‘Cllr. Karngar Under No Obligation to Produce Costa’

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-LNBA warns  

Just a day after Solicitor General, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus threatened to arrest Cllr. Finley Karngar, a member of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), on the premise that he could not produce a client, in person of Henry Costa, who has fled the country based on personal security concerns, the LNBA now stands ready to take up issue with the government over the statement against Karngar.

The LNBA is the umbrella and self-regulating body of all lawyers in the country. Karngar, currently a professor at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia (UL), is the lawyer who accompanied Costa during his (Costa’s) first invited appearance at the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) headquarters to explain how he obtained a liassez-passer, which was alleged to have been forged.

Cllr. Finley Karngar, Henry Costa’s lawyer

Shortly afterward, Cllr. Karngar assured the LIS authority that he was going to make Costa available whenever he is called upon for further investigation, which did not happen, when Costa fled to Sierra Leone.

However, in a press release on Thursday, January 16, the LNBA argued that the mere fact that the Liberian Government was in the know that Mr. Costa had fled the country and the Government said it was initiating discussions with the Government of Sierra Leone to bring Costa back to Liberia, the matter became moot, meaning that Karngar was no more responsible to produce Costa, since the government was now involved with its counterpart in Sierra Leone.

Therefore, Cllr. Karngar no longer had any obligation to ensure the appearance of Costa before any forum, neither was he responsible to answer any question regarding the whereabouts of Henry Costa.

The LNBA statement maintains the position that, being the Solicitor General of Liberia does not give Cllr. Cephus, who is also a member of the LNBA, any authority to arrest a member of the LNBA who has not committed any offense under Liberian law.

The Bar Association further says that for Cllr. Cephus to perceive, imagine, countenance or entertain the notion that he has such authority is sad, to say the least.

The LNBA cautions the Solicitor General to exercise his authority within the scope of the law and with rein statement regard to the rights of all Liberian citizens, including lawyers, as guaranteed by the Constitution of Liberia and the international bill of human rights.

The LNBA says it will not tolerate any violation of the rights of lawyers in the execution of the professional obligations to their clients by the Solicitor General or any official of Government and reminds Cllr. Cephus to always take cognizance of section 12.70 of the Penal Law which, they argue, prohibits the abuse of public office.

Solicitor General of the Republic of Liberia, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus

The LNBA warns that it will not hesitate to institute actions and impose appropriate sanctions on Cllr. Cephus if he were to carry out the threatened arbitrary arrest of Cllr. Finley, in order to send out a clear message that the Bar will not condone the subjection of lawyers to harassment by state actors and shall always defend lawyers in the protection of their duties.

Additionally, the LNBA says it is taken aback that the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) would assign unto itself a duty outside of its statutory mandate beyond the Alien and Nationality Law by attempting to investigate a Liberian citizen for alleged possession of false travel document.

The Bar notes that the principal function of the LIS is to enforce the Alien and Nationality Law, Title 4, Liberian Code of Laws Revised and not to conduct investigation of Liberian citizens suspected or accused of committing crime. Such a duty, according to the Bar, is strictly assigned to the Liberian National Police.

The Bar also says that it is concerned about the escalating clampdown on critics of the government, as evidenced by unfounded allegations and threatening utterances coming from highly placed individuals, which may have the net effect of silencing dissent, thereby reversing the gains made in the building of democracy in Liberia and eventually creating an environment for the resurgence of dictatorship in Liberia and civil conflict.

Once again, the LNBA calls on the Government of Liberia and all officials of government to take serious note of the fact that the legal profession is the only profession that is protected by the Constitution of Liberia.

Article 21(i) of the Constitution of Liberia, the LNBA says, provides, amongst other things, that “…no lawyer shall be… punished for providing legal services, regardless of the charges against or the guilt of his client…”

According to the Bar, the solicitor general and other overzealous officials of governments must resist the temptation to illegally amplify the scope of authority of their offices by taking actions against lawyers that bear the potential of creating a chilling effect on the practice of law and thereby make it difficult for lawyers to protect human rights in Liberia.

Finally, the LNBA assures the Government of Liberia of its willingness to cooperate and collaborate with it in protecting the rights of the people and seeking the common good. But it shall not for one minute close its eyes on the violation of the rights of its members in the performance of the professional duties to their clients and any attempt by anyone holding public office in Liberia to depart from subscribing to governance by rule of law to governance by rule of man.

