As he continued his evidence yesterday at the Special Court trial in The Hague the third prosecution witness, Vamunya Fiah Sheriff a one-time bodyguard and close ally to former president of Liberia Charles Taylor, denied receiving incentive from the prosecution for his evidence.
During cross examination by the lead counsel for Charles Taylor, Courtney Griffiths, the witness was asked whether he received money from the Office of the Prosecution (OTP) for the relocation of his family and that OTP was taking care of his family?
The witness denied saying that he was a staff of the Disarmament Demobilization Reintegration (DDR) and that the salary he received from the organization could take care of his family.
The defence counsel disclosed to the witness that, “once you mentioned diamonds then money started coming. You were getting the money without being interviewed. What was the money for?” The defence lawyer asked.
The witness answered, “the money they gave was to relocate my family. I did not take money for family assistance and nobody gave us cash for medical treatment.”
The witness, a former assistant director of operations, told the court that physical cash was not given to him for medical treatment but that if a family member was sick the OTP would take the person to the hospital and would pay the bills “but to say medical allowance was given to us is not true.”
Mr Sheriff was further asked by the lawyer whether he attended all meetings with Mr Taylor including the one held in Guinea where Taylor met with Lansana Conte of Guinea and Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone.
In response the witness said, “I was there when Taylor told President Kabbah that he was not supporting the RUF and he also told President Conte that some people were grouping in Guinea to fight in Liberia.”
The witness was challenged by Mr Griffiths that the witness was not present at this meeting and that in certain meetings bodyguards were not allowed to attend.