Cllr. Winston Tubman Escapes Supreme Court’s Wrath

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Temple of Justice, Monrovia Liberia

September 4, 2020, will forever be remembered by Counselor Winston A. Tubman as the day he, a seasoned legal luminary and a career diplomat who escaped the wrath of the Supreme Court when five of the Justices of the Court decided to warn the lawyer, instead of suspending his license as had been done with several other lawyers before. 

The Supreme Court had repeatedly said that setting precedence in the legal system is necessary to create stability in the law and to enhance the credibility of the Court, of which Cllr. Tubman’s attitude in the US$329,833.88 case justified his punishment.

Cllr. Tubman unilaterally joined as additional counsel in the US$329,833.88 plus interest, as a contract executed on September 21, 1989 between the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) and the Wright Associates Engineering Services Inc., for work performed on the Ganta Oil Terminal in Nimba County, according to Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh.

Cllr. Tubman claimed that he was retained by Edward Valentine to only enforce the court’s judgment of the Debt Court for Montserrado County.

At that point, Tubman and Valentine went to the offices of the LPRC and entered an out-of-court settlement with the LPRC for negotiation settlement of US$159,538.46 in lieu of the judgment amount of US$329,833.88 in favor.

On November 26, 2018, approximately one year and nine months after Cllr. Tubman and Valentine collected the US$159,538.46 and signed for the stipulation and out of the court settlement; he, Cllr. Tubman, filed a bill of information before the Supreme Court alleging that the stipulation and notice of withdrawal are a product of fraudulent concoctions of the LPRC.

Tubman did not remain there; he told the Supreme Court that he and Valentine did not sign these documents and that the LPRC is indebted to Valentine for the balance of US$170,295.42.

Initially, the matter was decided by Judge James Jones of the Debt Court for Montserrado County, after the Kemp and Associates Legal Consultancy Chambers of late Cllr. Theophulus C. Gould filed and won the case on behalf of Valentine.

But Cllr. Tubman survived that punishment and was only warned by the Supreme Court Justices to desist from misleading the court.

Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi’s repeated argument that Cllr. Tubman actually took Valentine to the office of his (Massaquoi’s) client, the LPRC, where both of them signed for the US$159,538.46 as the full amount of the judgment, instead of the US$329,833.88 as final judgment, was important enough to suspend the license of Cllr. Tubman.

The Supreme Court, reading through Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh, said, “We will be remiss if we fail to red-flag the manner in which Cllr. Tubman became a part of the case and the strange methods he subsequently adopted to enforce the judgment of the Debt Court.”

Yuoh also said, “We observed that the records from the Debt Court show that Kemp and Associates Legal Consultancy Chambers represented Valentine throughout the entire proceedings in the Debt Court and not Cllr. Tubman or the Tubman Law Firm.”

Yuoh again ruled that in addition to this fact, there is no document showing that Cllr. Tubman or the law firm or Mr. Valentine filed and served notice of newly retained counsel or additional counsel on the Kemp and Associates Legal Consultancy Chambers, upon entering the case.

“The conduct of Cllr. Tubman that caught our attention is the strange method he subsequently adopted to enforce the judgment of the Debt Court,” Yuoh said.

Justice Yuoh explained that Cllr. Tubman’s complaint raised specific references to a bill of cost and the enforcement of the judgment from the Debt Court.

In that complaint, Yuoh said, Tubman, however, failed and neglected to attach the said bill of costs, and other requisite court records like motion papers, judges’ orders, writ of execution and sheriff returns, to show that indeed the said judgment was enforced by the Debt Court.

Yuoh also explained that Cllr. Tubman alleges that he and Valentine personally received the bill of costs from the Debt Court, of which both Tubman and Valentine proceeded to the LPRC’s office to enforce the Debt Court’s final judgment.

The Associate Justice said in Cllr. Tubman’s presence, Valentine signed a payment voucher for the US$159,538.46 representing partial payment.

