'm pointing out of the account summary is identical to the third to last line in tab 10. They both cover the period July 2000 in my submission:

  • Let's use tab 10. I believe it's a slightly better copy. You'll see that in the sixth column from the left or, if you want to do it the other way, the fourth column from the right, it's labelled CR amount. I'm submitting to you, Mr Taylor, that's the amount that was credited to the account during that month, the total amount credited to the account. And we see for the month 07, three lines up, $1,999,975 was credited to the account. If you look over two columns to the right, number of credits, 1. So there was one deposit in July 2000 of $1,999,975?

  • So to you --

  • I'm just trying to help you, so let me just make this complete so it's clear.

  • No, but a credit is not what you deposit. A credit - if you say that that was credited to me as a deposit, a credit on the bank - on a financial statement is not what you deposit in a bank. It would be shown on a debit statement.

  • Mr Taylor, let's look - so we're also clear on that amount, which is $25 less than 2 million. If you look at tab 8, that was the Citibank record showing the transfer to LBDI from Natura. You'll see that the bank account for LBDI, 360 - it's at the top we have the number of LBDI correspondent account number 36006105, was credited in July 2000 with $1,999,975 and it's noted in the text - under details it says for further credit to account and gives the account number 0020132851-01 and then notes $25 fee deducted. So it says $2 million minus $25.

    So, Mr Taylor, I just pointed that out because you asked me to help explain to you what the credit amounts were in the column in the account summaries. Can you explain the credited amount for December '99 of $917,000 and something?

  • Can I remember what exactly it is? No. I will remember if it was shown on the account statement. I don't remember what this amount was. If it's an amount into the bank, so be it, if it's credited to that account. The problem I'm having with this summary here is that I've dealt with financial statements before and they are prepared for different reasons. You are trying to say that this is a summary because certain figures are being mentioned here of that particular account and maybe the purpose for this - like I see to the far right the balance trend, maybe they were trying to construct a graph, because if you look at the credit amount of 1,999 what you are going to do with the debit amount of 1 million something. So I don't know if you really understand, you know, how these statements are being done but the fact of the matter is I do not recall what that figure is.

  • Mr Koumjian, in that figure of I think it's - wait - 999,917 right? That's the figure we're talking about?

  • For the second - for the December?

  • The second from the top.

  • What I get is 9 - perhaps - I'm having trouble reading it. I thought it said 917, but I --

  • 917, yes, you are right.

  • What I'm trying to show to you, Mr Koumjian, is that if you look in the column that says number of credits, it says two credits.

  • So to ask the witness what was that figure for doesn't take into account the fact that it was split into two.

  • That's fair. Thank you:

  • Mr Taylor, do you recall any deposits totalling $917,000 in December 1999?

  • I do not recall the specifics of it, Mr Koumjian. This is why if an account statement was present, it would say, but I do not recall it. I'm not saying that it did not happen. What I'm saying, I do not remember the specific detail.

  • Now, it also indicates for that month $900,017 was debited from the account that month. Did you receive in cash that month $900,000 plus? Would you remember that?

  • Mr Koumjian, there are ten debits.

  • And that was ten different transactions.

  • No, Mr Koumjian. But I would assume that it's for different operations that it could be paying the SSS, could be paying the ATU. It could be a number of things that Ms Diarra was taking care of for government. Now, I wouldn't know the - that's why - for your Honours' sake, that's why the account is one of two signatures, that I could just say, "Kadiatu, go, take care of this," and it would be done. So I don't know - now, if you had been helpful by bringing the cheques, we - these judges would see who actually signed the cheques and how the accounts operated, but the cheques are not here. So I really don't know the details.

  • What did you do with the cheques, Mr Taylor? It was your account.

  • It was not my account. That - those cheques were, I'm sure, kept by the Ministry of State. It was not my personal account.

  • I'm sorry, are you saying that this account was part of the Ministry of Finance?

  • No, Mr Koumjian, that's not what I'm saying. I said it was kept by the Ministry of State, I'm sure, because Kadiatu worked as an assistant minister in that state with responsibility as personal assistant to the President. In fact, in our administration, most of the assistant and deputy ministers in the Ministry of State, they are called assistants to the President, okay. That's how we call it. And so I'm sure as the bank statements returned, they will keep them. But the bank would have copy of the cheques anyway. You people dealt with these banks. I haven't dealt with them all these years, so I'm sorry you are not helpful here by not bringing these. I don't recall, to be short. I don't recall the details. Sometimes I very rarely look at these accounts.

  • Mr Taylor, let's look at another month. Let's look at March. Let's come back to March 2000. Now, we saw the one transaction where - tell me if I'm wrong - you admit you received $3.5 million from the embassy of Taiwan into this account, correct?

  • Now, we see, looking at the account summary for that month, that there were only two credits that month to the account and the total amount credited was $6,905,500. So, sir, if you subtract $3.5 million, that leaves unaccounted one additional deposit for $3,405,500.

  • I don't know which accountant you dealt with, Mr Koumjian. That's got to be really a whacky accountant because what you are talking about, if - this is why I'm saying that unless you bring the accountant statement, you will never understand it because you cannot have on the general statement showing 3 point something million dollar as a credit to the Government of Liberia and on this statement it does not show it at all. So the question is: Is this a real statement then?

  • Sir, did you forget - is it possible that you've forgotten about a $3.4 million deposit to this account?

  • How does somebody forget $3.4 million?

  • Then where did it come from, sir? Where is the - the $3.4 million in addition that was deposited in March 2000, what was the source?

  • Well, who said that - what - again, where do you have that as an additional deposit in March 2000?

