Justice Ja’neh May Take Stand Monday

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Mrs Constance being helped out of the Senate Chambers last Tuesday

— Chief Justice Dismisses Respondent Lawyers Acquittal Motion

Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor has denied and dismissed motion filed by lawyers representing Justice Kabineh Ja’neh for judgment of dismissal and acquittal in the ongoing impeachment trial, and has rather decided that the proper and appropriate thing to do is to allow the Respondent (Ja’neh) to take the stand in his own defense if he so elects.

Chief Justice Korkpor reiterated that the ongoing impeachment trial is being conducted in keeping with the laws of Liberia, “so I shall follow the laws of Liberia and apply them as I verily know them to be.”

The Chief Justice was speaking Tuesday in the Chambers of the Senate minutes after Managers lawyers of the House of Representatives had rested their delivery of oral and documentary evidence in total and, had presented their last witness, the 94-year-old Mrs. Anna Constance who, in tears, explained that her land was wrongly purchased by Justice Ja’neh.

The frail Mrs. Constance told the hearing that the deed to the sold property is indeed in the of her presumed dead husband, J. Nyema Constance Sr., and that while seeking refuge abroad her biological son Constance Jr., sold the property without her knowledge. The Constance Jr., who was born 1956, sixteen years after his parents legally married both in 1940 and entered into the sale of his father’s property, is dead, according to his mother.

Commenting on the application filed by Cllr. Arthur Johnson asking him as the presiding officer to dismiss in gavel, Chief Justice Korkpor recalled that it was the second time that such request had been made before him during the trial.

“The first time it happened was at the beginning of this proceeding when similar application was made, asking me by way of a motion to dismiss the bill of impeachment, and at that time I made appropriate ruling denying the application for reasons which are stated on record that I wish to be incorporated as part of the ruling that I now make,” Chief Justice Korkpor said.

He asserted that the impeachment was initiated by the House of Representatives and now, as required by law, the matter is before the Liberian Senate for trial for determination of the charges levied against Justice Ja’neh.

“This is to say that this is not judicial trial; I continue to say not of my will but because the highest law in our land requires that I do so. I swore to protect the Constitution and the Statutory laws of Liberia when I accepted the job of becoming the Chief Justice of this nation,” the Chief Justice intimated.

He noted that in the testimony given by the witnesses for the Managers, several issues of facts have been: “I also note that one of the Counsel’s for the Respondent, Cllr. Arthur Johnson, conceded the point that it is the Liberian Senate who makes the final decision on all of these issues.”

Referring to his first ruling when an application was made to dismiss the bill of impeachment, Chief Justice Korkpor stated: “that I, a single Justice sitting, cannot dismiss a case which has raised constitutional issues.

This, he said, “is the law in our jurisdiction, and so I am not going to circumvent the law. When a Justice in Chambers for example has received through a remedial writ a petition which contains Constitutional issue, it is the practice in this jurisdiction that that Justice alone cannot and is not permitted by law to pass on those issues. And so,” he said, “the practice is that he sends up to the full bench of the Supreme Court for the matter to be decided.”

The trial meanwhile resumes Monday, at which time the Respondent lawyers should have decided whether to put Justice Ja’neh on the stand, an option the Chief Justice has said is up to them.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Acarious Gray and others just want to waist our taxes on something that they will not succeed.
    The thing is clear because the old Lady has agreed that the man in question is their son and he sold the land with legal documents and at the same time he was not a child when he sold the land.

  2. There’s no doubt that the Ja’neh case is very convoluted. But at the same time, it’s a case study that teaches all Liberians a very good lesson. Here’s the lesson:
    Before any land is purchased from anyone, the buyer must be extremely careful. The owner or seller of the land may claim all kinds of titles. For instance, the seller may claim to be an angel, the son or daughter of the land or a legal representative. It doesn’t matter. What matters most is what I’ve said earlier. Be extremely careful. It certainly won’t hurt to do a background check before money gets involved.

    The issue that’s before us is that a hair needs to be split. Should the 94-year old lady have her land returned to her by court order? Should the money that Ja’neh spent be returned to him with interest? The other side of the story is whether Ja’neh used clout to purchase the property.. If so, does Ja’neh have sympathy or does he have a sense of empathy? Still, what’s about the 94-year old Anne Constance? She’s been kept alive all these years knowing that she’s had a property. Will the Liberian Senate or the Courts side with the old lady and deal Ja’neh a blow? Or will the Senate and the Courts side with their former colleague and deal the 94-year old a blow?

    Before you buy any land from any Liberian, please be extremely careful.

    Peace

  3. This is a bogus and baseless case against Justice Ja’neh…this land case went through the courts and it was determined that Justice Ja’neh brought the land legally….legality is determined by the courts not public opinion…

  4. The issue with the sale of land squarely rest with the government. Either the government dropped the ball somewhere along the way, or it has just completely abdicated its responsibility in the management of land sale. Yes, this was not created by the Weah-led administration, but it is now this administration’s problems and it needs to be addressed as opposed to kicking the can down the road.

