Liberia: Judge Morgan Steps Aside in Sen. Secretary's US$5M Case

Judge Eva Mappy Morgan

… After a request for her recusal was filed by Hans Armstrong, a British national and attorney-in-fact to two Czech Republic investors 

The Chief Judge of the Commercial Court has recused herself from further handling the US$5 million auditing lawsuit against the Secretary of the Senate, Nanborlor Singbeh.

Judge Justice Eva Mappy Morgan had earlier threatened to rule in the matter if Hans Armstrong, a British national and Attorney-In-Fact to two Czech Republic investors Martin and Pavel Miloschewsky, and his legal team failed to attend her hearing of the case on August 8, despite facing complaint of gross ethical breach before the Judiciary Inquiry Commission.

In her recusal decision, Morgan acknowledged that on May 16, she was accused by Armstrong of ethical transgression before Chief Justice Sie -A-Nyene Yuoh. Youh later followed Judge Morgan to the Judiciary Inquiry Commission for investigation.

“The aforementioned judge filed a response pursuant to the instruction of the JIC,” Morgan said in her recusal decision. “The judge recuses herself from these proceedings and hereby orders the clerk to write a letter to Hon. Chief Justice under her signature for an Ad Hoc Judge consistent with Article 5 of the Commercial Code.”

 Morgan has since written the Commission to proceed with the complaint filed against her, in her letter dated July 21. 

Morgan has been accused by Hans Armstrong of issuing an “inventory mandate” for the assets of their company, MHM Eko Liberia, without the knowledge of his legal team, who had filed the petition for auditing in 2017.

The request for inventory, according to Armstrong, came from Nanborlor Singbeh, the Secretary of the Liberian Senate — who the Miloschewsky brothers have sued for allegedly misapplying equipment and monies meant for the operation of MHM Eko.

Accompanying Armstrong’s letter to Chief Justice Yuoh was a copy of a document containing “minutes of a meeting” held in 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic, in which Singbeh described himself as “having absolute control over the other two branches of the government. the executive and the judiciary.”

“I have been using my contacts with the government not to pay income tax for my local and foreign workers, because every company established and carrying on employment must present a payroll to the ministry along with the payment of income tax collected from its staff or employees,” the document quoted Singbeh as saying.  

Armstrong believes that the judge’s action supported Singbeh's statement to his majority shareholders, for which the judge should be investigated for “unprofessional and ethical breach.”

“The Chief Judge, having recused herself from the disposition of this matter, the motion for recusal as filed is forthwith declared moot and does not require any further hearing,” She added. 

“Assignment for hearing in this matter will be subject to the appointment and assignment of an Ad Hoc Judge by the Chief Justice of the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia pursuant to the Act creating and guarding the Commercial Court of Liberia. It is so ordered.” 

In her notice of assignment dated July 31, the judge wrote, “You are further commended to notify the parties that upon failure on the part of any to appear in court on August 8, at 1:30 pm, judgment will be rendered against it by default.” 

Immediately,  the Gongloe and Associates Law Firm, on August 2, filed a motion for recusal. 

In the motion, the Gongloe law firm argued that Morgan, in her response to the Commission, referred to Armstrong as “criminal, touts of the Minister  Justice, Frank Musab Dean.”

“Judge Morgan also accused Armstrong of manipulating the Liberia Judicial System, a grave allegation, which Armstrong vehemently challenged and denied,” the motion of recusal added.

The motion further argued that Morgan exhibited a lack of cool neutrality in the case, “as your personal interest has been shown in the case whenever it is called.”

“This is evidenced by your Honor's sua sponte, ordered issuance of an assignment in the case without any of the parties requesting same. This move further shows Your Honor’s lack of neutrality and shows personal interest in the case. Therefore, Your Honor is conflicted to preside over this case pursuant to the law.”