  • Sir, the March 2000, if you look at the account summary and go down five lines, you see the amount of credit, the credit amount on the sixth column, $6,905,500. We see there are two credits that month to the account. So, sir, where did the other $3.4 million come from?

  • But this is what I'm trying to say, so what you are going to do - so what you think about the debit amount next to the 6 million, how do you interpret that, for you to be asking where the other 3 point something million come? How do you interpret the debit amount to the left of that?

  • Sir, the debit amount shows what was withdrawn under your direction from the account, $4.7 million. I'm going to ask you about that later. I'm asking now about what was credited to the accounts. What was credited to the account - what was the second credit that was $3.4 million?

  • That's what I'm saying, Mr Koumjian. It shows that there two deposits. I don't remember what the other one was. Our dispute here is not that money went in and out. It would be very clear to see - I don't remember, all these years later, the details and you have not provided the account, because what this bank should have done for you was to provide the statement of account. You have not provided the statement of account.

    So I'm sorry, your Honours, I can't help, because I don't remember the details. If the statements of account were here, it would be clear to everybody. So we're just spewing out numbers without understanding. I cannot - there are two transactions during this particular period. If this is our account, and I'm trying to say I don't recall because the first transaction that we can talk about, we've seen it in an account statement that you showed the judges on - I don't know how you got your thing here - to show the deposit. But I do not recall the others because you do not have a statement of account here.

  • In other words, you will only recall the source when I have the proof of the source, that's the only time you can recall it?

  • That's not what I'm saying, Mr Koumjian. And please do not interpret my thing that way. I am saying I do not recall.

  • Sir, is it possible - first of all, let's remind ourselves. Do you recall what you told us was the total budget for Liberia for 1998?

  • I don't recall the exact amount. Could have been around 50 million I said.

  • Let's see if I can find it for you.

  • I'll come back with a page reference for that in a while. Sir, $3.4 million was an awful lot of money to the people of Liberia in the year 2000, wouldn't you agree?

  • The average Liberian was making - let's put it this way: About 80 per cent of Liberians lived on less than $1 a day, correct?

  • I would say roughly, yes.

  • And you're saying, according to what your testimony this morning, this is an account entrusted to you, so how is it that you cannot remember where $3.4 million came from?

  • Mr Koumjian, what was even more to the people of Liberia was saving their lives. And that's why their representative, the legislature, authorised the President to use any and all means in defence of the republic. So for you to tell me now that everything that came - I opened this account, Mr Koumjian - you asked me about 1998. This account, don't let's forget, was opened in December 1999 at a time when the country had what? Had had two attacks on the republic and that account is not open in 1998 when you asked me about the budget. But the account, if you remember, is opened in December 1999 at a period when the country is now at war. And I have no apologies for what happened in that account, none, because I was authorised to do it.

  • Well, let's talk a little bit more about what you did with the money. You asked me to address the debits for that month, so let's look at the debits for the month of March 2000. We see that the total is $4,722,370.48. Sir, what was done with this 4.7 million which we see came out in 68 debit transactions upon reading --

  • I'm sorry, Mr Koumjian, I can't help you. I don't remember. But I have told this Court - you just said it - 68 transactions. They varied from salary payments of these people, covert activities. I have told you, Mr Koumjian, I don't remember them. It would have helped this Court, since you people went to this bank with an order, you people should have gotten all the documents. I don't remember.

  • Sir, what was the total salary that you paid the SSS per month?

  • It depends. The SS - I don't remember the exact layout right now, but the SSS and the ATU, I can say, were very well paid. A private in the SSS and/or the ATU received not less than $300 a month.

  • My question, sir, is the total for the SSS. Do you know what that was?

  • No. Then you have to take that - Mr Koumjian --

  • Mr Mr Taylor, you're responsible --

  • -- to the Liberian people for how you spend the money, according to you.

  • Let me answer your question, please. Let me answer your question. Mr Koumjian, when you look at payments of salaries, the salary payments varied. What a private makes, a sergeant doesn't make, a lieutenant doesn't make. And, Mr Koumjian, then what's going to happen to me does. It's impossible for me to sit here and lie to these judges and tell them I remember the monthly amount paid the SSS when I was in office. No.

    The only thing I can say with honour is that whatever payment was made out of this account, I authorised it. And I dealt with this official because I knew that she would not steal. We had a parable in Liberia: "You give a man money, he will steal and give it to his girlfriend. You give a woman money, even if she steals it, she will take care of her children." So I trusted this official.

  • Mr Taylor, are you sure you want to use that parable?

  • Sir, what was the total that you paid the ATU per month? Do you know?

  • I don't know the - I can just - roughly, roughly, the ATU could have been paid as - and I'm being very rough about it - maybe up to $150,000 or more a month just on the ATU salary. There was some 2,000, 3,000 men that were paid very well.

  • And are you saying that none of the salaries for these key security personnel were reflected in the official budgets for Liberia?

  • That's not what I said. If you look in my testimony, just a few minutes ago, I told these judges that the SSS received salary from the government, but we gave them an additional amount. And remember I was trying to say whether to call it remuneration. Remember?

  • So this additional amount was at your discretion?

  • The amounts that were paid to the SSS and the ATU were based on my discretion based on the professional nature of their work, yes.

  • Mr Taylor, I'm going to ask you about a few other deposits into this account and just to see if you recollect. There is a deposit in the second to last month in tab 10 which is 08/2000 of I believe it says $493,250 and that was a single credit. Do you recall the source of that deposit?

  • No, I do not.

  • Then the next month, September, there's a single deposit of half a million dollars. Do you recall the source of that deposit?

