‘Replacing Justice Wright at ECOWAS Court is Challenging’

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– Judge Kaba of Civil Law Court

Judge Yusuf Kaba has been named as Liberia’s representative on the Bench of the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja, Nigeria.

The appointment of Judge Kaba to the position came about when Cllr. Wilkins Wright failed in his quest to convince the Supreme Court of Liberia to lift the 12-month suspension it had imposed on him from practicing law.

Shortly after his appointment, Judge Kaba told journalists yesterday at his Temple of Justice office that to replace Wright at the ECOWAS Court was a very challenging and difficult task to perform taking into consideration Cllr. Wright’s wealth of experience in the legal profession.

“Let me say the truth, replacing Wright is very much challenging, because he had performed expediently at the level of the court; and for someone to replace him, that person must be very good and experienced, especially in the practice of the law,” Kaba said.

However, he said, “With the experience I have acquired in the legal profession and with the wisdom from God, I will definitely prove myself capable.

“The judgment that I will render at the court will determine whether or not I have fulfilled the expectation of those judges at the court that made the recommendation for me to occupy the post,” Kaba said.

To serve on the ECOWAS Court, one has to be nominated by the president of a member state, who is given a slot for nomination. Nominees must be of high moral character, appointed by the Authority of Heads of State and Government from nationals of member states for a four-year term of office upon recommendation of the Community Judicial Council.

The mandate of the court is to ensure the observance of law and the principles of equity and the interpretation and application of the provisions of the Revised Treaty and all other subsidiary legal instruments adopted by the community.

Cllr. Wright served as former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia and former Solicitor General at the Ministry of Justice.

In 2016, the Supreme Court declared Cllr. Wright guilty of ethical breach while serving as Solicitor General for concealing his relationship with his former client, Finance Investment and Development Corporation (FIDC), that had sued the government.

He conceded to a US$15.9 million judgment against the state.

The records certified to the court show that on February 4, 2003, the Liberian government, through the then Liberia Mining Company (LIMINCO), entered into a sales agreement with Finance Investment and Development Corporation (FIDC) Incorporated, a registered Liberian company represented by its President, Karel Sochor.

As per government policy, the agreement was witnessed and attested to by the then Minister of Justice, Cllr Koboi Johnson. The said agreement provided, inter alia, for the sale of iron ore weighed between 600,000 to 850,000 metric tons owned by LIMINCO and stockpiled at the Port of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

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