Just a month after the Supreme Court lifted its 12 months’ suspension on Judge Emery Paye of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court in Nimba County from practicing law in the country, the Intestate Estate of the late Fesue Kromah has accused Paye of applying ‘double standards’ and undermining the judgment he rendered in their favor in 2011.
The Intestate Estate of Fesue Kromah through its administrator, Ansumana Kromah said, Judge Paye, instead of enforcing the court’s judgment where he ruled in favor Ansumana giving him legal right to a portion of the disputed land in Gompa City, Nimba County, he instead wrote the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) Nimba County resident engineer, identified as Mr. Waritay, requesting the engineer to issue a permit to one Bob Garpa to construct on the property already ruled in their favor.
Court documents in the possession of the Daily Observer shows that on January 3, 2011, Judge Paye ruled and denied a Motion for Intervention filed by Siaka N. Keita, who resides in the United States against the Intestate Estate of Fasue Kromah through its administrator, Ansumana Kromah.
Following Judge Paye’s ruling, he again on May 5, 2016, exactly five years after that decision, wrote Nimba County assigned resident engineer of the Ministry of Publics (MPW), (Mr. Waritay), requesting him to issue a permit to Bob Garpa, a family member to Keita and Paul Zuapeawon to construct on the disputed land he had earlier placed in Kromah’s possession.
Paye’s letter which was signed by Arthur G. Gaye, Clerk of Court and a copy of which is with the Daily Observer, reads: ”By directive of Judge Emery Paye, Resident Circuit Judge, Nimba County, I have the official duty to inform you that according to the ruling of this Honorable Court in this year, 2011, Mr. Kromah was in possession of the portion of land in dispute when Cllr. Yarmie Quiqui Gbeisay filed an action of Summary Proceeding to Recover Possession of Real Property against Kromah and later withdrawal was entered in said case by Cllr. Gbeisay.”
The letter continues, “So, Mr. Kromah remained in possession, if anyone is encroaching on this said property only the court can remove or eject that party based upon the filing of the appropriate writ.”
The letter noted further, “Until then, the person who is allegedly encroaching must be brought under the jurisdiction of the court through the legal process.”
In contradiction to his own ruling (Judge Paye’s) the letter stated, “In this vein, you will grant a permit to Bob Garpa as every party has a remedy at Law.”
Garpa’s name is not mentioned anywhere in the case, but Judge Paye chose to award him the possession of the very property he had earlier awarded to Kromah in his ruling.
According to Court documents, Judge Paye then ruled that the Zuapeawon’s power of attorney issued to Donzo to process the case was limited, on which basis Judge Paye never allowed Donzo to plead the case.
After that, Cllr. Gbeisay, on January 3, 2011, filed a Notice of Withdrawal of his case without any reservation, which Paye, then considered as an “abandonment” and subsequently ruled in favor of Kromah.
The question left unanswered is on what basis Judge Paye asked Waritay to issue a permit to Garpa to construct on the property?
In may be recalled that on February 17, 2017, the Supreme Court handed down an opinion suspending Judge Emery Paye, then Judge at the 6th Judicial Circuit Civil Law Court of Montserrado County.
The Court also noted a consistent pattern of misconduct by Judge Paye in violations of several Judicial Canons, before suspending him for 12 calendar months that expired in February and has been reassigned at the 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Nimba County.
The Court opined that on April 16, 2005, Judge Paye empaneled and charged a special Juror on the same day that subsequently returned a verdict in favor of a foreign company (FIDC-JUHA) a registered company under the laws of the Republic of Liberia to purchase the remaining stock-piled of iron ore at the port of Buchanan.
In that case, the special Juror held the Government of Liberia liable in the amount of US$12 million which was referred to as first special damages; and US$750,000 (Seven Hundred fifty-thousand United States dollars) as special second damages and US$ 1.5 million United States Dollars as general damages.
That suspension brings to two the number of times Paye has been suspended for unethical behavior by the Supreme Court.
During the period of his suspension, Paye forfeited his salary allowances and other emoluments.
Meanwhile, a group under the banner “Nimba County Citizens United for Peace and Reconciliation,” in a press statement accused Judge Paye of provoking renewed violence in Ganta City, when he authorized officers of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) to break down homes belonging to ethnic Mandingoes.
Judge Paye’s decision, the group claimed, happened on March 10, based on instructions of one Nya Johnny.
“We recall that the suspension of Judge Emery Paye, by the Supreme Court as judge of the county brought some level of calm in Ganta, even though properties belonging to the Mandingo ethnic group are still being held by Mr. Alfred Suah, Nya Johnny, and others,” they noted.
According to the citizens group, Judge Paye’s decision led to the demolition of over 10 homes belonging to ethnic Mandingoes, “personal belongings damaged and looted in the full glare of the county authorities and some personnel of the Police Emergency Response Unit (ERU) which left them wondering if there is any governance in Ganta.”
By all accounts, they noted, “this is a provocation, inhumane and has the propensity to reawaken a fully blown land dispute in Ganta and other parts of the county affected by a similar problem.” They named homes belonging to the Mandingoes behind the Total Gas Station as those demolished upon Paye’s order.
“But these are homes our people won in court in Nimba County three years ago and Mr. Suah and Mr. Johnny took an appeal to the Supreme Court and that Court is yet to hear the case since it was filed three years ago,” they claimed.
“Our people are in possession of court documents awarding them ownership of these properties. What baffles us now is how can the ERU aid Mr. Nya Johnny to demolish the properties after we won the case in court?” they asked.
Moreover, the citizens group maintain that credible information reaching them reveals that Senator Thomas Grupee of Nimba County is planning to meet with President George Manneh Weah to discuss the idea of building an administrative complex on the land owned by 15 Mandingo family heads with 250 family members that was earmarked as eminent domain but later put on hold as a result of their resistance.
“We put this problem squarely at the feet of Judge Emery Paye, Fred Suah, Nya Johnny and others,” they claimed.
The group claimed that “they have all reasons to believe that the three individuals are bent on undermining the development agenda of President George Manneh Weah.
“Therefore, we are calling on this government led by President Weah to take this very seriously as a threat to peace in Liberia, because we will not relent and will resist any attempt that tends to deprive us of our inheritance. And also, any attempt to re-introduce violence will be forcefully met than ever before,” the group indicated.
When contacted via telephone yesterday, Judge Paye referred the reporter to court documents on grounds that he was not prepared to address the issue.
“I cannot speak to any journalist who is not in Nimba County. If any such a person needs any information about the police action, he must come to Nimba County and take a look at the case file to know about the case,” Paye said.