14 COMMENTS

  1. EVERY TIME THIS CEPHUS GUY OPENS HIS MOUTH, HE SOUNDS JUST LIKE ONE OF CHARLES G. TAYLOR’S NOTORIOUS GENERALS, A REMINDER CEPHUS WAS MEMBER OF THE VICIOUS NPFL THAT REDEEMED LIBERIA AND LEFT THE COUNTRY IN TOTAL RUIN. (WATCH)

  2. This Gongloe guy is a mess. Gongloe, don’t you know about THE CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE even if you do not know that IMMIGRATION OFFENSES OR NATIONALITY VIOLATIONS WHICH MAY BE OR ARE ALSO CONDUCT OF CRIMES ( eg. fraud, forgery, false statements, or entries, )?

    This is the same silly and dull reasoning you had during the impeachment of corrupt Kabineh Janeh.

    Mr. Stupid Gongloe, (accidentally the president of the LNBA) do not confuse immigration offenses and nationality violations which are or may be conduct of crimes with all crimes in general.

    For your education, it is the duty of the LIS (or the INA, or the Bureaus of Immigration of ECOWAS member states, etc.) to conduct such investigations on immigration offenses and nationality violations BEFORE FORWARDING such cases to the Police!

    Even if it were not Findley Harris or Henry Costa or even this very context, the government would have eventually known that the culprit had escaped and act (as the government is now doing) as the circumstances demand.

    But this does not mean the lawyer who guaranteed the presence of the culprit is not liable and does not owe the government or the immigration serious explanation. THE CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE, MR. UNREASONABLE ”LAWYER”!! Tiawen, you are a disgrace to our county and the legal profession in Liberia! No wonder a proud son of our county Chief Justice Korkpor had to tacitly throw you out of court for your unprofessional, immoral, and indecent conduct recently.

    .

    • I thought Kou is a girl’s name and not a boy? I agree with your counsel for Kou to remove ” foul language” but I am not sure you are right to call Kou “a wise man” whose use use of “… foul language to make [her] point is unreasonable.” Please do your home work and correct your post. And You, please correct me if I am wrong. Thanks

    • Kou, I read the article over and over and I don’t see the name Tiawan Gongloe mentioned. If Gongloe isn’t mentioned in the article, why justify accusing him and not the name cited in the article? And if Karngar violated any law, the newspaper page isn’t the proper venue for due process. How about the Solicitor General just going ahead and enforcing the law instead of a back and forth on the pages of the Daily Observer? The Solicitor has a job for which he is paid a salary. He does not need a lecture from Mr. Gongloe or anyone else before he enforces the law that has been violated.

  3. Mr. Kou Gontee! Why can’t you have a simple dialogue with your fellow Liberians without insults? why are you labelling Hon.Gongloe as stupid? I supposed that’s why you not the president of LNBA instead of Ho. Gongloe. If you think Cabena Jehnen impeachment was legitimate, then you have no clue of our constitution,

    • Daily Observer, Tiawen Gongloe or any President of the LNBA is not the LNBA nor is the LNBA Tiawen Gongloe or any President of the LNBA.

      The president of the LNBA does not have exclusive sovereign authority. It is the entire organization or the entire membership which has an exclusive authority, AND NOT EVER OR NEVER EVER the President of the LNBA.

      Gone are the days or centuries of Louis XIV when he would decare ” I am the State, and the State is me.”.

      That is, the views of Tiawen Gongloe or any President of the LNBA ARE NOT the views of the LNBA.

      The views here you have attributed or associated to and with the LNBA are ABSOLUTELY NOT the views of the LNBA!

      Those views and positions and interests of Tiawen Gongloe are the views of Tiawen Gongloe and Tiawen Gongloe ALONE! PERIOD!!

  4. Daily Observer, Tiawen Gongloe or any President of the LNBA is not the LNBA nor is the LNBA Tiawen Gongloe or any President of the LNBA.

    The president of the LNBA does not have exclusive sovereign authority. It is the entire organization or the entire membership which has an exclusive authority, AND NOT EVER OR NEVER EVER the President of the LNBA.

    Gone are the days or centuries of Louis XIV when he would decare ” I am the State, and the State is me.”.

    That is, the views of Tiawen Gongloe or any President of the LNBA is not the views of the LNBA.

    The views here you have attributed or associated to and with the LNBA are ABSOLUTELY NOT the views of the LNBA!

    Those views and positions and interests of Tiawen Gongloe are the views of Tiawen Gongloe and Tiawen Gongloe ALONE! PERIOD!!

