Judge Becomes Defendant in US$30K Truck ‘Disappearance’ Case

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Kromah (L) and Lambin (R) accused of stealing the white DAF truck.

The decision by Magistrate Tweh Wesseh of the Gardnersville Magisterial Court to charge both Robert Lambin and Layee Kromah with theft over the disappearance of a white DAF truck, valued at US$30,000, from the Temple of Justice has caused their lawyers to file a lawsuit against Magistrate Wesseh.

Wesseh was sued by the duo’s legal team that includes Cllr. Philip Gongloe to Criminal Court ‘C’ on grounds that Lambin failed to produce the vehicle as promised, for which he was made to sit on the prisoner’s bench.

The truck allegedly went missing on Friday, January 19 from the premises of the Temple of Justice, several minutes after Wesseh issued the arrest order against Lambin, who was the buyer of the vehicle, and Kromah, the seller, thereby ordering the vehicle in question to be impounded. Thereafter, the court was successful to have arrested Lambin as one of the defendants who admitted being in possession of the truck, but failed to produce it while he was arrested.

Following Lambin’s arrest, Gongloe secured his criminal appearance bond and assured Magistrate Wesseh that his client was going to produce the truck by yesterday through a promissory note dated Saturday, January 20.

The note was signed by Cllr. Gongloe and his colleague, Cllr. Swaliho A. Sesay – a copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer. According to the note, “Cllr. Gongloe do hereby promised to produce the car in line with the court’s order on Wednesday, January 24, at 12 p.m., which promise is in agreement with defendant Lambin.”

It was based on the promissory note that Magistrate Wesseh was able to release Lambin to both Sesay and Gongloe.

However, in the action for Summary Proceedings against Magistrate Wesseh, Gongloe argued that when Lambin was arrested upon orders of Wesseh, they filed a valid criminal appearance bond, valued at US$60,000, to have the defendant produce the truck yesterday.

Gongloe claimed that before filing the bond, and while Lambin was still sitting on the prisoner’s bench as a criminal, Wesseh ordered that the vehicle be brought to court as surety, since there was no criminal bond for Lambin at that time.

They also admitted that Lambin bought the truck for US$26,500 from defendant Kromah, who is on the run.

“After filing the bond, the need for the vehicle as a security for the appearance of the defendant was cured and became mute by legal proceeding,” the lawsuit argued.

They also argued that Wesseh ignored the fact that Lambin had filed a valid bond, but proceeded to place him on the prisoner’s bench, because they (the lawyers) did not produce the allegedly stolen vehicle, for which the magistrate threatened to imprison them – who signed the promissory note – contrary to law, and erroneously claiming that their action was contentious.

“The action by Wesseh to compel Lambin to bring the vehicle, subject to the writ of arrest to court, is not supported by law…,” the suit maintained.

Meanwhile, the white DAF truck that was reportedly shipped to one Abraham Dolley by his family in London, U.K. to be sold here in Liberia was parked on the premises of the Temple of Justice upon orders of Magistrate Kennedy Peabody.

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