Liberia: US$20M Libel Suit Filed against Senate Secretary

A British investor, who claimed to have suffered from emotional trauma and public humiliation based on a publication in the Heritage Newspaper, has filed a civil lawsuit against the Secretary of the Senate Nanborlor Singbeh 

The lawsuit, Action of Damages for Defamation — Libel By Attachment, was filed by the Liberia Law Group on August 17, before the Civil Law Court ‘A’ in Monrovia.

Meanwhile, the court has given ten days for Singbeh to file his response. The plaintiff, Hans Amstrong, is seeking more than US$20 million as general damages.

Armstrong alleges that the November 24, 2020 edition of the Heritage Newspaper carried a caption that “Senate Secretary Singbeh Complaint Judge Willie of unethical behavior — writes Chief Justice Korkpor.”

In the article, the suit contends that Judge Willie of the Criminal Court 'A' illegally obtained Singbeh's cell number 0886511308 from the management of Lonestar GSM  Company and issued it to Armstrong, who is using it to hack his account.

Further to the lawsuit, the publication alleges that Armstrong, a Syrian/Norwegian fugitive on Interpol Red Alert and Self-acclaimed British national, is wanted by Norway for crimes allegedly committed against children in that country. 

“Singbeh’s sole intent is for the publication to have Armstrong lynching, erode his business career and for his reputation to be damaged and has been damaged, all to the injury and detriment of the plaintiff,” the suit said.

“The conduct of the defendant Singbeh was intended to present Armstrong in a defamatory manner to the Liberian people and the international community, the business community, to the effect that plaintiff is fugitive and on the red alert list,” the suit said. 

Furthermore, the lawsuit said: “the content and tenor written to the chief justice shows that the defendant has other reasons for demonizing and tarnishing the image of the plaintiff, which has a damaging effect on the integrity of the plaintiff.” 

“The defendant’s actions are designed to bring harm and injury to the plaintiff, especially the defendant being fully aware of the effect of such false and malicious publication for such unwarranted acts, damages will lie against the defendant,” the suit claims.

The lawsuit also alleges that the defendant furnishing copy of the letter to Heritage Newspapermaligned/damaged the character and reputation of the plaintiff to the effect that it has indicated that the plaintiff has been associated with criminal activities without any proof and is a fugitive and on Interpol red alert.

“That because the defendant’s publication was made with malice, hatred and ill will towards the plaintiff and with the desire to injure plaintiff,” the suit contends.

“The defendant’s letter and its content publication were reckless and deliberate without investigating or verifying the facts, total disregard for the truth, thereby bringing plaintiff into public disrepute, which acts on the part of the defendant is reckless and in total disregard for plaintiff’s fundamental rights under the Liberian Constitution,” the suit added.

If successful, the suit would not lead to criminal penalties but would result in compensation for any ill-treatment of Armstrong.