Suspended Cllr. Gibson’s Lawyers: “Our Client Was Broke”

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Cllr. Charles Gibson (middle) has been dropped from the Justice Ministry nomination

Lawyers representing Justice Minister designate Charles Gibson in a Petition to restore his status as Counselor at-law have told Justices of the Supreme Court that their client had until recently been unable to restitute Anwar A. Saoud’s US$25,400 because he was broke, not having earned income since his suspension by the Court about one-year ago.

In response to questions about Gibson’s prolonged delay to honor the Supreme Court’s mandate, Counselor Emmanuel James, lead lawyer for the accused said his client’s belated payment of Saoud’s US$25,000 was not due to any privy information that he would be appointed Justice Minister by President Weah but rather to his client’s state of penury (impoverishment). He said his client had to rally with his colleagues and friends to raise the amount in order to satisfy the ruling of the court.

Gibson reportedly made the payment to Saoud on January 17, 2018, just six days before President Weah nominated him to serve as the country’s new Minister of Justice.

The Supreme Court also reinstated his license that was suspended on February 24, 2017, which had since then barred him from practicing law.

Gibson was suspended from practicing law in the country for two months on February 24, 2017 by the Supreme Court based on findings of the Grievance and Ethics Committee of the Bar.

The committee had charged him for misleading his client on whose behalf he had instituted a series of lawsuits to recover loans and other obligations from his customers. But Gibson was unable to account for the US$25,400 he had earlier collected.

The Supreme Court ordered him to refund Saoud’s US$25,400 within two months as of the date of the judgment on February 24 2017.

He was also asked to send copy of the receipt of payment to the Court Marshall and failure on his part as specified by the judgment warranted his suspension remaining in full and effect, until he fully complied with the order, which he only did on January 17, 2018.

Up to present, it appears that President Weah’s nomination of Cllr. Gibson to head the Justice Ministry stills stands, as the President has issued no official statement on his nominee’s current suspension from practice by the Supreme Court of Liberia.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. I am not against Cllr. Gibson and the Cllr. needs to survive and provide for his family, but I don’t think he’s a good candidate for this position, assuming everything reported so far is accurate.

    His lawyer claims he was broke and therefore he could not afford then to repay the amount in question. If he could not afford it then how is it possible that he could now afford it when things are even harder? His defense is that his colleagues and friends raised this amount in a very short period of time. I am thankful to the friends and colleagues for coming to his rescue now, but why now and not then when he needed it the most? His livelihood and career was on the line then and that’s when he needed them. Why wait for him to wallow in a year of impoverishment before coming to his rescue? I am sure Cllr. Gibson understands that the appearance of him paying MR. Saoud’s money six days before his nomination as Justice Minister-designate is fishy. It may be legal but from an ethical standpoint it is troubling…

    There’s a serious implications as to who is appointed as the nation’s justice minister. It tells the world whether or not we are ready for real business with fairness as the hallmark. Investors are going to look at the dispensation of justice by the caliber of people running the country, especially the Minister of Justice. So, appointing and confirming Cllr. Gibson with such tinted records is very concerning. The president needs to relook at his nomination of him seriously and think of the consequences it would have on his administration. Again, I am only basing this on what has been reported and assuming they are factual.

  2. Attorney General Of Liberia is the most independent cabinet position powerful positions in the cabinet positions in the country. At his sole discretion, he can allow any foreigner to enter Liberia without let or hindrance. In these days of international terrorism when they are willing to pay any price to accomplish their nefarious acts, anybody occupying such a crucial position must possess absolute impeccable character without an iota of blemish or character flaw. If the President cannot find any such person in the whole of Liberia, after his declaration of no tolerance for corruption, we must begin to prepare ourselves for a very bleak future. Additionally, Mr. Gibson must be vetted to produce the source of such huge amount when according to his lawyer he was indigent all these years.I wonder what advise our late erudite Professor Abraham Lamina James would have told his Liberian Government class in this situation? I can recall in his “Conduct of Liberian Foreign Policy” class, he told us a story about President Kennedy broadcasting the name of his nominee for ambassador to Switzerland before receiving an ‘Agreement’ from the Swiss Government. Immediately informed the US Government that the nominee was not acceptable (he apparently had some underworld connections); to save the day, the nominee asked for his name to be withdrawn; that saved the day. I believe the President should handle this situation in like manner. He should still be made to show the source of this huge money that he raised to settle the clients’ money for which he could not give account.

  3. He is not broke anymore. What puzzles me is the lack of a background check by the transitional team. Is this what we are to look forward to, arbitrary decisions based on friendship? Then nothing has changed. Weah need to grow a spine and make good decisions for the country. He is listening to Jewel, Taylor, Johnson-Sirleaf, …. Does he have his own mind?

  4. If this fool was in the West, he would have never come close to being nominated and he would withdraw his nomination. This is what happens when you elect someone with no clue about governance and government. How can you nominate someone with such character to head the Justice Ministry? I can imagine the kind of corruption that would take place under a Weah lead government…….

