Judges, judicial staff under probe
Information reaching the Daily Observer has it that the Judicial Inquiry Committee (JIC) chaired by Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Youh has launched a massive corruption investigation of judges and bailiffs (court officers) at the Temple of Justice.
The source also hinted the Daily Observer that Justice Youh’s office has sent a written communication to the accused judges inviting them to appear before her for the probe.
Justice Youh’s investigation resulted from Bailiff Javis Felton Davis of Criminal Court C’s public confession that he has been working with judges to solicit bribes from party litigants who have gone to the court for justice in favor of a positive judgment.
The investigation comes at a time when Liberians generally perceive the judiciary as very corrupt.
According to our source, several accusations and counter accusations ‘around the corner’ paint the judiciary as being corrupt, although the source didn’t elaborate. However, efforts by our reporter and his colleague to do follow ups at Justice Youh’s JIC office concerning the invitation of the judges to appear there, were blocked by Youh’s secretary, Atty. Shantal M. Kromah–Toh.
Atty. Toh did not only block the journalists, who were performing their reportorial duties, she also verbally insulted them.
“Get outside of my office! If you want any information get yourself to the Justice Youh, ok? I am going to ask my staff to have you people out of this place, if you refuse to leave right now,” Madam Toh threatened.
Meanwhile, Bailiff Davis’ admission came immediately after he was arrested and detained on Wednesday at the Monrovia Central Prison based on an order from the three-panel-judges presiding over the Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice.
At the hearing, Chief Judge Eva Mappy Morgan said the judges were dropping the earlier contempt charge against Davis, adding, “We have the right under the law to drop contempt charges against anyone, and everything is over.”
Judge Morgan said Davis’ arrest was based on his confession that he had been using names of judges of her court to extort money in the US$3 million Ducor Petroleum case involving Mr. Amos Brosius and two Italian businessmen, Charles Carron and Krisman Leeman.
The case has been at the Commercial Court since 2013.
The bribery was allegedly discovered when Bailiff Davis sent text messages to Carron detailing how he (Davis) was approached by judges of the Commercial Court seeking his intervention to collect an unspecified amount of money on their behalf from him (Carron).
Upon receiving the text messages, Carron, the source claimed, immediately contacted his lawyer (name withheld), who subsequently informed the Commercial Court judges about the message.
After being told about the text messages, the source said the judges decided to call the number the messages were sent from, which was answered by Bailiff Davis.
The source claimed that Davis also motioned the names of other judges and judicial employees he said contact him to extort money on their behalf from people who sought justice from the court.