Liberia: “As for Us, We Shall Continue to Speak and Write the Truth Even at the Peril of Our Lives”
... a message from the Daily Observer!
Once again and for the umpteenth time, the media has come under attack by judicial officials claiming that the media is purveying stories to the public that do not meet the ethical standards of journalism.
Such attacks have come both from judges and justices of the Supreme Court without exception, including Chief Justice Francis Korkpor himself.
Whenever the media reports on corruption in the judiciary, judicial officials often take offense, claiming that the media is publishing false reports, unbalanced or highly biased reports which they claim are intended to bring the judiciary into public disrepute.
Even the Chief Justice himself has admitted that there is corruption in the judiciary but that he has taken steps to discipline errant judicial officials. The Chief Justice made this assertion when he responded to US Department of Treasury comments on corruption in the judiciary.
The Treasury Department had at the time sanctioned influential lawyer and Grand Cape Mount Senator, Varney Sherman and singled out the Supreme Court for foot-dragging on matters pending before its Judicial Inquiry Committee,(JIC)
One of such matters, then pending before the JIC, was the complaint of impropriety filed against Commercial Court Chief Judge Eva Mappy Morgan by party litigant Amos Brosius.
Brosius had complained that Judge Mappy Morgan in a letter dated July 23, 2013, and addressed to the President of the Liberian Bank for Development(LBDI) instructed him to pay to the bailiff of the Commercial Court the amount of US$212, 704.36.
The money, according to bank sources, was paid to the bailiff of the Court as instructed. But just what happened to the money after it was delivered to Judge Mappy is the question she has been unable to answer to date.
According to Brosius, neither he nor his lawyers were aware of Cllr. Negbalee Warner’s letter of July 22, 2013, requesting the court to lift the freeze on Brosius’ Ducor Petroleum LBDI account.
The freeze had been imposed following claims by the Monrovia Oil Trading Company(MOTC), partly owned by a son of President Sirleaf, that Brosius, during his stint as Manager of MOTC, stole the company’s money to establish his own company, Ducor Petroleum.
For this reason, according to MOTC all funds deposited in the Ducor Petroleum LBDI account rightly belonged to them. And while the matter was still pending litigation Cllr. Negbalee Warner wrote the letter requesting the lifting of the freeze.
Since then, according to Brosius, his account has been depleted by over US$3 million. He filed before the Commercial Court a petition for proper accounting but that has gone nowhere. The Daily Observer in its September 20, 2021 editorial headlined, “Sheer Wickedness and a Travesty of Justice” noted it appeared that Brosius was deliberately being denied justice judging by the many legal hurdles thrown into his way in his quest for justice.
The Daily Observer further noted that because the matter had lingered in the courts for so long (since 2013) without resolution, the public had been left to speculate rightly or wrongly that Judge Mappy and members of the Supreme Court Bench are more likely than not part of a grand conspiracy.
The Daily Observer has consistently followed and reported on developments in this case and, for this and possibly other reasons, we believe that Judge Mappy Morgan’s latest charges against the media, accusing it of slander, stems from our diligent coverage of this issue.
The Daily Observer has, for example, consistently urged judicial officials, including Judge Mappy Morgan, to make public disclosure of what happened to the US$212,704.36 Judge Mappy Morgan ordered to be withdrawn from Brosius LBDI account based on her July 23, 2013, letter to LBDI President John Davies.
There is a prevailing view in the public that the JIC recommended the imposition of sanctions on Judge Mappy Morgan for reasons of impropriety.
Even then, it appears that based on Justice Kaba’s leaked letter to the Chief Justice absolving Judge Mappy Morgan, public speculations about the possible involvement of members of the Supreme Court Bench in the illegal and unauthorized depletion of Brosius’ LBDI account may be well-founded.
But in the eyes of Judge Mappy Morgan and possibly those of other high-ranking judicial officials, the media is indeed the culprit simply for diligently reporting on the matter.
For example, despite the cloud of suspicion hanging over Judge Mappy Morgan and despite that she is under probe for alleged malpractices, Chief Justice Korkpor has consistently allowed Judge Mappy Morgan to play high-profile roles in official judicial programs such as the recent Judicial Conference.
This serves to convey the impression that embattled Judge Mappy Morgan still enjoys the confidence and good graces of Chief Justice Korkpor. It strongly suggests that Judge Mappy Morgan is above the law(impunity) and this is what probably emboldened her to make such accusations against the media falsely claiming to be a victim of slander.
But the Daily Observer is unfazed and remains uncompromisingly committed to the search for Truth and the quest for Justice. For this, we are falsely accused of slanderous publications and even blackmail.
A case in point is the recent smear publication by Mittal Steel in some local tabloids accusing the Daily Observer of blackmail attempts against Mittal Steel because of its (Daily Observer) critical coverage of the proposed amended Mittal Steel Agreement.
In truth, it was a last-ditched but desperate attempt by Mittal Steel to smear the Daily Observer in order to ward off an avalanche of negative public opinion for its errant behavior and non-compliant posture with the terms of the 2010 Mineral Development Agreement(MDA).
Similarly placed is Judge Mappy Morgan’s latest tirade against the media. But we are not surprised or dismayed. As for us we shall continue to speak and write the truth even at the peril of our lives. This is a message from the Daily Observer!!!