    • Mr. Staunch Current LNBA Official, I read the article over and over and I didn’t see the name Tiawan Gongloe mentioned. If Gongloe isn’t mentioned in the article, what justifies accusing him and not the name cited in the article? And if you are a “current official”, you must be an attorney. If your organization’s letterhead is improperly used to communicate false information, why don’t you conduct internal investigation before commenting on a newspaper article that doesn’t even mention the name of the individual you seem to accuse? I wonder why you wouldn’t even be bold enough to state your name for the record? I am not a lawyer and I have never studied law. However, I think if lawyer Karngar violated any law, the newspaper page isn’t the proper venue for due process. How about the Solicitor General just going ahead and enforcing the law instead of a back and forth on the pages of the Daily Observer? The Solicitor has a job for which he is paid a salary. He does not need a lecture from people with no knowledge of the law or the LNBA or anyone else before he enforces the law that has been violated. This is simple and no one blood pressure needs to rise because of this simple matter.

  5. These CDCians, are terribly disgusting… Kou Gontee, how do you factor, into this legal matter? Are you a lawyer? Please show some respect, to this distinguish personality, from Nimba. Please, Kou. I rest my case.

  6. Does one have to be a CDCian or a non CDCian to qualify for criticizing someone (in this case Tiawen Gongloe) wo claims to be a lawyer and cannot comprehend such commonsense that investigating culprits, accused, or suspects, of immigration offenses, INITIALLY BEGINS at the given bureau of immigration?

    Gongloe must be a real half baked lawyer or simply a pathological liar to equate the escape of one who is undergoing immigration investigation with Article 21(i) of the Constitution of Liberia, regarding the guilt of his client.”

    As Kou articulated above on the jurisprudential or practical phenomenon of the categorical imperative, what if it becomes an accepted practice, policy, or rule that whenever a lawyer gives ”his word” to the immigration authorities that his client SHALL be physically present for an investigation, only for the immigration to later realize that the accused or culprit has absconded with the lawyer not been held liable, ITS ”BUSINESS AS USUAL.”

    Is that the kind of law and order you want in Liberia?

    I agree with the characterization Kou has made about Tiawan Gongloe.

    For he Gongloe is in the unprofessional conduct of playing politics and seeking his commercial selfish interest in his applicability of the law and politicking in the dispensation of justice. And these are the very shameless hypocrites who go about pretending to be advocates of democratic law and order.

    • Matilda, I read the article over and over and I didn’t see the name Tiawan Gongloe mentioned. Would you please read the article and respond to what you read instead? If Gongloe isn’t mentioned in the article, what justifies accusing him and not the name cited in the article? I agree with you 100%, you don’t have to be a CDCian or even a Liberian to criticize anyone. Freedom of speech is universal human right. I am not a lawyer but I read your reference to Liberian laws that may have been violated. I wonder why the Solicitor isn’t taking action if he feels lawyer Karngar violated any Liberian law? The newspaper page isn’t the proper venue for due process. Instead of calling Gongloe names, how about you calling on the Solicitor General to do his job and just go ahead and enforcing the law instead of a back and forth on the pages of the Daily Observer? The Solicitor has an obligation and a job for which he is paid a salary. He does not need any lecture from people with no knowledge of the law or the LNBA or anyone else before he enforces the law that you and perhaps the Solicitor have concluded has been violated. This is simple and no one blood pressure needs to rise because of this simple matter. If Lawyer Karngar is able to defend Henry Costa, he must be willing and able to defend himself. Under the legal system, anyone accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty. This is true for Costa as well as Karngar.

  7. Kou Gontee, you are a wise man but the use of foul language to make your point is unreasonable. The LNBA is the umbrella organization responsible for Lawyers and their roles in society as relates to the interpretation of laws. Cllr. Gongloe knows that we cannot continue to interpret the without read it. All elected official are servant of those who elected them. If anyone have a problem understanding that, do not run for public office. The electorate does not automatically become servants of the elected official. If one would become servant of the one seeking his vote, why would you choose to be enslave by your decision, that your engagement with the process has cause you to lost your right to inquire accountability of your elected official? All the LNBA is saying is that, Liberia should not be business as usual. The President is a good man and he needs help from every Liberian. Ignorant of the law is no excuse to be open minded. Liberia has been around since 1847, subtract two years out of 1847 and you have 1849 instead of 1847. Remove the President from the picture and you will soon realized that we(Liberians) has been sleeping all these years. We just got up from sleep and realized we have been left behind. Moving forward require a different kind of discipline, adhere to the rule of law and no one is exempted.

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