Diaspora Liberian Group’s Chairman Duped in Double Land Sale

The Chairman of the All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship (ALCOD), Emmanuel S. Wettee. 

The Chairman of the All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship (ALCOD), Emmanuel S. Wettee, has been duped in land sale in Duazon, Lower Margibi County. 

Wettee, who is now a victim of the age-old problem of double land deal across the country,  has invested more than a decade advocating for dual citizenship for naturalized Liberians and those born of Liberian parentage abroad. 

He purchased two lots in 2021, in Duazon, Lower Margibi County, having paid US$5,200 to one Mr. Baryoe G. Tarplah and, after investing more than US$5,000 on the land to start the process of building his foundation, one Bishop Frank Harris, a Nigerian-born, claimed ownership to the identical two lots, thus stopping the plans.

As per an investigation conducted by Mr. Joe A. Dorah, Land Administrator, Margibi County, Chairman Wettee and that of Rebecca C. Doe’s land deed was probated by Judge Joe S. Barkon on January 22, 2021, and signed by the Probate Clerk, Catherine C. Johnson and registered by the Registrar, B. Wolobah Pew, with the Vol. B-2021 and page 0300000090 on January 25, 2021, and their grantor (Mr. Baryoe G. Tarplah) confirmed that he sold the land to Chairman Wettee and Ms. Doe.

Bishop Harris presented his deed with the name Moduekwe Godfrey, which was probated by Judge Mardea T. Chenoweth on February 3, 2021, signed by probate Clerk, Catherine C. Johnson, and registered by the Registrar, B. Wolobah Pew, with the Vol B-2021 and page 030000000492 on March 22, 2021.

The grantor of Bishop Harris’s deed is a relative of Mr. Tarplah and lives in the same area. 

According to neighbors, the grantor of Bishop Harris’s deed and Mr. Tarplah, knowingly sold the same land to both parties. Neighbors are saying the practice of family members knowingly selling identical land(s) to more than one person is normal. 

The question many are asking is, how is it possible that Probate Clerk Catherine C. Johnson can sign the identical lot/land document without an alert within a few weeks? How could Registrar B. Wolobah Pew register documents relating to the identical land/lots without an alert within a few weeks? Was it a collaborative effort to probate Bishop Frank Harris’s land deed, since Eminent Wettee is a Diaspora Liberian? 

He disclosed that Baryoe G. Tarplah will be in court very soon, to pay back his expenses relating to the land and resolve this issue through legal means. Wettee is now experiencing the same pain as other Diaspora Liberians. 

“They are saying it without any remorse, that selling land(s) purchased by a Diaspora Liberian to another person is wealth distribution or redistribution. The problem of double land selling is a national concern and normal without any easy solution in Liberia,” he said sadly.  

Chairman Wette added that another problem is the issue of some Liberians using substandard materials to build homes for Diaspora Liberians. In some cases, he said a Diaspora Liberian will have to rebuild their home(s) two or three “times or take a very long vacation to make sure their homes are well built.” 

Despite the frustrations, Chairman Wettee is still encouraging diaspora Liberians to return home despite their concerns, even though he has become a victim, too. 

“The rampant selling of land to more than one person in Liberia is impacting national development and this needs to be addressed not only by the national government, but also local governments, civil society organizations, religious leaders or institutions, families, relatives, friends, and all,” Wettee pleaded. 

He added: “Knowingly, the selling of identical land(s) to more than one person by some Liberians (same family members, relatives or friends) is corruption and a criminal act.”