  • Mr Taylor, I want to remind you about testimony you gave about money given from Taiwan just a short time ago, 26 November. If Mr Taylor could be shown page 32633. Sir, you were asked on that day by myself:

    "Q. After you became President did you receive any further

    assistance - money from Taiwan?

    A. Personally no, but the government yes. And, by the

    way, Taiwan even before I became President had diplomatic

    recognition with the Republic of Liberia even before I

    became President.

    Q. They probably paid money to President Doe for that,

    correct?

    A. I don't know. I can't comment on that. I don't know.

    Q. But after you became President you received no further

    funds?

    A. Personally, no."

  • I'm having trouble picking up this reference, Mr Koumjian. I haven't found any of your questions on that page. That's 32633 I think you mentioned.

  • That's the reference that I have. On 26 November.

  • Your Honour, I have the page open but it does not contain the information Mr Koumjian is reading.

  • That's what I was saying. I think you may have the wrong reference.

  • I think for the second time I've repeated the wrong digit. 32663.

  • What line are you starting from?

  • To be clear in total context I'm starting from line 9:

  • I asked you:

    "Q. After you became President did you receive any further

    assistance - money from Taiwan?

    A. Personally no, but the government yes. And, by the

    way, Taiwan even before I became President had diplomatic

    recognition with the Republic of Liberia even before I

    became President.

    Q. They probably paid money to President Doe for that,

    correct?

    A. I don't know. I can't comment on that. I don't know.

    Q. But after you became President you received no further

    funds?

    A. Personally, no.

    Q. Well, that begs the next question: Did your government

    receive funds from Taiwan after you became President?

    A. That is correct, yes.

    Q. What did your government receive?

    A. The Government of Liberia received an annual grant of

    $10 million.

    Q. How did you receive that money? Was it --

    A. It came into the Government of Liberia the normal way

    all other revenues came.

    Q. Was it through some type of bank transaction?

    A. They were bank transactions.

    Q. Into what entity of the government?

    A. Into the financial structure.

    Q. Did the embassy of Taiwan hand you $10 million cash or

    how did the money come --

    A. No, it was done through a bank transfer. Nobody - they

    didn't deal with no cash. It was done through a bank

    transfer.

    Q. What account would have received that money?

    A. I don't know how the Central Bank handled it but it

    came through the government normal systems.

    Q. So there was a bank account at the Central Bank for

    government revenue?

    A. All government revenue of the Republic of Liberia were

    deposited at the Central Bank. I don't know how it worked

    internally but --"

    Then I went on to ask you about the million dollars received before becoming President. So, Mr Taylor, you previously told this Court that all government revenue including that received from Taiwan since you were President came through the normal government structure, through the Central Bank. Why are you telling - why didn't you tell us on 26 November about money in this account at LBDI?

  • I have quoted the pages to this Court where I told them about this money at LBDI, Mr Koumjian. Depending on your question I can answered and if you look into my statements when you asked me was it given to you personally I keep saying no. I said the government.

    Now, Mr Koumjian, that's going to be left to these judges because how covert activities work in Liberian government regarding finances is one matter that I'm sure we will disagree from now until hell freezes. How the monies were handled to get into these accounts, there was not just - the President was just - there were officials of government that set up a system on making sure that this covert account worked. And of course I don't know all of the details. I opened the account. It was agreed. I operated it with another official. So all these other questions I'm afraid that I can't - I can't answer you on the way how, you know, you are asking them. The only thing I can say is that there's an account and it's operated by the government in that particular covert way for whatever reason the Liberian government at that time decided. That's all I can say.

  • Mr Taylor, let's look at some other records from this account. I would ask you to look behind tab 12, only the first seven pages because after that it refers to a different account. May tab 10 please be marked for identification.

  • Yes. That document behind tab 10 is marked for identification MFI-313.

  • Just to help with the transcript, this is a document entitled - it says this statement covers 1 August through 11 September 2000. It's at the top Liberian Bank For Development and Investment, account 20132851-01:

  • Sir, I'm not going to use the pages past the first seven pages because this refers to another account. In the first seven pages we see that there is an account number that appears at the top left. First it says Liberian Bank for Dev and Inv and then there's an account number, it's stated like this: 02210/232851/01, Charles G Taylor, Congo Town. Mr Taylor, did you have more than one account in the LBDI bank?

  • Mr Koumjian, that's the same account, 32851. It's the same account.

  • Thank you. That's what I wanted you to say. Thank you.

  • There's not a second account, there's just that one.

  • And to help your Honours --

  • Actually there is a second account but it doesn't concern me, it's a very small -

  • No, excuse me, your Honours. If you look at that particular account at the beginning balance of 16,020 you will see it's reflected in the statement behind tab number 10. If you look at that balance coming from that accounts of 16,020.16, that's reflected as the brought forward balance on there. It's not a different account. It's the same account. I don't know if your Honours see what I'm talking about.

  • Mr Taylor, for once we're in agreement. We're in agreement.

  • I absolutely agree with you.

  • Let's go through a few transactions. This appears to be a printout of various charges, debits and credits to this account and there's a few dates I want to ask you about. Let's start, if you look down about ten lines where it says 4/12/2000. We see amount, $2 million and I'm not sure if that's zero cents or 6 cents credit, bringing the balance to $2,013,288.83 so it must have been exactly $2 million. Mr Taylor, where did you get this $2 million from that was deposited into this account at LBDI on 4/12/2000?

  • December 2000? I don't recollect. This could have been even from the government. This could have been, December - this could have been from the Government of Liberia.

  • To you personally? To your personal account?

  • To this account; not my personal account.