“We wondered how Cllr. Tubman and Valentine went ahead to partly enforce the Debt Court’s judgment in the absence of the bill of costs, motion papers, and judges ordered and writ of execution?” Yuoh asked rhetorically.

“We wondered where the sheriff’s return is showing that the Debt Court’s judgment was partly enforced in the amount of US$159,538.46. Where is the documentary proof or receipt showing part-payment and the balance due to Valentine?” Yuoh asked.

In Yuoh’s further rule, they conclude that Cllr. Tubman and Valentine went to LPRC’s office with the sole intent and purpose of negotiating an out-of-court settlement with the LPRC, stressing, “That having so negotiated they then bargained to settle the debt of US$329,833.88 for the amount of US$159,538.46 received from the LPRC was not a partial payment toward the judgment amount but same was an out of court settlement that is binding on Valentine.”

Yuoh indicated the fact remains that Cllr. Tubman misinformed the Supreme Court when he claimed that Valentine had no knowledge of the full judgment amount when he signed the voucher and received the check of US$159,538.46.

“We find this allegation un-convincing especially when the check was signed for and received in the presence of Cllr. Tubman who was purporting to enforce  the Debt Court’s judgment,” Yuoh further ruled.

“Therefore,” Justice Yuoh ruled “That Cllr. Winston A. Tubman is hereby sternly warned to desist from attempting to mislead the Supreme Court.”  

In conclusion, Justice Yuoh said, “The amount of US$159,538.46 paid by the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company to the Wright and Associates Engineering Services, Inc, through its agent, Edward Valentine, constitutes final settlement of the indebtedness.

“The Clerk of this court is ordered to send a mandate to the court below, commanding the judge presiding therein to resume jurisdiction over this case and give to this judgment. Costs are ruled against Valentine,” Yuoh also ruled.

September 4, 2020, will forever be remembered by Counselor Winston A. Tubman as the day he, a seasoned legal luminary and a career diplomat who escaped the wrath of the Supreme Court when five of the Justices of the Court decided to warn the lawyer, instead of suspending his license as had been done with several other lawyers before. 

The Supreme Court had repeatedly said that setting precedence in the legal system is necessary to create stability in the law and to enhance the credibility of the Court, of which Cllr. Tubman’s attitude in the US$329,833.88 case justified his punishment.

Cllr. Tubman unilaterally joined as additional counsel in the US$329,833.88 plus interest, as a contract executed on September 21, 1989 between the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) and the Wright Associates Engineering Services Inc., for work performed on the Ganta Oil Terminal in Nimba County, according to Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh.

Cllr. Tubman claimed that he was retained by Edward Valentine to only enforce the court’s judgment of the Debt Court for Montserrado County.

At that point, Tubman and Valentine went to the offices of the LPRC and entered an out-of-court settlement with the LPRC for negotiation settlement of US$159,538.46 in lieu of the judgment amount of US$329,833.88 in favor.

On November 26, 2018, approximately one year and nine months after Cllr. Tubman and Valentine collected the US$159,538.46 and signed for the stipulation and out of the court settlement; he, Cllr. Tubman, filed a bill of information before the Supreme Court alleging that the stipulation and notice of withdrawal are a product of fraudulent concoctions of the LPRC.

Tubman did not remain there; he told the Supreme Court that he and Valentine did not sign these documents and that the LPRC is indebted to Valentine for the balance of US$170,295.42.

Initially, the matter was decided by Judge James Jones of the Debt Court for Montserrado County, after the Kemp and Associates Legal Consultancy Chambers of late Cllr. Theophulus C. Gould filed and won the case on behalf of Valentine.

But Cllr. Tubman survived that punishment and was only warned by the Supreme Court Justices to desist from misleading the court.

Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi’s repeated argument that Cllr. Tubman actually took Valentine to the office of his (Massaquoi’s) client, the LPRC, where both of them signed for the US$159,538.46 as the full amount of the judgment, instead of the US$329,833.88 as final judgment, was important enough to suspend the license of Cllr. Tubman.

The Supreme Court, reading through Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh, said, “We will be remiss if we fail to red-flag the manner in which Cllr. Tubman became a part of the case and the strange methods he subsequently adopted to enforce the judgment of the Debt Court.”

Yuoh also said, “We observed that the records from the Debt Court show that Kemp and Associates Legal Consultancy Chambers represented Valentine throughout the entire proceedings in the Debt Court and not Cllr. Tubman or the Tubman Law Firm.”

Yuoh again ruled that in addition to this fact, there is no document showing that Cllr. Tubman or the law firm or Mr. Valentine filed and served notice of newly retained counsel or additional counsel on the Kemp and Associates Legal Consultancy Chambers, upon entering the case.

“The conduct of Cllr. Tubman that caught our attention is the strange method he subsequently adopted to enforce the judgment of the Debt Court,” Yuoh said.

Justice Yuoh explained that Cllr. Tubman’s complaint raised specific references to a bill of cost and the enforcement of the judgment from the Debt Court.

In that complaint, Yuoh said, Tubman, however, failed and neglected to attach the said bill of costs, and other requisite court records like motion papers, judges’ orders, writ of execution and sheriff returns, to show that indeed the said judgment was enforced by the Debt Court.

Yuoh also explained that Cllr. Tubman alleges that he and Valentine personally received the bill of costs from the Debt Court, of which both Tubman and Valentine proceeded to the LPRC’s office to enforce the Debt Court’s final judgment.

The Associate Justice said in Cllr. Tubman’s presence, Valentine signed a payment voucher for the US$159,538.46 representing partial payment.

“We wondered how Cllr. Tubman and Valentine went ahead to partly enforce the Debt Court’s judgment in the absence of the bill of costs, motion papers, and judges ordered and writ of execution?” Yuoh asked rhetorically.

“We wondered where the sheriff’s return is showing that the Debt Court’s judgment was partly enforced in the amount of US$159,538.46. Where is the documentary proof or receipt showing part-payment and the balance due to Valentine?” Yuoh asked.

In Yuoh’s further rule, they conclude that Cllr. Tubman and Valentine went to LPRC’s office with the sole intent and purpose of negotiating an out-of-court settlement with the LPRC, stressing, “That having so negotiated they then bargained to settle the debt of US$329,833.88 for the amount of US$159,538.46 received from the LPRC was not a partial payment toward the judgment amount but same was an out of court settlement that is binding on Valentine.”

Yuoh indicated the fact remains that Cllr. Tubman misinformed the Supreme Court when he claimed that Valentine had no knowledge of the full judgment amount when he signed the voucher and received the check of US$159,538.46.

“We find this allegation un-convincing especially when the check was signed for and received in the presence of Cllr. Tubman who was purporting to enforce  the Debt Court’s judgment,” Yuoh further ruled.

“Therefore,” Justice Yuoh ruled “That Cllr. Winston A. Tubman is hereby sternly warned to desist from attempting to mislead the Supreme Court.”  

In conclusion, Justice Yuoh said, “The amount of US$159,538.46 paid by the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company to the Wright and Associates Engineering Services, Inc, through its agent, Edward Valentine, constitutes final settlement of the indebtedness.

“The Clerk of this court is ordered to send a mandate to the court below, commanding the judge presiding therein to resume jurisdiction over this case and give to this judgment. Costs are ruled against Valentine,” Yuoh also ruled.

Author

  • Anthony Kokoi is a young Liberian sports writer who has an ever-growing passion for the development of the game of football (soccer) and other sports. For the past few years, he has been passionately engaged in reporting the developments of the game in the country. He is an associate member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL). He is a promoter of young talents. He also writes match reports and makes an analysis of Liberian Football.

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