Corkrum Hired Solicitor General Cephus

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Prior to becoming Solicitor General, Cllr. Syrenius Cephus (right), was legal counsel for Ellen Corkrum (left), as well as LBDI, in the same case.

-Court’s document discloses

A Court document obtained by the Daily Observer established that former Managing Director of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), Ellen Corkurm, when she was indicted on multiple crimes that include economic sabotage by the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, hired the legal services of Solicitor General Cllr Saymah Syrenius Cephus, who is now pressing to prosecute her on the same matter.

It can be recalled that Corkrum clandestinely left Liberia with the help of some top security personnel that were serving in the erstwhile Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration.

Corkrum’s escape was precipitated by an indictment by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County in 2013 on charges of economic sabotage, criminal facilitation, conspiracy to defraud the government, and making unauthorized transfers of funds from government accounts.

She was indicted, along with a Liberian businessman, Musa Bility, then chairman of the Board of Directors of LAA; the Monrovia Diaspora Consulting, LLC, through Momar Dieng, a U.S. citizen; and the First International Bank; and all authorized representatives of the Airport Authority.

The First International Bank was indicted for allegedly conspiring with co-defendants of Corkrum, Melvin Johnson & Associates, to make an unauthorized transfer of funds in the amount of US$56,750 from the account of the Liberia Airport Authority when Corkrum was the Managing Director.

Corkrum was indicted, along with a Liberian businessman, Musa Bility, then chairman of the Board of Directors of LAA; the Monrovia Diaspora Consulting, LLC, through Momar Dieng, a U.S. citizen; and the First International Bank (FIB, now GN Bank); and the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI).

It can also be recalled that Cllr. Cephus, shortly after the Assistant Minister for Litigation at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh asked the Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice to drop the multiple charges against Corkrum and others, immediately, Cllr Cephus communicated with the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), re-ordering the LACC to investigate the case.

However, Cllr. Cephus is responsible for all legal matters, which places Cllr. Wesseh squarely under Cephus’ jurisdiction.

The document obtained by the Daily Observer, under the caption, “Notice of Additional Counsel” addressed to then Clerk of Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice and signed by Corkrum, reads: “Dear Madam/Mr. Clerk, Upon receipt of this notice, you will accordingly spread in the records of this Honorable Court, that Co-defendant Ellen Corkrum in the above entitled cause of action has hired the legal services of Counselor Sayma Syrenius Cephus of CEMAR Law Offices as additional counsel. And for so doing, this shall constitute your sufficient authority.”

But, the question remains, what went wrong between Cephus and Corkrum that led Cllr. Cephus to re-open the case file after knowing that he served as one of the counsels to Corkrum. Experts assert that, her former legal counsel and current Solicitor General of the Republic of Liberia, he should have recused himself

In his recent utterances by Cllr. Cephus, he claimed that he had obtained more evidences to re-open the case, even though the Sirleaf administration’s efforts to extradite Corkrum to Liberia to face prosecution did not materialize.

Corkrum returned to Liberia shortly after Cllr. Cephus was appointed and confirmed as solicitor general. Her return, Cephus boasted, was a result of many tactics to ensure that Corkrum came back to Liberia to face justice.

Corkrum was accused of transferring US$269,000 to a fictitious company, Diaspora Consulting, LLC and its CEO, Momar Dieng, with whom she reportedly attended the Kennedy Business School, Harvard University.

In Cephus’ justification to re-open the case, he argued in that, “after reviewing the court’s records in the case file, we discovered that you carried out a “pick and choose” exercise by selectively entering a nolle prosequi in favour of few defendants, who are your friends, to the detriment of other co-defendants and, for this reason, we are now reopening the entire case to get fresh evidence that you claimed was difficult to acquire due to the absence of Co-defendant Ellen Corkrum from the bailiwick of Liberia.”

The statement was part of a purported letter attributed to Cllr. Cephus, published in a local daily and openly directed at members of the Sirleaf administration who were handling the case.

However, a source hinted this paper that Cllr. Cephus and Corkrum rift started when she allegedly refused to pay Cephus his balance US$15,000 out of the US$25,000 Cephus charged Corkurm to serve as additional counsel to her case.

The source claimed that Corkrum paid Cephus US$10,000 and promised to pay the balance if she were to agree to come back home, which she did.

However, according to our source, Corkrum allegedly refused to settle her obligation with the solicitor general that necessitated her case being call to re-on, though, Cephus’s boss, Justice Minister Musa Dean, who himself previously served as one of one Corkrum’s counsels, claimed that he was not in the know about the initial dropping of the case and the subsequent communication with the LACC to re-open investigate into the matter.

