By Attorney Keith Neville Asumuyaya Best
4 JUSTICES RIDING SHOTGUN, TO PROTECT PROPERTY A CO-WORKER HAD “BOUGHT,” LEAVES AN OLD LADY “BLIND-SIDED BY THE MACK TRUCK” THE JUSTICES WERE CRUISING IN; TODAY, SHE STILL HAS NO CLUE WHAT WAS GOING ON — WHILE SOMEONE TRIED TO SELL HER HOUSE!
A case related to land that fell under the court system was handled by the courts and was allowed to run its course here in Monrovia, a few years ago. It involved one of this nation’s Associate Justices, His Honor Kabineh Ja’neh, and Mrs. Annie Constance.
It had to do with a house that Mrs. Constance had spent most of her life in, and still insists, is hers. The courts held that the property had been properly purchased by Justice Ja’neh. Accordingly, it ruled a transfer of ownership, in His Honor’s favor.
Not too long ago, Mrs. Constance — through this paper — made a public appeal to President Oppong Weah, for relief from the ruling, declaring publicly that she had not had her day in court — being absent from the country, for a while.
Even worse, her legal counsel had been remiss (slipshod, not diligent) about his responsibility to her and her interests. Finally, her rights and authority had been violated, while her lawyer was making a fool of himself. It just doesn’t look good, and that is about all I can say about it; it’s the most I can say.
Could anyone come up with an idea like this — for a poem, or for a book, involving so many prominent people that we read and hear from and about, almost every day. OPEN-AND-SHUT CASE The case, itself, reads like an “open-and-shut one to most people I have talked to. And that is exactly as the old lady describes the on-goings at her house.
It clearly, had been open — for business, in her absence, she explained. Someone else — someone she knew — had been doing something with and about her place; it would lead to her being shut out when she got back, and got around to enjoying being home again. But it would not last, and she would remain clueless about what was really going down with her house.
But, Mr. J. Nyema Constance Jr. (a now deceased son) had decided that it was his time and place to “sell” a house. And the house he had made up his mind to “sell” had not been bought by him; and no one, as far as we have been told, had given him leave to attempt to give it away.
But, based on Mr. Constance’s actions, the house’s doors would turn out slammed shut — against the defenseless Mrs. Constance, who had come back to resume life in the only home she knew and had. But the game was afoot, and Mr. Constance seemed determined to stay with what was in progress; he was doing everything he could, to make his plans stick — and grow roots.
The deal he had put into motion, involved money changing hands; but, it did not involve the old lady, her interests, or her pockets. In other words, someone was trying to swindle, (double-cross her, rip her off) her. And the defense counsel, whose services Mrs. Constance presumed she had secured — to seek her interest — refused to do what he had been requested to do — what he had agreed to do.
God of Justice
But, whether she has really lost her house is left to be seen. “The God of justice,” she recently told someone, “never sleeps! The old lady must have been unable to pay for Mr. Constance’s service, since he seemed to have stopped doing things that benefited her. How?
“Again and again, Counsel for the defense,” we were told, “failed to put in an appearance, in defense of the old lady and her house, during important stages, when the case was underway. She had no defense, and soon, everyone seemed to understand what was going down — yet, nobody gave a damn that she was all alone, and being railroaded.
That made everything so simple — open-and-shut! Other times, most people would be screaming “blue murder” when someone else is involved. But, Mr. Constance was dealing with somebody who could spell “able.” And the new buyer was serious about what he was doing.
So, everyone was turning his head and looking the other way. How could the court people come to know or understand what the old lady’s lawyer was doing again and again? How could they see him, when he was disappearing — dropping out of sight whenever he damned-well pleased. He had to! He weh na toopey! He had work to do — or so he thought.
That’s what Judas thought too! Oh, it was open, alright! It was just Mrs. Constance, who hadn’t been open. She hadn’t been here, someone tried to explain — at least, not for a while. But she would turn up, though—turn up in time to get evicted. But it would take some time; lots and lots of time, thanks to whoever was spending.
Spending, meant giving money to someone who was willing to put on a show of passing property over to the spender since the property could not legally be sold — by someone that did not own it. And, no property is going to move itself into the spender’s yard. It will stay right where it is — until the right time. Allah’s time! God’s time! Nothing gets sold unless it is owned by the person that holds title.
So if you can’t sell without owning, it just might be impossible to give away as well. CONVEYANCE: WHEN DONE RIGHT Conveyance will not take place by “forming the fool;” that is not a criterion. It amounts to no more than hopeful thinking: hoping that the deal will pass through! And it will look that way; but for how long?
“What isn’t done legally isn’t done at all,” the law says. So there had to be someone willing to go through the motion of giving the property away, since the activity amounts to nothing more. However, property goes nowhere. That is why people don’t take it and put it in their pockets; that is why it is easy to find people willing to play the ‘game.’
They say: “you give me some money, I give you the property; I will even sell it to you.” “So, Chief, you will get your deed. Of course you will get the deed. Your Honor, what are you worrying about? We are going through the system — the court system. Hello-o-o-o? Are you with me? You know how that works, don’t you? If fact, you know it ‘betteh’ — betteh than allor we standing here!”
The problem though, is that this thing should not have been allowed to happen. This is not the way the law is supposed to work. The old lady never got her day in court — something that these our wonderful people have sworn, will never be allowed to happen. Not on their watch; and not to anyone. But it did happen. And that is so sad — and unfortunate — a let-down!