A hearing for a writ (document) that landed Madam Sunanda Kikla, a Canadian national behind bars at the Monrovia Central Prison, failed to take place on Monday, January 27, at the Monrovia City Court.
The reason was that the state lawyer claimed he did not authorize the court clerk to prepare the document; neither did he have any knowledge as to how it was prepared.
Madam Kikla is the president of Fraser Community College in British Columbia, a province of Canada.
She was jailed on Friday, January 25 following a “Writ of Arrest” issued on behalf of six (6) Liberian students by the court, alleging she received over US$4,000 to award scholarships to them to study at her college, unfortunately, that did not happen.
They were to study in various disciplines ranging from engineering, information technology, and agriculture among others.
She was later released after her lawyer secured a bail bond for her to appear at the Court on Monday.
Interestingly, when Madam Kikla and her lawyer appeared before Magistrate Nelson B. Chineh, it was reported that City Solicitor Samuel T. Solomon (the State lawyer) dissociated his office from preparing that writ.
This dissociation occurred even though his signature and cell phone number were seen on a copy of the writ presently in the possession of the Daily Observer.
The meeting was held in Magistrate Chineh’s chamber.
Immediately, following the closed door conference, the government lawyer, in an interview with journalists, at the Temple of Justice insisted “I do not know about the writ. If had known about it, I wouldn’t have allowed the woman to go to jail.”
“The college definitely exists and they applied for the scholarship. They lost the opportunity because we understood that they provided fake documents,” the City Solicitor indicated.
He furthered “You can go and ask the clerk of the court, he knows who requested for the writ.”
When the assistant clerk, Matthew Kpah, was contacted by the Observer, he admitted preparing the writ, claiming it was ordered by the City Solicitor.
“He can’t stand in front of me to say that he does not know about it. Whose signature is this? It is his and he ordered me to prepare and give it to the bailiff to send her to jail,” Mr. Kpah said
But, one of the students who claimed to have paid the clerk to issue that writ told the Observer “My friends asked me to pay US$10 to facilitate the preparation of the document, and I did.”
John Don Toe said he regretted the action, blaming it on his colleague.
“I’m here to ask the court to withdraw my writ. I never wanted to file for the writ. It was my colleagues who misled us to do what we did,” Toe regrettably told the Observer.
Giving her side of the story to the Observer, Madam Kika said she was shocked to have been detained only based on a verbal allegation.
“Is this how the court system works in Liberia? How could somebody be jailed based on a mere allegation?” she wondered.
“Do you mean I was jailed for only US$10? That is ridiculous, I am going to take legal action,” she threatened.
She also admitted that the students applied for the scholarship online and were accepted.
Regrettably, she said the students presented fake documents that caused Canadian immigration to deny them entry visas.
“They could not get the scholarship because most of them provided fake documents which caused the Citizenship and Immigration branch of Canada’s High Commission of Visas based in Accra, Ghana to deny them,” said Ms. Kikla supporting the City Solicitor’s statements.
According to Ms. Kikla, her trip to Liberia was to update the students about the status of their scholarships.
“Though, they were denied, we have filed an application to the Federal Court in Canada to look into the case. This is why I came back to encourage them. But they were not patient. If I wanted to dupe them why would I decide to come back?” she wondered.
“I’m here because we went to help Liberians to study in Canada,” she said.
Delving into the scholarship issue and the legitimacy of the college, Ms. Kikla said, “the college does exist and we have an agreement with the students regarding the refund of their money. In this case you can’t blame the college. We provided them with the opportunity but they misused it. They decided to cheat, so you can hold us responsible for their actions,” she concluded.