'The Love of Money is the Root of all Evil'

“Which Judge will President Weah to Pick to Decide Judge Morgan’s Fate?" This was the headline of the Daily Observer's Tuesday, November 22, lead back page story.

The story recalls that it has been nearly seven months since the Supreme Court Bench failed to reach a decision on the fate of Judge Eva Mappy Morgan.

This case has lingered in the Court for years and has taken on several twists and turns in the process, which has apparently left complainant Amos Brosius in a lurch, not knowing which way to turn for justice.  Mr. Amos Brosius, a party litigant in the case Monrovia Oil Trading Company (MOTC) vs Ducor Petroleum (DP), filed a complaint before the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC), accusing Judge Mappy Morgan, Chief Judge of the 3-member panel of the Commercial Court, of unethical conduct.

The case stemmed from an original complaint filed against Brosius and his Ducor Petroleum by MOTC, accusing Brosius of stealing money from the MOTC while he was serving in a senior position in the company.  The MOTC, owned in part by James Sirleaf, son of former President  Sirleaf, further contended that it was their money that Brosius used to establish and finance the operations of his Ducor Petroleum company. But Brosius strenuously denied the allegations contained in the lawsuit as untrue.

The MOTC lawsuit was filed during the tenure of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Because of the grave nature of the accusations and, against claims and counterclaims by both parties, the Commercial Court under the gavel of presiding Judge Mappy Morgan ordered a freeze on Brosius’ Ducor Petroleum account at the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) until final legal disposition of the matter.

But while the matter was yet pending before the Commercial Court, Cllr. Negbalee Warner of the Heritage Partners Law firm, representing MOTC on July 23, 2013, wrote Chief Judge Mappy Morgan requesting the lifting of the freeze on the LBDI account of the Ducor Petroleum. 

And with seemingly unusual speed, the very next day, July 24, 2013 Judge Mappy, against expressed concerns of her colleagues on the 3-member Panel, wrote a letter instructing the President of the LBDI to pay to the Bailiff of the Commercial Court the amount of US$212,704.36. The money was allegedly paid and delivered to Judge Mappy Morgan, according to sources at the Temple of Justice. But just what happened to the money since it was delivered to Judge Mappy Morgan is a question which has since gone unanswered.

The JIC deliberated on the matter and submitted its findings, faulting Judge Mappy Morgan and recommending the imposition of sanctions including the forfeiture of salary and benefits for a period of one calendar year.

However, a leaked memo from the chairperson of the JIC, Associated Justice Yussif Kaba, to Chief Justice Korkpor, attempting to absolve Judge Mappy Morgan of criminal accountability, sparked public rage which appears to have been reasons why the matter went back to the Supreme Court.

A vote taken by members of that body on the JIC findings ended in deadlock with Justices Korkpor and Yuoh voting in favor of sanctioning Judge Mappy Morgan while Justices Wolokolie and Nagbe voted against sanctioning Judge Mappy Morgan. Justice Kaba recused himself since he had presided over the deliberations of the JIC which recommended the sanctioning of Judge Mappy  Morgan.

Now it is left with President Weah to appoint an ad hoc justice to serve in a temporary capacity only to fulfill the function. However, Chief Justice Korkpor has referred the matter back to the Commercial Court.

But whatever the case, the fact that the Court has so far remained unresponsive to Brosius’ request for proper accounting of his LBDI Ducor Petroleum account suggests that there could be something deeper to this mystery.

It can be recalled that the Wednesday, August 11, 2021 edition of the Daily Observer reported that the matter is back in the Commercial Court and lawyers representing Amos Brosius were calling for the LBDI to release records of all transactions carried out from the frozen Ducor Petroleum LBDI account since the freeze was placed on it.

In the final analysis, the issue comes down to money. No one has yet been able to provide any explanations on the whereabouts of the money that Judge Mappy Morgan ordered to be withdrawn from Ducor Petroleum’s LBDI account.

Brosius has claimed that more than US$3 million has been illegally withdrawn from said account. According to him, his lawyers are refusing to continue their services because he has not been able to pay their legal fees. The recommendations of the JIC calling for sanctions against Judge Mappy Morgan do not go far enough because they do not call for restitution of money said to have been illegally withdrawn from the Ducor Petroleum account by Judge Mappy Morgan and possibly others.

And from what it appears, Brosius may have to reconcile himself to the losses he sustained in the process. In the opinion of a leading lawyer, justice has been thwarted, meaning in other words, that the country’s legal system has failed him. His appeal to the West African Court was turned down because, according to the Court, he had not fully exhausted locally available remedies.

But several attempts by Brosius to exhaust these remedies have proved unsuccessful, owing no fault of his own but through evil machinations by corrupt individuals. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has acknowledged that there is indeed corruption in the Courts involving judges and other judicial officials. But, according to Chief Justice Korkpor, no stone has been left unturned to come to grips with the problem.

However, available facts show that little or nothing has been done to squarely address Brosius’ quest for justice. As a first step, the public should be informed about what Justice Mappy Morgan did with the US$212,704.36 she ordered to be withdrawn from Brosius’ account. The love of money, it is said, is the root of all evils. It is indeed the root of the evil manipulation of the legal system to satisfy selfish desires and deny Brosius his rights under the law.