Besides, Cllr. Cephus served as lawyer for codefendant LBDI and negotiated for the charges against the bank to be dropped, provided that they would serve as witness, if the matter were to resume, which agreement was entered into by Cllr. Cephus and the government then.

However, Cllr. Cephus is now recommending the opening of the case against the LBDI, who hired him as legal counsel to represent their interest, and has gone to the extent of issuing a writ against the banks authorities to prevent them from leaving the country.

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.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Daily Observer, please report with professionalism, accuracy, clarity, and truth. Ellen Corkrum clandestinely left Liberia with the help of NOT JUST OR NOT SIMPLY some top security personnel that were serving in the erstwhile Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration!

    Those top security personnel were THE MINISTER OF DEFENSE Brownie Samukai, and THE INSPECTOR GENERAL AND DIRECTOR OF THE LIBERIAN NATIONAL POLICE COLONEL CHRIS MASSAQUOI.

    And such decisions and actions on the part of the minister of Defense and the Director of the National Police were PROOF that it was the government of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (IN THAT CASE THE GOVERNMENT OF LIBERIA AT THE TIME) which clearly aided, abetted, and authorized, Ellen Corkrum to leave the country.

    Your deliberate omission of stating the positions and names of the MINISTER OF DEFENSE Brownie Samukai, and THE INSPECTOR GENERAL AND DIRECTOR OF THE LIBERIAN NATIONAL POLICE COLONEL CHRIS MASSAQUOI is unprofessional, unethical, and of course, fraudulent, and criminal.

  2. Freedom to be blunt:

    I agree with you that Madam Corkrum was aided in fleeing the country and those culprit(s) should be held accountable for their reckless actions.

    you are alluding that because those who aiding and abetting work in the government of EJS, the government should be held liable. Am I right in saying that.?

    I am just trying hard to understand how the action of a few individuals can be put at the foot of the government.

    thank you.

  3. Joe Moses, in accordance with officialdom, domestic and international best practice, and the dictates of the ethics and the rule of law, not even the utterances of an incumbent Minister of Defense and those of the incumbent Inspector General who is the chief law enforcement official and the Director of a nation’s National Police, not to say THEIR ACTIONS (AS IS THE CASE HERE) should ever be referred to as ”action of a few individuals”!

    By virtue of the seniority and strategic statuses and roles of these officials any utterance or action directly related to a given issue (as is the case in the Corkrum escape) is absolutely an act of government!

    So, you must desist from referring to their actions as ”action of a few individuals”. THEIR ACTION WAS A DECISION AND ACTION OF THAT GOVERNMENT, AND ABSOLUTELY NOT MERE ”action of a few individuals”!

  4. Freedom to Be Blunt:

    please excuse my naivete, as I am not versed in Ethics or Rule of Law. I am just trying to comprehend what you are saying.

    So, will I be correct in saying that it is an act of government when Hon. Jefferson Koijee and his boys attacked a group of campaigners who were campaigning for a person who was from the Opposition Party?

    I was a witness to that fracas and I did not blame the government. I blamed Jefferson Koijee because, I am sure that he did not act at the government’s behest.

    But if I am to apply YOUR logic to this scenario, Koijee is a senior member of this government and so we should blame the government for the damage and mayhem that occurred on that fateful day

    This is just one instance I am citing here. I could cite over ten instances when senior officials of this government acted contrary to law and order, but again, I don’t pretend to know anything about Law and its application, so I will leave it at that.

    I do enjoy your writings , though. keep it up

    Peace

  5. Firstly, Joe Moses, from all indications, the culprits in that scenario you are referring to were Nyounblee Karngar Lawrence and her cohorts who fomented, and incited, their partisans to carry out violence and infringe on the political rights of their opponents..And when their political opponents out powered them, they (Nyounblee and her cohorts) went hiding under people beds

    Now, Joe Moses, logic must be applied to ”scenario” and context. No disrespect, your logic is, I am convinced, inadvertently misplaced and misdirected. Koijee was exercising his political rights within his constitutional rights as a private individual, while Massaquoi and Samukai were exercising their powers within their capacities as strategic and senior police, immigration, and defense security officials.

    The context involving the Defense Minister and the Inspector General and Director of the National Police was AN IMMIGRATION, AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CONTEXT, while the context to which you are referring was A PARTY POLITICKING ELECTION CAMPAIGN CONTEXT AND ”SCENARIO”! Hence, your logic is, I am convinced, inadvertently misplaced and misdirected.

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