  • Why would the government put $2 million into this account?

  • Depending on what transactions were coming up it was made available. That's why I'm saying that ministries are involved in this, I'm sure this transfer was done.

  • Let's go, Mr Taylor, to page 2. We go down seven lines. It's a transaction dated 10/01/2001.

  • My page 2 doesn't have seven lines.

  • Excuse me, page 3. Thank you. I missed page 2. Page 3. The third page in the bundle:

  • Looking down about seven lines, 10/01/2001 it then states in the - a CDP and then a number which I don't think we need to read and then a credit amount, 150,000. Then it has a debit amount of 2,923. It indicates in the far right "cash deposit C/A". Do you know, Mr Taylor, where $150,000 cash, how that came to be deposited into this account?

  • I'm not sure but it's probably coming - I don't know the source but there's another 150,000 on the second line from a cheque. So monies would come into this account depending on the need for it.

    So within this period of time there's a first 150,000 and there's a second 150,000. I don't know the workings but depending on what the need of the account was, this could be coming from government sources either through maybe some company like if we were very, very hard strapped by this particular time and don't let's - and this is in 2001 so I don't recollect the source, I just see it but these - I'm sure these happened, yes.

  • So just to deal with the second line since you brought it up, this is the line dated 8 January 2001?

  • And it shows a debit of $150,000 and on the last line it seems to say "cash cheque" with a number?

  • Yes. Somebody brought in a cheque and deposited it in the account, yes.

  • A debit, sir, would be something withdrawn from the account --

  • [Microphone not activated] is a debit. It's different from the first figure, which was a credit.

  • No, no, no. Excuse me, your Honour. The 150 on the second line is no different from the 150 on the line - the other line. These three lines, you will see the first figure, those first set of figures are the amounts. The right-hand side are the balances. So if you look there was a balance of 315 in the account, a deposit was made of 150,000 and the balance became 149. In this statement, it is only showing amounts that are in and the balances left. That can be reflected on page 1, your Honour. You will see what I'm talking about. So that is a deposit, and what we owe the bank is taken out immediately.

  • Sir, I didn't intend to confuse things, but let me clarify something.

  • Sorry, Mr Koumjian --

  • I think I may be addressing the same topic. Let me try this:

  • You'll see that, Mr Taylor, the first line shows that the balance at that transaction forward is $315.83.

  • There then is a debit, a withdrawal of $150,000. The account then has a negative balance, a debit balance of $149,684.17.

  • Yes, we agree on that.

  • So, actually, LBDI allowed you to carry a negative balance for various periods of time?

  • Going to the fifth --

  • And you keep saying "you" and I said that is correct. I'm talking about the government.

  • The account that you say that is the government that's in the name of Charles G Taylor personal chequing account on the first - on all the statements, correct, that's the disagreement between us?

  • Well, the disagreement is that the account title, actually, if you look at the signature cards, the account title is really Charles G Taylor/Kadiatu Diarra, if you want to be technical about it, because the people that signed the account own the account. That's - so you will look at it that way.

  • Let's go to the fifth page. I'm going to refer you to a transaction in the middle of the page.

  • It's dated 19 April 2001.

  • And you will see just before above it is a $1 million debit and then the transaction I'm referring to. I'll give you all the lines. First it has the date of 19 April 2001 repeated twice. It then states RAD. The next line - column is 2,653. And then on the next column, 1,500,000 credit. And as we see from the next line, the account had previously been in a negative balance of a little over $1 million. $1,003,235.78. And with this deposit, it now has a balance of $496,764.22.

  • We see, for these two transactions, the one above with the $1 million debit, it says cash cheque and it has a number, and then below it for the deposit or the credit, process of RAD. Do you recall - can you tell us, Mr Taylor, who deposited or what was the deposit of $1.5 million on April 19, 2001?

  • This had to come from - I would really highly suggest - government sources. This is government revenue being put because of the negative balance in that account and the bank is aware that this is a government operational account. So we had an overdraft and they knew that it would be replenished. They would never let a personal account of an individual be overdrawn by a million dollars. The bank would be crazy. Where would I get the money to pay? So they are aware that this is a government account, so they let the overdraft go and when the government gets the money it sends it back into the account.

  • Your Honours, if Mr Taylor could be shown testimony from 18 November, page 31969.

  • Yes, that's before Mr Taylor now.

  • Thank you:

  • Mr Taylor, you were being questioned I believe by my colleague about this Central Bank, beginning at line 3:

    "Q. And when did you change this into the Central Bank of

    Liberia? When did that occur?

    A. I would say within the first - we would put through

    this legislation I think the first few months of my

    presidency. I would put this to '98. Around 1998.

    Q. Do you recall what part of 1998 that would have been?

    A. No, I don't.

    Q. So this Central Bank of Liberia had important functions

    for the control of currency?

    A. Everything, yes.

    Q. Credit, money flow?

    A. Money flow, yes. It was responsible really for the

    monetary control - total monetary control of the country.

    Q. I think you said that all revenues that were coming

    into the Government of Liberia would be deposited here.

    A. At the Central Bank, that is correct.

    Q. All revenues? No exceptions?

    A. All revenues."

    So, Mr Taylor, why did you tell the judges that all revenues came into the Central Bank when we've seen millions of dollars of transactions into this account in the name of Charles G Taylor at the LBDI bank?

