2 junior judges suspended and the most senior judge under investigation
It may go down in history as the single most massive bribery scandal to hit the 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Nimba County as two junior judges have been suspended with the most senior judge currently undergoing intense Investigation for unethical conduct and Impropriety’.
Stipendary Magistrate Daniel K. Konah, and Associate Magistrate Albert Dologoma, both of the 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Nimba, are suspended for three months and six months’s respectively, for unethical and unprofessional conducts, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor disclosed at the opening of the March Term 2021of the Supreme Court.
Currently, Resident Circuit Judge Roland Dahn has been forwarded to the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) for an investigation over the accusation of being in a phone conversation with Senate Secretary Nanborlor Singbeh, when he, Judge Dahn, was handling a criminal case Singbeh brought before him against a British national, Hans Armstrong.
Singbeh is said to have allegedly conspired with Judge Dahn to gain influence over the case by issuing rulings for purposes of blackmail, political favours or kickbacks.
The decision of the Supreme Court comes as accusations of corruption continue to overwhelm the Judiciary, even though many judges and lawyers have either been suspended or forwarded to the Legislature for impeachment for wrongful acts.
Nimba County, like other rural counties, is a place where the poor people find it difficult to access justice as courts are far from them with many not financially capacitated to pay bribes to get the justice they need.
Explaining the suspension, Justice Korkpor, on Monday, March 8, recalled that during the October 2020 Term of Court, they heard and decided 32cases. “Among them were cases emanating from the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) and the Grievance and Ethics Committee (GEC).
Korkpor further explained that both the JIC and GEC Investigated complaints of ethical and professional misconduct filed against the suspended magistrates and lawyers.
JIC is responsible to investigate complaints against judges, while the GEC heard complaints against lawyers.
“After conducting hearings into the complaints, Stipendiary Magistrate Daniel K. Konah and Associate Magistrate Albert Dologoma were found to be in the wrong,” Justice Korkpor said.
According to Chief Justice Korkpor, when the cases traveled to the Supreme Court, they established that indeed, the conducts of the magistrates were found unwanting and outrageous, stressing, “We were therefore constrained to take decisions against them.”
Korkpor pointed out that the decision was not the first his court has taken against judges and lawyers.
“Over the years, reports of ethical transgressions of judges and lawyers have been scrupulously Investigated by the JIC and the GEC and appropriate actions taken by the Supreme Court,” said the Chief Justice.
By these actions, Korkpor told his audience that the court has regularly sanctioned judges and lawyers.
He added that in more egregious cases, “We have recommended the removal of those whose acts are inimical to the core values of the Judiciary.”
Singbeh’s case highlights how far Judge Dahn, a former lawyer to the Senate Secretary, refused to recuse himself from the matter, but presided over the case prior to the discovery of the alleged phone conversation.
Dahn was caught on a call log communicating with his former client Singbeh for over hundred recorded minutes.
Armstrong is the Attorney-In-Fact of the majority shareholders of MHM Eko Liberia Limited owned by two Czech Republic investors, Martins and Pavel Miloschewsky.
Singbeh, together with the general manager of MHM Eko Liberia Limited, Karol Socher, a Czech Republic national.