Probe over Letter on Supreme Court’s Mandate

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An investigation has been opened at the Civil Law Court about a letter that allegedly contradicted the mandate of the Supreme Court, ordering Judge Yussif Kaba to conduct an appropriate hearing of claims of the Liberia Scrap Association (LSA), at the center of a legal dispute.

Associate Justice Philip A.Z. Banks, who issued the Supreme Court judgment on August 12, 2016, instructed Judge Kaba to “immediately upon receipt by the trial judge of the Supreme Court judgment,…to ensure that the assets listed by the former executives of LSA, which they acknowledged are owned and belonged to the association be included.”

In that mandate Justice Banks named the items as communications, camera, welding machine, two JMC pick-up trucks, and the association’s documents.

Justice Banks’ mandate did not authorize the Civil Law Court to direct anyone to start collecting dues.

However, a letter dated August 28, 2016 allegedly written by Victor G. Gailor, assistant clerk of the Civil Law Court, quoted Judge Kaba instructing his clerk to proceed to the former officials of LSA to ensure that all of the assets, which also included, but were not limited to real property, tangible and intangible properties of the LSA, along with the collection of dues, were available.

It was the inclusion of dues collection that appeared in the clerk’s letter to the parties that prompted the investigation, a source noted.

According to the source the act was discovered by lawyers representing the former officials after they received Gailor’s letter.

Justice Banks’ mandate further warned that “should the lower court find (during) appropriate hearing and examination of the evidence submitted by the parties that the LSA does not own any number of the items appearing on the list submitted by Johnson, it shall absolve the former officials from answering to all such claims.”

Justice Banks said “As to any item which the former officials claim not owned by or belonging to the LSA, the lower court is authorized to conduct an immediate investigation into the said claim and, finding same not to be true to hold the respondents in contempt of the court, with the appropriate penalty being imposed.”

The mandate said “a full report as to the execution of this court’s mandate shall be forwarded to this court within ninety (90) days of the date of this court’s judgment.”

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