  • Mr Koumjian, I - let me be very, very clear and answer your question. What I told these judges was true and the essence of these questions - you know, I know I'm not a lawyer, the little trick questions. You people already knew that these accounts were operating. So you asked me all revenue. At this particular time I'm supposed to volunteer and say, "Oh, no, there are some other" - but these transactions are done under the auspices of the Government of Liberia. And when monies come into this account from the Ministry of Finance and other financial sources that are approved by the legislature, Mr Koumjian, that's all that I can say about it. So why did I say all revenue? Because all revenues come into the Central Bank. How it is managed after that is not the Central Bank's prerogative. And when I talk about financial functions, let me be very clear about that because you didn't ask me or your colleague to - there are two policies in the nation. You have monetary and you have fiscal. The monetary policies are decided by the Central Bank. The fiscal policies are decided by government. Monetary regards to the increase or decrease in money supplies, charging bank, what we call reserve rates, and all that kind of stuff. But the fiscal responsibility of the use of taxpayers' money in Liberia is not the function of the Central Bank.

    So money may come into the Central Bank. After that it flows through the financial circles. That's the fiscal responsibility of the government. So by telling these judges that all revenue went into the Central Bank, all revenues went into the Central Bank, okay? The process of getting it out to get into this account did not violate any laws of Liberia. So I did not mislead the judges to bring this little cunning thing in to try - no, I did not mislead them when I told them that, "Oh, that's the monetary policy, but the fiscal responsibility was my government's responsibility."

  • Mr Taylor, we've seen in the records from the Citibank transfers that in fact the $2 million minus the $25 fee from Guus Kouwenhoven and the 3.5 million from the Republic of China, the Taiwan embassy, didn't go to the Central Bank, did not go to the Ministry of Finance. It was transferred directly to your account at LBDI, 328501.

  • Where are the transfers? You said transfer. I dispute that. Show me where there are Citibank transfer into - you are misleading these - this Court. There's no Citibank transfer to my account. Show me it on - in these records.

  • Thank you, Mr Taylor. Let's - I have to repeat what we've already covered, but if you look behind tab 9, MFI-312.

  • We see the transfer in the middle of the page from the embassy of the ROC, Monrovia, $3.5 million for further credit to Charles G Taylor and then gives your account number at LBDI.

  • So it was transferred directly. It didn't go to the Central Bank. It went to your account.

  • You said Citibank, Mr Koumjian. Citibank, that was your original statement and I said that Citibank never transferred any money to my account. LBDI - the account is in LBDI. And all LBDI does is, it takes care of an internal transaction. But I challenged you just now to show me where Citibank transferred money to my account. There's no Citibank transferred to my account.

  • Sir, Citibank is just the correspondent bank. The records of Citibank clearly show that the transfer from the Republic of China embassy was direct into your account through Citibank, direct to your account, $3.5 million, not to the Central Bank of Liberia.

  • But that is not correct, Mr Koumjian.

  • Where is the Central Bank of Liberia appear in this record?

  • This account statement is LBDI's account, okay? If you look at the transfer, this particular transfer is transferred to LBDI's account and the only place you see our accounts are - you will see in this financial statement of LBDI, they gave the details and references of the account. The money is transferred to an LBDI account.

  • First of all, Mr Taylor, LBDI is not the Central Bank of Liberia either, correct?

  • It's one of the operating financial institutions.

  • And further, this says it's transferred to the LBDI account for further credit to Charles G Taylor with your individual account number, 32851-01.

  • We disagree about the individuality of the account, Mr Koumjian, so I'll just leave it at that.

  • Mr Koumjian, we want to get the record correct. The document behind tab 9 that we're looking at, that both you and the witness are talking about, is a Citibank statement.

  • It is a transaction record from Citibank.

  • An account held by LBDI, their correspondent account, that shows all transfers by Citibank into and out of that LBDI correspondent account. And then --

  • Perhaps this is what you should put to the witness since the both of you disagree. I understood it to be a Citibank document that reflects one of its clients or account holders is LBDI. That's why you have this page. But it's a Citibank statement. If I'm wrong, please correct me.

  • You understood perfectly. My understanding was Mr Taylor understood this is a record --

  • Mr Taylor, tell me if you don't understand this: -- a transaction record from Citibank, and as you pointed out, it's for the account name - you look at the top left - LBDI. The account number that LBDI has with Citibank is at the top, 3600-6105. So this is Citibank's records of transactions from into and out of the LBDI account number 3600-6105.

  • That's where I disagree. I disagree. What my interpretation of this statement - this is a - this is an LBDI account statement showing transactions in its LBDI account in dealing with Citibank. This is not a Citibank statement. A Citibank statement would state that it is a Citibank statement. If you look at the account name Citibank does not go and make an account statement for LBDI. So this for me - my interpretation of this, this is an LBI statement - LBDI, excuse me. This is an LBDI statement that is showing the transaction on this day. All of these transactions occur only on 9 March - I mean, excuse me, I mean this month that you have the 29th and the 30th, two days that LBDI - this is an LBDI statement - in my understanding of this accounting record showing its transaction with Citicorp.

  • Mr Taylor, we might disagree about where the record came from but we agree, tell me if I'm wrong, that the embassy of Taiwan transferred $3.5 million to the LBDI account that we looked at at the very beginning of the day that has the name Charles G Taylor, that has the signatures for you and Kadiatu Diarra on 30 March, correct? The embassy of Taiwan transferred $3.5 million to that account, correct?

  • I thought we covered this.

  • The embassy did transfer money for the use of that account, yes.

  • And if we look behind tab 8 we're also in agreement, are we not, that Guus Kouwenhoven on behalf of Natura Holdings transferred to the same account $2 million with a $25 fee deducted on 17 July 2000, correct?

  • To the account - it says here credit to account 0020132851-01, the LBDI account that we've been talking about that has your name on it and has as signatories you and Kadiatu Diarra, correct?

