Liberia: ‘There Is No Faith in our Judicial System’

Criminal Court ‘A’ Judge Roosevelt Willie  

Says Judge Willie, as he urges colleagues to apply the rule of law without fear and favor

Criminal Court ‘A’ Judge Roosevelt Willie believes that for the government to achieve its developmental goals, it should ensure that those entrusted with the responsibility to apply the rule of law do so without fear or favor.

Judge Willie insinuated that this is why investors and even Liberians will not invest in the country, because they do not have faith in the judicial system, especially so when they are aggrieved for their investments.

Delivering his charge on Monday, August 8, during the formal opening of the August 2022 Term of Criminal Courts A, B, C, D and E, Judge Willie cautioned his calleagues that it is incumbent upon them — the judges and magistrates — to always dispense justice without fear or favor.

Referencing the statue erected in the courtyard of the Temple of Justice, home of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Willie said: “it has a cover on its face, which depicts that justice is blind and knows no one, irrespective of position, religion, or economic background.”

Therefore, he urged judges during the August 2022 Term to ensure that the rule of law be their guide, irrespective of any influence from whatsoever, whosoever and wherever.

Willie’s concern comes at a time when the Supreme Court is still struggling to act on the Judiciary Inquiry Commission’s (JIC) 2021 investigative findings.

The JIC recommended to the Supreme Court to have the Chief Judge of the Commercial Court, Counselor Eva Mappy Morgan, suspended for a period of one year without pay and benefits for allegedly colluding with a lawyer of the Monrovia Oil Trading Company (MOTC), Counsellor Negbalee Warner of the Heritage and Partner Law Firm.

They claimed that both Judge Morgan and Cllr. Warner depleted the Escrow Account of Ducor Petroleum Incorporated in the amount over US$3 million, while a commercial dispute between a Liberian businessman, Amos Brousis and the MOTC was still pending undecided at the court.

Another case is the US$5 million economic sabotage and theft of property that two Czech Republic investors, Martin Miloschewsky and Pavel Miloschewsky, brought against the Secretary of the Liberian Senate, Nanborlor Singbeh, also still pending undecided at the Criminal Court ‘C’.

The money, valued in both cash and mining equipment was transferred to Singbeh and several other individuals including some other Czech Republic nationals for the establishment of MHM Eko Liberia Limited, which was never established and the mining equipment are unaccounted for, according to the Czech investors.

It also comes at the time the judiciary, which is only an aspect of the justice system, has suffered greatly due to the alleged despicable acts of some judges who have often colluded with lawyers to weaken the law, thereby allowing corruption to grow on fertile ground.

Judge Willie, meanwhile, sees the Judiciary as the fulcrum of the rule of law, and the “third side of his development to the mathematical figure he called “Triangle.”

He said the critical elements, as linked to the sides of the triangle, means [that] to achieve total development, each side of the triangle must exist, which the rule of law, according to him, is the most important side of the triangle.

The other two sides, Willie said, are roads, skyscraper buildings as the first side of the triangle, while sound educational system, agriculture, science, technology and sound economic systems constitute the second side of the triangle.

Wondering about the rule of law side of the triangle, Willie asked, “what is meant by the rule of law?” Answering his own question, he said: “Where the law is applied to all equally; in other words, whether you are a government official or institution, or just a citizen, you are not above the law.”

According to Willie, where the rule of law hardly exists, then there can be no development, because the triangle is incomplete and therefore development does not exist.

“Simply put, no society or nation can achieve total or absolute development without the rule of law,” he said.