— Senior Supreme Court lawyer Massaquoi urges
Days after Mike Jabateh was invited by authorities of the Liberian National Police ( LNP) over his public statement, threatening to would kill the Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia, Francis Korkpor, for which there is no clear decision from the police, a senior lawyer of Supreme Court, Counselor Jonathan T. Masssquoi, is urging the Government to take the threat very serious, and not to be complacent about it.
Cllr. Massaquoi, in an interview with the Daily Observer Newspaper on Wednesday, April 28, said Jabateh’s threatening statements against Chief Justice Francis Korkpor should not be overlooked, because it has the propensity to drive away investors and undermine the country fragile peace.
“When a citizen, like Jabateh can threaten the chief justice, who is the chief administrator of the Judicial Branch of the Government and nothing is said or done about it, do you think investors would be happy to invest their money, in a country that does not believe in the rule of law,” Cllr. Massaquoi asked. “Do you think the investors will believe that our country is safe for investment, where an individual can make threatening statements against the chief justice and we allow the matter to be swept under the carpet?”
Cllr. Massaquoi noted that the government should not make Jabateh’s threatening statements against the Chief Justice cast a dark cloud on the country.
“The action of Jabateh should not embarrass the entire country, therefore the relevant authorities should treat the matter expeditiously and if Jabateh is liable, he should be made to bear the full weight of the law,” Massaquoi noted.
Recently, Jabateh, in his comments on a Facebook live video during an eviction exercise over a parcel of land his family had lost in a court of law, issued death threats against the Chief Justice, accusing him of being behind land disputes in Ganta.
“If one Mandingo man is killed, we will kill chief justice Francis Korkpor,” Jabateh is quoted as saying.
The morning after Jabateh made those threatening remarks, a residents of Ganta woke up to a warehouse near the disputed parcel of land burned to the ground, along with goods belonging to several business people.
“The government needs to take the threat very serious because if nothing is done, it has the propensity to scare away investors. The international community is watching our government to see what action it would take about Jabateh’s utterance,” Cllr Massaquoi noted.
“How will a Chief Justice be threatened by a citizen and up to present nothing is being said by the government,” the Supreme Court lawyer wondered. “Is it that the government does not know or understand the legal interpretation of Jabateh’s threat against the head of the Judicial Branch of the Government?”
Cllr. Massaquoi, meanwhile, calls on all peace-loving people to join him to publicly condemn Jabateh’s threat against the Chief Justice and subsequently press for a full-scale Investigation into the matter.
“It is now time for the government, through the Ministry of Justice, to thoroughly investigate Jabateh’s threat against Chief Justice Korkpor. If it is established that Jabateh is liable, then let the law take it course, but that should be done with due process,” Massaquoi maintained.
According to Massaquoi, people are making threatening statements because they felt that they are being supported by their kinsman.
“Leaving Jabateh without him going through the legal process, because of tribal support, it means that the government is encouraging people to shield themselves under tribalism just to perpetrate violence and incite violence in our fragile country.
Counselor Massaquoi believes that allowing Jabateh to go free sends a clear message that Liberia is gradually becoming a place of jungle justice, where people will make threatening statements against the Chief Justice and go free. “This is not a country of jungle justice where anybody can come and make a statement just to hide under the canopy that I am a member of a particular ethnic group and my tribal people would shield me from accounting for my actions. This will not happen because we are a country of laws and not of men.” Cllr. Massaquoi noted that the action of Jabateh is not that of the Muslim or Mandingo community. It should be treated as an individual committing a crime and not a religion or tribe.