  • Yes, I asked that question because you see it didn't - so now it's to an account.

  • It has the account number.

  • Okay, it's to an account. It doesn't mention Charles Taylor but we know that that's the same account. So I think we understand now when we're talking about this account, so it's not just to your personal, so we can also go to the account.

  • But why didn't that go to the Central Bank as required by Liberian law as you told us would always occur?

  • Because of the nature - once the legislation had been passed, because of the nature of the transaction. $3 million going directly to the Central Bank would have been followed. Again all Citicorp transferring $3 million to the Central Bank, the use of it, the IMF and World Bank have specialists all in these banks. And let's not forget, your Honours, maybe this is something your Honours ought to know, LBDI is majority owned by the Government of Liberia. It's not just a private bank. It's majority owned by the Government of Liberia.

  • Can I seek a clarification on the document behind tab 9. It appears to me that these funds, if we agree that this is a Citibank document, then these funds did go through Citibank in New York. Is that correct?

  • Your Honour, I believe as I tried to explain with the examples from the web page for the association, if I'm in Holland and I want to transfer money to someplace like Sierra Leone my ABN Ambro may not have an account direct relationship with a bank in Sierra Leone. So let's say Armenia. So if I want to transfer money to Armenia from ABN Ambro, they may have an account, both the bank in Armenia and ABN Ambro may have a relationship with a bank in Paris, so that bank is the correspondent bank that handles the transaction.

  • Mr Koumjian, don't complicate things on me. I'm not very good at figures. But I'm looking at the document where, for instance, we see the debit party. If you are looking at that - the information that accompanies the 3.5 million. The debit party, there is an account I think which is ICBC New York. Is that the --

  • In tab 9.

  • Tab 9. I'm looking at the embassy of the ROC, Monrovia, Liberia, debit party. ICBC, NYC; what is that?

  • That is a bank that has a relationship with Citibank, transfers the money to Citibank and Citibank transfers the money.

  • So, in other words, these are not funds that would escape the eye of someone in New York?

  • If this transaction did go through New York.

  • It would go through - if it went through Citibank and went through - there's an address given in tab 7, I believe, and that is in New York, New York - the city of New York.

  • Because I'm trying to understand Mr Taylor's explanation that these monies did not go through the Central Bank, otherwise they would have been discovered. The reason they didn't go through the Central Bank and went straight to his account or through the Liberian - the LBDI is so that they wouldn't be discovered.

  • Yeah. By that I mean, your Honour, the money goes through the Central Bank, the use of that money, with IMF and World Bank individuals there, would be very, very clear. How do you go to the Central Bank because the Central Bank does not physically pay out cash for transactions. They are not involved in the transaction business. So if that money had gone there what Citibank would have done, how that money got out of Citibank the IMF individuals would have kept a record of it. So what we did was to use - what LBDI was used as was as the clearing house of the Government of Liberia. So we used LBDI instead for the money to go to LBDI, thus bypassing the information into the Central Bank system in Liberia.

  • Mr Taylor, are you trying to tell us that the Central Bank of Liberia is incapable of making disbursements?

  • The Central Bank of Liberia is not responsible for disbursements. That's not the function of the Central Bank. Ours didn't do it.

  • The Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance would take revenue from the Government of Liberia, from the taxpayers and the people of Liberia, and according to the budget passed by the legislature they would allocate it to various ministries and those ministries would have spent it according to the legislation, correct?

  • That's incorrect.

  • Tell us how it worked.

  • You should have asked me before now. You have - you've jumped over [indiscernible] - it doesn't work that way. In the first instance, a budget is an estimated amount done by the government. Monies that are approved by the budget are only approved by the - they are approved by the legislature for the disbursement around in various ministries and agencies. You have again another tier. The second tier is that you may have the budgeted amount but you have to wait for collections before you have the appropriation for certain amounts and then the disbursement.

    So, for example, you may have budgeted in January to spent $4 million and you get maybe $2.5 million in. That's not a function of the Central Bank any more. The budget bureau of the Republic of Liberia and the Ministry of Finance are responsible. The budget bureau does the allotments based on the appropriations and collectables and then the Ministry of Finance transact all of things. I don't see - I haven't gone through your bundle but you have in the bundle given us a copy of the transaction that occurred at the Ministry of Finance in dealing with some of these deposits.

  • Mr Taylor, the Central Bank collects revenue, you've told us that before. Isn't that true? The Central Bank collects all revenue for the Republic of Liberia?

  • No, the Central Bank keeps revenues. Revenue collection is not a function of the Central Bank. It keeps the money.

  • The money goes into the Central Bank. That's required by the law, correct; all revenues go into the Central Bank?

  • That's required by the law. But when the legislature passes an Act authorising the President to act, that's the budgetary law, one law can trump another law.

  • This money from Guus Kouwenhoven and the Republic of China did not go through the Central Bank, correct?

  • It did not go through the Central Bank. That is correct.

  • And your explanation for that is because it's a covert account?

  • I have given an explanation. I told you that going through the Central Bank the IMF and World Bank would have wanted an accounting for the expenditure as they try to do and we took it through another source to be able to carry out the operations as I as President of Liberia was charged to do.

  • Are you telling us today that this account that we've been talking about at LBDI was a covert account?

  • Mr Koumjian, what do I tell you again? I've said it a million times. That account - when you say covert, was it a covert account, in that sense I would say no. Was it used for covert activities? Yes.

  • If the witness could be shown from 26 November, I hope this reference is correct, page 32321. Is it the wrong reference? Page 32522.

  • Yes, Mr Taylor has that.