    This is not a rocket science, really. The government should have known, at the end of the nation’s protracted war, that land was going to be a contentious issues and if nothing was done to mitigate the problem, it could mushroom into larger conflicts. We’ve seen what is happening in Nimba between the Mandingos and the Mino tribes with regard to LAND. Either the same person or a family member, all over the country, is selling a parcel of land to two or three different individuals. I am even told some surveyors are either culprit or in cahoots with these cohorts of land dealers.

    This started under the interim administrations, an early indication that this was going to be a major problem and needed to be addressed under the Sirlef-led administration as the first order of business. The government should have had a moratorium on the sale of land until a proper mechanism is put in place to enforce is done by the rightful owner. You have archived of records showing the rightful owners of lands; so the sale should not just be based on someone producing land deeds, but the last owner reflected in government’s records.

    Following process like this would have prevented the land from being sold fraudulently. In this case however, Mr. Constance Jr. was too close to the family for one not to consider the sale to be legit, as he was the biological son. However, if the authority had done proper due diligence it would have found out whether or not the land was transferred to the son, as record would have reflected it. I think government courts should start holding government accountable for these types of avoidable neglects of responsibilities as a deterrent to future recurrence. The government should either return the land to Mrs. Constance and refund, in full with expenses, Justice Ja’neh, or let Justice Ja’neh keep the land but that the government restitute Mrs. Constance the just compensation of the land.

    • Correction: :… in place to enforce is done by the rightful owner,…”should read, ” …in place to enforce land sale is done by the rightful owner, …

    • John,
      I have read your argument.
      The only question that I have is this…
      How does the sale of any land in Liberia rest on the shoulders of the government? Or are you referring to the fact that the processing of the legal documents after the sale of the land?

      • Hney – the sale of every real estate property such as land ought to be registered and recorded showing the seller and the buyer. In other words, if I sell you a parcel of land the record should reflect that I was the rightful owner and now you are the rightful owner after the sale. No other person should be able to sell or transfer that land except you. If I attempt to resell that particular land to another person, the record should reflect that I am no longer the owner therefore I cannot legally sell or transfer that land.

        Now this is done through institutions that the government put in place to monitor and maintain these records. I stand corrected, but I believe land acquisition in Liberia involves Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, Public Works, Internal Affairs and Center for National Documents and Records Agency. If these ministries and agency are fulfilling their mission and enforcing the law, what is happening now would not have happened….

        • John, I do understand. I have a property in Brewerville. Guess what? A few years ago, I wanted the deed of the property. So I was told to visit a particular Ministry/Bureau, not very far from the Ministry of Education.

          I visited the office. There was no computer in the office, but rather a thick book. The information that’s contained in the thick gigantic book of deeds is written in ink! That means someone’s handwriting.

          So, I told the gentleman my name in order for him to search. In about 10 minutes, the records keeper couldn’t locate my name. Then he said to me, “uncle, you think you can come tomorrow for your deed”? “Yes”, I said. As you know, I had no choice.

          My younger who accompanied me told me to give the records keeper some cold water. Okay, I obliged. So I gave the guy ten US bucks in order for me to get my deed. Can you believe this? The next day, my deed was found. I wondered whether the records guy wanted his cold water from the get go.

          This incident occurred during the remaining years of EJS.

          The government can play an important role after a land transaction is done. Otherwise, we’ll suffer something new; Kabineh Ja’neh effect.

          “Kabineh Ja’neh effect” is defined as the purchase of a land under mysterious circumstances.

          • This is exactly my point, Hneh. You shouldn’t have gone through the narratives you’ve just described, not if we have a system that works by enforcing our laws. Of course, people like the record keeper you’ve just described will always exist, but it’s up to the government to make sure that narratives such as yours are completely eradicated or minimized.

            First thing, government needs to make sure that people such as this records keeper are paid a living wage, and then ensure that behaviors such as his are completely rooted out from the system. We now live in a digital world where almost everything is digitized, and so I see no reason why these records are not yet converted into electronic records. It does not means we get rid of the hard copies, but it makes the process more efficient and we get to still keep the hard copies in a well-preserved environment.

            It seems laughable when you mentioned the record keeper spent ten minutes and couldn’t find your records; of course ten minutes was not enough, given the volume of info and the manner of filing system they’ve got. However, with a computerized system, the tem minutes was more than enough to pull your records.

            Look Liberia is a tiny country with brilliant minds, but we have to let go of the pettiness and self-aggrandizement that are holding the country back. We cannot continue to hold onto the past and at the same time grasp the future, it brings stagnation. Look at Rwanda. Yes, our civil conflict lasted longer than theirs but Rwanda casualties were far greater than ours and yet they’ve moved on. The point is, we should call right what it is and wrong what it really is and not just when it is expedient!

        • Are there documents to show Ms Constance sold her Land? Her son is not the owner?
          How did the buyer get the land? Did he used government power to get it; that could be an issue?

          • Peter – if government is keeping proper records of these transactions and enforcing the laws, all of the questions you have raised would have been addressed at the onset of the transaction. Read my comments above…

    • Hney – My apologies for the misspell…it wasn’t deliberate but just a typo error…Thanks for the understanding, though.

  5. Chief Justice please the Laws of Republic of Liberia to maintain your characters. That is true, that you have said to this news paper. Nothing you could do other then the Laws of Liberia.
    history will record you.

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