    • Hi bro. Luke, I cannot agrees with you furthermore. 60% of those voted for CDC will have to face the reality of the good education and leadership they saw in GW. Thanks God, I was not part of the mess!

  5. This is just the beginning of all the mistakes and foolhardiness of Weah being President. If someone like Gibson cannot be trusted with his client’s money to turn it over to him, how can you trust this guy with one of the most powerful cabinet positions? What kind of background checks are we doing on these potential ministers of government? From the various positions filled, it is already showing that Liberia is in for dire times. I can surmise that within six (6) months, a lot of these newly appointed officers will be fired for some egregious corrupt practices. There are very few that have been appointed that have given some semblance of good governance. I believe Mary Broh has proven time and time again that she is a an effective public servant. I think Sam Wulue has also shown at the various places he has served, that he has been effective. The others; the jury is still out. Findley is a novice and of course he is paying Ellen back by giving her son Robert Sirleaf the Liberian Embassy in South Africa for him to have diplomatic cover to protect their family stolen riches.

    Weah has already disappointed us with his selection the first few days in office. We only hope and pray that there will be some drastic change soon and very soon and he can put us on the right track before things get so bad.

  6. This is not the first time Supreme Court suspended Minister of Justice. Any one appointed
    in that position can take his seat as appointed. It means that the intention of the suspension
    is not to remove nor bar the individual from occupying his seat once he complies. For example,
    Christina Tah was suspended by the Supreme Court and had to wait for the Supreme Court
    to lift her suspension. So, why not Charles Gibson? What the systems did to John must be
    done also to Peter!

  7. What a flimsy excuse! “Our client was broke”: Is no excuse for committing a crime.

    As a lawyer, Cllr. Charles Gibson had a fiduciary duty to his clients. He violated that trust between his client/lawyer by embezzling his client money. What a light punishment given to him by the court.

    He was penalized by the suspension of his law license and asked to make restitution without any jail time. He made no attempt within a year to abide by the court order until few days when he got words that he would be nominated for the top legal post as Justice Minister. Cllr. Charles Gibson, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. You got caught….big time!!!!!

    There are three choices:
    1. Cllr. Gibson withdraw his nomination (this is the honorable thing to do).
    2. President Weah should find someone who is competent, experience, and has good character.
    3. If Cllr. Gibson goes before the senate for hearing, he should be rejected (regardless of party loyalty).

    Remember, “As a man thinketh, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Do we want a “big rogue” as Justice Minister ?

  8. There is no way that a man with such a corrupt attitude should be justice minister in a civilised world. But this is Liberia. Anything is possible including confirming a man who admits that has he is not qualified to be foreign minister. I think our senators have already started doing a terrible job!

  9. It is just inconceivable that a person with such flawed character will even be considered for this important position where justice is supposed to be dispensed in an honest manner. I think that the responsibility of vetting appointed officials in this government rests with the legislature. Liberians do not want the reoccurrence of situation where those responsible for vetting and confirming appointed officials of government failed miserably by confirming people of questionable character who should not have been confirmed.
    President Weah needs to be careful as he navigates this route. This is no longer an issue of popularity. The pomp and pageantry is over. He needs to start on a good footing and keep the promise he made to the Liberian people that he will be different from other politicians. If people see the re-emergence of the same old politics with no tangible and substantial results to show, the party will be over and the history books will begin to be written about him. He campaigned on change, even though he failed to tell the Liberian people how that change was going to be effected. He missed out on several opportunities to present his platform through debatess and left the Liberian people wondering what to expect from his government. He needs to show that he is prepared for this awesome responsibility and that this is not a “play play thing. A word to the wise is sufficient.

  10. For all practical purposes it is belated to whine over the erstwhile consideration of this criminal element, Gibson, as minister of justice. It was timely and the right thing for president Weah to reverse that preferment. It shows president Weah has the capacity to hear when the people say NO! to anything. Interestingly, it is the Supreme Court’s decision to play to Mr. Gibson’s threadbare chicanery that is even shocking. That this man blatantly defied the high court’s fine for an entire year without ever imploring the court’s mercy, not until rumor for his cabinet preferment and all of a sudden Mr. Gibson had the capacity to pay this fine all at once? And the high court fell for that obvious ploy? Such spinelessness makes our high court complicit in the man’s sham. If Mr. Gibson was truly broke as projected by his lawyers, then where, or how, did he come by $25,000. all of a sudden? Such shallow and uncritical performance of our high court in matters of this nature, makes us to even question the shrewdness of our justices in a life-and-death situation. How could our justices be so maneuverable? Or were their action in this case enveloped-induced? No wonder some “untouchables” in Liberia don’t even consider our Supreme Court’s decision as anything, always calling their bluff. And they want the international community to take our legal system serious? Not with such gullibility.

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