  • Mr Taylor, you were asked several --

  • Line 3. I asked you:

    "Q. Mr Taylor, what was the source of funding for your

    covert budget?

    A. The taxpayers of the Republic of Liberia."

    That wasn't true according to your current testimony, correct?

  • That was true. Mr Koumjian, that was as true as it could be. Mr Koumjian, major western intelligence agencies sell drugs to fund intelligence activities. When they ask them they tell them - that say we sold drugs to get it? Listen, you know, this is why you have to keep politics out of courts. I'm asked a question and I'm trying to be very earnest to these judges and tell them - you ask how do you fund the budget? The budget is funded by the taxpayers of Liberia. Now if this money coming in is that a part of the budgetary funding is another question. But the budget is funded by the taxpayers, although you have foreign assistance and other things, but that's how you fund the budget.

  • Sir, the specific question was a source of funding for your covert budget. Is the embassy of Taiwan a taxpayer of the Republic of Liberia?

  • By the way, Mr Taylor, what is the source of your knowledge about drug activity by intelligence agencies?

  • As much as you know. What I have read, that some intelligence agencies - all kinds - most of intelligence funded is not just from budgets mentioned. All kinds of activities go into - some people had - they have shares in corporations. They do a lot of things.

  • Mr Taylor, if we could look behind tab 13. First perhaps the tab that we were looking at previously, the first seven pages of tab 12 could be marked for identification.

  • Yes, the first seven pages will be marked as one document, MFI-314.

  • Perhaps before I leave that, just for the sake of completion, Mr Taylor, if you go to the last - the seventh page of tab 12?

  • Tab 12. Did you say page 7?

  • Yes, the printout says at the top page 4 but it's the seventh page into the bundle. First let me ask you, there appears to be on 19 July 2001 three or four transactions, the first four transactions?

  • Wait a minute now. Did you say tab 12?

  • Yes, sir. Tab 12, the seventh page in - the first date is 19 July 2001?

  • You see at the top for 19 July, there's a whole series of transactions, but the first four appear to be substantial and the others are debit/credit charges. We see that the first line, and there's a debit of $50,000 cash/cheque. Then there's a $450,000 debit and then a $450,000 credit and the indication is reversal of cheque deposit into GOL. And then --

  • Well, that's not "into".

  • It means something different, but it sure doesn't mean "into".

  • Okay. And then you see another debit, 450,000 cheque DEPIFO, GOL tax. What were these transactions, sir?

  • I don't know. I don't know. I see GOL tax, I'm sure it's coming from the Finance Ministry. I see another GOL at the top, it's got to be some Finance Ministry, you know, dealing with some of this money, so - but once you see GOL, it simply means that, again, I think this brings to home the point that this information and what is going on is actually being done with the knowledge of more than just Charles Taylor.

  • Sir, the very last transaction, 29 October 2003, this would be after you've left Liberia, correct?

  • 29 October - by "last transaction" --

  • The bottom of this page, the page we were just looking at, the last line.

  • And there's a $3,542.12 debit and that zeros out the account. It indicates "repayment against D/D, LIB for Jesus". What is that, do you know?

  • Yes. Liberia for Jesus was the National Prayer Service Programme sponsored by the Government of Liberia while I was in office, Liberia for Jesus, where we had pastors from the United States and all that came down. Benny Hinn couldn't come. He sent - and this is it. But this is after - I'm not in office, but apparently - I don't know who transacted this. It could have just been a bank, because you can see, as you readily say, the - that's not the real major transaction. The last major transaction in this account occurred actually in July 2001. You see over there, 450,000. So these other things, I think this is just - you look at monthly service charges and maybe an action on the part of the bank, because there's hardly anything left in the account. But the last transaction ended in 2001.

  • Mr Taylor, when you got - received money, for example, from Guus Kouwenhoven, into this account, he received a receipt for taxes paid, correct?

  • Oh, his account was credited at the Finance Ministry, that is correct.

  • So taxes that should have gone to the Ministry of Finance and the Republic of Liberia from timber were going to your personal account, correct?

  • But how - no. How can you say that monies went to the Finance Ministry were received, were issued, and then you say taxes that should have gone to the Finance Ministry. Of course they went to the Finance Ministry. These were not secret transactions. The Finance Ministry and the appropriate official was aware that a special account was set up at LBDI to take care of certain government transactions as authorised by our legislature. Now, we may disagree but that's our legislature and we acted accordingly.

  • You are saying your legislature authorised you to set up a personal chequing account - -

  • -- to receive tax - let me finish the question - to receive tax revenue?

  • That's not what I said. During the crisis in December 1999, the legislature about that time or thereabouts passed a bill authorising the President of Liberia to use, in the exact words of the Legislature, "any and all means to make sure the republic was protected". We had had two attacks from LURD and LURD was penetrating the country deeply. We had an arms embargo on us we could not get around. The legislature told me to use any and all means. I did, and I reported to the appropriate people what was going on. Through that in 2001 I'm telling the world we bought arms. This was not personal. It was not my personal account. If it had been, I would not have permitted another government official to sign it that's not my wife or my lover or nothing. This is official. Now, we may have all of our different interpretations, but it remains the fact of the matter it was not a personal account of Charles Taylor.

  • Sir, December 1999 did LURD even exist with that name as an organisation?

  • No, not that I know of. It came as Mosquito Spray, but let's not forget they were - there had been an initial attack and there were attacks in - don't let's forget by April, Mr Koumjian - by April, when the RUF and the international community is hosting the peace agreement in Lome, what's happening by that time that you took me through in cross-examination the other day? There are two attacks in 1999. I think one is in August and the other is in April, and you took me through that, Mr Koumjian. The country is at war. This is our remedy.

