Judge Ousman Feika of Criminal Court "C" had ordered the arrest of the management of FrontPage Africa Newspaper for “Misinterpreting and misleading the public with the Court's ruling on the Samukai’s case.”
The management of FrontPage Africa Newspaper has denied an accusation by the presiding judge of Criminal Court ‘C’, Ousman Feika, that it refused to sign the Sheriff returns of the Writ of Summons issued on August 27, 2021, for a conference yesterday at noon.
According to FPA management, since the outbreak of the 3rd wave of coronavirus in Liberia, they hardly worked from their office near Vamoma Junction, Airfield Road but instead work from home. As a result, they were unable to lay hold of the writ and to sign the Sheriff’s return.
“Since the outbreak of the deadly Covid-19, we have had a limited presence at our main office near Vamoma Junction, Airfield Road. Most, if not all of our reporters and editors work from home and submit stories via email and our WhatsApp group chat,” FPA management noted. “To our dismay, the Criminal Court “C” presided over by assigned Circuit Court Judge, OUSMAN F. Feika this morning ordered the arrest of our Management for what it calls our failure and refusal to sign for and receive a writ of summons.”
They added, “Our security officers say that the Sheriff attempted to to serve the writ at 11 a.m. for the management to appear at 12:30 p.m., making it nearly impossible for anyone in authority to appear on time thus breaking the law as all of our staff were on assignment.”
“While we have no intention of breaking the law we are also mindful of observing Covid protocols. We have done nothing wrong for any judge to order our arrest. We will be happy to appear once we are served in a reasonable time to honor the court’s request,” added FPA management.
Judge Ousman Feika of Criminal Court "C" had ordered the arrest of the management of FrontPage Africa Newspaper for “Misinterpreting and misleading the public with the Court's ruling on the Samukai’s case.” Judge Feika’s action came after the Court accused the management of FrontPage Africa Newspaper of its alleged failure, refusal, and neglect to sign and receive the Writ of Summons issued for a conference.
"The clerk of the Court is hereby ordered to issue a Criminal Contempt of Court on the Management of the FrontPage Africa Newspaper along with a Writ of arrest and place same in the hand of the Sheriff of the Court to have the said management arrested and have them appeared before this Court upon affecting said arrest".
In issuing the writ of arrest, Judge Feika noted that the paper’s management needs to show why the Management should not be held in contempt of court for wrongfully reporting in its VOL. 15 No. 141, Friday, August 27, 2021, edition, under the caption, "Samukai Suffers Setback As Government Wants His 50% Payment Revoked; says all Co-defendants Must Jointly Pay 50% Of US$1.3Millon" Found On Pages-8".
According to the Judge, the ‘Wrongfully’ made in the above-quoted publication has subjected him and the Court to public ridicule. “Hence, this Writ of Summons citing the Management to the Court to show cause why it cannot be held in contempt of Court for its wrongful publication against the Court and the presiding Judge, His Honor Ousman Feika,” the court said.
The Quotation in question reads, "The legal proceeding involving former Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai and others convicted for misappropriating the Armed Forces of Liberia pension will have to delay up to September 6, following a Bill of Information filed by the Ministry of Justice against "irregularities" by Criminal Court "C" Judge Ousman Feika and Co-defendants Samukai and Others".
Meanwhile, the Court has disclosed that the management of the New Democrat Newspaper has requested time in order to be represented by a counsel in the proceedings. Judge Feika said the Court’s request gives the management of the New Democrat Newspaper up to Wednesday, September 1, 2021, to contact their lawyer to represent their interest in these proceedings and appear in court for the continuation of the proceeding on the same day, at 10:00 AM.
Both FPA and New Democrat Newspaper have been accused by the Court of misinterpreting and misleading the public with the Court's ruling on the Samukai case. The court issued a Writ of Summons for the conference on Friday, August 27, 2021, for the management of the two papers to appear before Criminal Court "C" first Judicial Circuit for Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia, on Monday, August 30, 2021, at noon.