Liberia: Brosius ‘Unhappy about Chief Justice Korkpor’s Retirement’
Days after Chief Justice Francis Korkpor broke silence about his retirement during this term of the Supreme Court, a Liberian businessman, Amos Brosius, is not taking the pronouncement lightly and has chosen to pick a bone with Korkpor.
Addressing journalists covering the Supreme Court, Brosius said that he is “terribly disappointed” that the Korkpor’s Bench has not taken cognizance of the Judicial Inquiry Commission’s (JIC) recommendation against the Chief Judge of the Commercial Court, Counselor Eva Mappy Morgan, before announcing his retirement date as September 5 of this year.
In 2020, Justice Korkpor directed the JIC to conduct an investigation into Brosius' accusation that Judge Morgan and the judiciary illegally withdrew from his Ducor Petroleum's account the amount of US$3.3 million from the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI).
A few months later, in 2021, the JIC concluded with Morgan's investigation and held the judge liable for ethical breach, before recommending to Chief Justice Korkpor to have her suspended for a period of one year without pay and benefits.
This complaint was filed to Justice Korkpor’s office, in 2015. The money was deposited into the Ducor account and placed under the custody of the Judiciary and Judge Morgan, and to only be touched, only after the conclusion of a commercial lawsuit that was between Brosius and his partner, the Monrovia Oil Trading Company (MOTC), in June 2013.
However, while the case was still pending undecided before the court, the JIC said, Judge Morgan, on July 24, the same year, unilaterally lifted the freeze on the Ducor's account, in favor of the MOTC party, which led to the depletion of the account.
The money was as a result of a commercial dispute between Brosius and his partner, the Monrovia Oil Trading Company (MOTC), of which the parties, Brosius and the MOTC agreed to freeze the Ducor account, pending the outcome of the case.
But, without the consent and knowledge of Brosius, Judge Morgan, on July 24, 2013, unilaterally wrote Mr. John Davis, the president of the LBDI, the JIC report says.
Unfortunately, on July 22, 2013, just seven days (July 15), after the court froze the account, Counselor T. Negbalee Warner, the lawyer for the MOTC party, wrote the court to unfreeze the account and subsequently allow the company management to have access to the Ducor's escrow account, because, according to Warner, the imposition and continuation of the stay order cannot permit any of the transaction required to continue with the effective operation of the Ducor.
When the court received the letter from Cllr Warner, Judge Morgan did not have Brosius informed about the MOTC's request. Instead, the judge, on July 24, 2013, wrote John Davis, president of the LBDI, instructing Mr. Davis to lift the stay order and to allow the MOTC party to have access to the Ducor's escrow account, which instruction, the JIC's findings claimed, caused the depletion of the Ducor Petroleum account.
However, Judge Morgan rejected the JIC's findings and appealed before Justice Korkpor Bench. Her appeal had been argued before justices of the Supreme Court, but up to Justice Korkpor’s retirement announcement, there is no assurance that the judgment would ever be released.
Brosius said if Justice Korkpor were interested in him getting justice, Korkpor would have acted immediately, and that the Chief Justice has both a legal and moral duty to do so.
“Justice Korkpor knows that Judge Morgan and the judiciary under his leadership committed a very serious crime and injustice against me. But, his silence and lack of action become all the more inexplicable and disturbing for the justice system, which is a pillar of our foundation as a democratic nation,” Brosius said.
According to Brosius, if Justice Korkpor refused to pass a judgment on the JIC's recommendation, it means that the Korkpor’s Bench will be leaving a bad legacy. “A legacy that lacks transparency and injustice against the poor and less privileged.”
“Look, I was a rich man but now my family and I are poor people. Because everything I have worked for over the years has been taken away from me by Judge Morgan and the Korkpor’s Bench,” Brosius lamented. When asked about his next plan of action, if Justice Korkpor did not release the opinion before retirement, Brosius replied, “I am going to think about my next decision. But, I am saddened by Justice Korkpor's action not to look into my case before his retirement.