  • April there's an attack on Voinjama; and August there's the Mosquito Spray incident; correct?

  • 1999, and we opened this account in December.

  • That attack on Voinjama was one day; the attack Mosquito Spray was a couple of days, correct?

  • Mr Koumjian, war is war. We are at war. After the second attack they are hardly driven out. From August they were still fighting, so --

  • Mr Taylor, if we now go behind tab 13. And just so no one is deceived, this is simply a spreadsheet that I created totalling figures from other pages. Let me explain where the figures come from. If we look at the monthly summaries which are complete in tab 10 and in tab 5 has some of them, but tab 10, you'll see the first seven entries, where I got these figures from. These figures are taken from the credit amounts for the months from these monthly summaries. So $917,243 for December '99; $6,905,500 for March 2000; $1,393 for May 2000; $25,000 for June 2000; $1,999,975 for July 2000; $493,250 for August; and half a million dollars for September. The total for those nine months, Mr Taylor, $10,842,268.93.

    If we then add the three transactions that we --

  • Credits or what are they?

  • These are the total of the deposits, the credits for the monthly summaries:

  • If we then look at the final three figures are taken from the three transactions - credit transactions I went through --

  • There's an objection. Yes, Mr Griffiths?

  • I'm sorry to interrupt, but I'm slightly concerned about the procedure being adopted here because effectively what we have is Mr Koumjian, who is not a witness, giving evidence as to the creation of this document.

  • That's precisely what he is doing. We haven't adopted any procedure at all.

  • But it seems to us that it would be more helpful if he elicited the information on this page through the witness, then we can see how this document came to be created. It seems it's through the mouth of the witness, not Mr Koumjian, that we see how we arrive at these figures.

  • Mr Koumjian?

  • Your Honour, this document is simply totalling the credits from previous documents. It's for the convenience of the Court, the witness and Defence counsel to see how all of these add up and the total figure. Clearly, I'm not a witness, but these - as I'm explaining where I took them from. They are taken from the banking records of the other transactions. It's simply a summary document of what's contained in different places in the documents. If your Honours do not find it helpful to get this total, we don't have to use it. But I thought it would be helpful to everyone to see these figures totalled.

  • Mr Koumjian, the trouble is if cross-examination or re-examination has to be done, you are answerable for these documents, not Mr Taylor, and how is that going to happen?

  • I'm trying to explain where each of these came from a different document. I'm not testifying. They come from a different document --

  • I'm saying, should there be disagreement with you. To take a very easy point: I was asking you if you made this document why you didn't put a heading "credits" or "total credits". I don't know what they are, and the document is just a set of figures. And we may - in passing, we may go back and add and it may not add up as you have added it up. That may be. But in case any issues arise out of this document, are you going to give evidence?

  • Of course, there's no reason for me to give evidence. This is simply from the other documents. If your Honours believe it amounts to testimony, then I'll withdraw it and I'll simply ask Mr Taylor about - put it to him. And I'll do that, given the comments from the Bench:

  • Mr Taylor, if we take the amount that is in these summaries from the LBDI documents, what we have in total for nine months, from December '99 to December 2000, I'm putting it to you, $10,842,268.93 was deposited into this account. Let me just complete the question. Then we have three additional deposits we've gone through this afternoon during your testimony: 4 December, 10 January 2001 and 19 April 2001. They, in total, are $3,650,000, for a grand total, from December '99 to April 2001, of $14,492,268.93, once more the number: $14,492,268.93. Sir, all of this money was deposited into an account, LBDI account, in the name of Charles G Taylor, correct?

  • I disagree. I disagree. In fact, I don't know what this document is, but I disagree because I have not even - I don't know the purposes or the - all of the origin of these figures, so I disagree.

  • Your Honour, I've completed my questioning on these documents and I don't intend to put any further documents. I believe all that I've used - I'm not going to ask that that last document be marked for identification, given the comments - have been marked for identification. So the Prosecution has completed this topic.

  • Mr President, I wonder if I can inquire whether that means that so far as all the other documents not marked for identification in this bundle is concerned, that the Prosecution have no intention of placing any reliance on them either now or at any future stage.

  • Your Honour, we're not going to give indications that we will never refer to other documents. Things will come up in cross-examination, we don't know what Mr Taylor's answers will be. So I'm not prepared to say that we will never use any of the other documents in the bundle that were not referred to.

  • That's your answer, Mr Griffiths.

  • The Prosecution is still cross-examining, but would I be correct in saying that, in view of the orders this morning, there's nothing that the Prosecution has to put up in cross-examination at this stage?

  • That is correct, your Honour, given the issues of the document disclosure.

  • And disclosure --

  • And, quite frankly, your Honours understand the move is upon us. We have a tremendous task frankly ahead of us to complete with everyone going on vacation - to comply with the orders this morning. So frankly that will be a very full-time task for the rest of this week.

  • Yes. Mr Griffiths, do you have any other matters you would like to mention? It's going to be a rather long adjournment this time.

  • [Microphone not activated].

  • Thank you. Mr Taylor, we're going to have to adjourn now and I'll just remind you of the standing order not to discuss your evidence with any other person. We will adjourn now until Monday, 11 January at 9.30.

  • Mr President, before everyone leaves can I take the opportunity to wish everyone a merry Christmas on behalf of the Defence.

  • Thank you very much, Mr Griffiths. On behalf of the Bench we reciprocate those very kind sentiments.

  • Thank you very much.

  • [Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.16 p.m. to be reconvened on Monday, 11 January 2010 at 9.30 a.m.]