Press Union’s presence requested ‘to ensure transparency’
An article published online by the FrontPage Africa Newspaper linking Associate Justice Joseph N. Nagbe to a traffic violation offense did not go down well with the Associate Justice and he is therefore citing the paper’s Managing Editor, Rodney Sieh, for a conference this Thursday, May 21.
Justice Nagbe’s citation also named the Management of OK FM, a local radio station, for broadcasting similar traffic offense published by Frontpage Africa.
It is unclear as to whether Sieh and the Management of OK FM will avail themselves for the anticipated conference; if they failed to attend, the Associate Justice would hold them in contempt, which is sometimes punishable by days of incarceration.
To make Sieh and OK FM’s appearance transparent, Justice Nagbe has communicated with the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), the umbrella body of all journalists, to ensure that the union’s President, Charles Coffey attends the Thursday’s proceeding.
A communication dated May 19, 2020, under the signature of Supreme Court Attorney Sam Mamulu, which acopy is in the possession of the Daily Observer, mandated Frontpage Africa’s Sieh and the OK FM Management to appear at 11:00 AM. But, the communication did not ask any of the parties, Sieh and KO FM Radio Management, to be accompanied by their respective lawyers.
The letter addressed to Mr. Sieh reads: “I have been directed by His Honor Joseph N. Nagbe, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, to cite you for a conference with His Honor on Thursday, May 21, 2020, at the hour of 11:00 AM, relative to the traffic incident involving you and the Justice which occurred on Monday, May 18, 2020, at about 9: AM around the Vai Town area while he was following police instructions.”
The OK FM Radio Station’s letter also reads: “I have been directed by His Honor Joseph N. Nagbe, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, to cite you for a conference with His Honor on Thursday, May 21, 2020, at the hour of 11:00AM, relative to an OK FM Radio broadcast involving a traffic incident/fracas between Mr. Rodney Sieh of the FrontPage Africa and His Honor Justice Joseph N. Nagbe, which occurred on Monday, May 18, 2020, at about 9:AM around the Vai Town area, while he (Justice Nagbe) was following police instructions.”
The communication addressed to Charles Cuffey also state: “I have been directed by His Honor Joseph N. Nagbe, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, to cite you for a conference with His Honor on Thursday, May 21, 2020, at the hour of 11:00AM, relative to a matter involving the Justice and Mr. Rodney Sieh of the FrontPage Africa Newspaper surrounding a traffic incident/fracas, which occurred on Monday, May 18, 2020, at about 9:AM around the Vai Town area. Mr. Sieh has also been cited.”
It all started when Mr. Sieh wrote an editorial online titled “The Associate Justice’s Traffic Violation.”
The article drawing Mr. Sieh reads: Fast-forward to Monday, May 19, 2020, I was driving on my way to interview someone for a story, near the Vai Town area when I noticed a black jeep with a license plate JUD 4, bulldozing its way toward me on heavy speed. I wasn’t sure whose vehicle it was at first- it was later I confirmed with a court staffer that it belonged to Associate Justice Nagbe.
The Vai Town road is one of the busiest traffic routes in Monrovia. It has become even more compounded now because of the ongoing renovation work due to the dilapidated condition of the road.
The Vai Town route was built as a four-lane road, two lanes going toward the Freeport of Monrovia and two opposite lanes, on the other side heading toward downtown Monrovia. More importantly, the road is divided by a center divide which is there to ensure that those on either side of the road stay in their respective lanes and do not cross over in the ongoing traffic in the other lane.
Following the incident, I placed a call to Chief Justice Francis Korkpor and Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue, informing them of what had happened. The Chief Justice promised me he would look into it, but I never heard from him again. IG Sudue also expressed frustration at how officials of government have been breaking the laws by driving in the wrong lane. I even heard him on the phone instructing the chief of traffic to assign officers on the Vai Town Road to keep all on their respective lanes.
This has been a regular routine for me. Often when I see officials breaking the law, I take their photos and send to the appropriate authorities or publish them to discourage others from doing the same.
Now, that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll say again, I was in the lane heading toward the Freeport, which is the right lane. Any vehicle approaching the lane toward me is in the wrong, that is the law.
For many of you who follow me on Facebook, I have been strongly advocating and most times photographing officials breaking the laws by moving on high speed in ongoing traffic to the detriment of other commuters.
Imagine waking up one morning and hearing that an official of government, bulldozing his way into incoming traffic and killing someone’s child – or a street-seller crossing the street? All it takes is one small slip up to start a riot or a protest. Imagine!!!
Today, a three-year-old little girl is fighting for her life after she was severely hit on March 1, 2020 by the Deputy Minister of Justice, Cllr. Nyenati Tuan, as a result of alleged reckless driving.