-- Cllr. Nyenanti Tuan Booked?
By Patrick J. Kollie (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Post Legislative life for most former Lawmakers is dotted by a growing number of divorce cases. The bitter struggle of recent, during divorce between some of them and their spouses, presents a gruesome fight to the finish line. In addition to the electoral defeat, a great loss to the family, some wives of these former Legislators use the court system during these perilous divorce cases in Liberia to not only dispossess their rivals of properties, but also show grave determination and courage to hammer the final nail to the coffins of their husbands, now turned enemies. These domestic problems, for some of these former legislators, are a sort of onslaught that tends to retire them from attempts to reconstruct family life or to renew full trust in another relationship.
As I conducted this in-depth investigation, I met one of them who remarked “the infliction of misery is heightened by our own wives-a kind of calamity we brought upon ourselves. If only we knew the heart and intention, marriage would have never been for me an honorable option associated with public life!”
The tale of Mary Sisusa Davies turned Cecelia Youngor Kollie and Hon. Momo at the Civil Law Court
In December 2017, Mary Youngor Momo (change of name, Court 2770, granted August 23, 2007) filed an action of divorce for incompatibility against her husband, Hon. J.S.B. Theodore Momo, Jr. Hearing into the case began early 2018. On January 25, 2018, Cllr. Neyanti Tuan of the Tuan Law Firm (Legal Counsel of M. Youngor Momo) notified Hon. Theodore Momo to turnover what he purported to be the property of his client, M. Youngor Momo. He later filed a bill of information to the court, in his letter to Hon. Theodore Momo.
The property in question, being the very residence that the couple have lived in up to the filling of the divorce, Atty. Cephas M. Teewia, in a letter dated January 26, 2018, replied to Cllr. Tuan that the referenced property was acquired during the parties’ marriage. As such, the Civil Law Court, as per Mrs. Momo’s complaint for divorce against Mr. Momo, has full jurisdiction to say whether or not a party should vacate said residence considered as marital property which, among others, would be disposed of at the end of the divorce.
The divorce case then took a dramatic turn when all focus was brought to bear upon the Gbengba Town residence of the couple. Subsequently, the Tuan Wreh Law Firm filed a bill of information seeking to vacate Hon. Momo from the property. Without attaching a valid land deed of the property in question to their bill of information, Cllr. Tuan gave notice that he would provide the said deed in open court. This action, among other unfounded claims, was resisted by the lawyer representing Hon. Momo. Surprisingly, while Hon. Momo was out of Town, the Court, by an assignment, summoned Atty. Cephas Teewia for appearance on April 2, 2018. For the respect and sanctity of the Court, Atty. Teewia appeared before the Judge of the Civil Law Court “B”, and presented that his Client, Hon. Momo, was out of the City limit and therefore could not be present in Court.
During the hearing, Cllr. Tuan again argued that the Gbengba Town resindence of the couple was the sole property of Mrs. Momo. As his reliance, he submitted to the Judge a document purporting to be a land deed.
Following Cllr. Tuan’s submission, Atty. Teewia was asked to produce evidence to back his claim that the said property was marital. He again cited that his client was not present in court to present his deed. At the end of argument by both Lawyers, Judge Sheaplor Dunbar ruled on April 2, 2018 that the informant, having failed to produce any evidence (land deed) to substantiate his allegation that the property is a jointly owned property contained in the bill of information is hereby denied.
“The respondent (Mrs. Momo) being the legitimate owner of the property as shown by the title deed presented to this Court, she has the right to ask her husband to leave the premises. The Court cannot do anything to restrain the respondent from exercising her right,” Judge Dunbar ruled.
To this ruling, Atty. Cephas Teewia immediately announced an exception, which the Court took note of.
On April 4, 2018, Atty. Teewia filed a “Motion to rescind” the April 2, 2018 ruling of the Judge. In his motion, he informed the Court that Counsel for Respondent, during the April 2, 2018 hearing, did not plead any legal description concerning the property, nor did he or his client attach any land deed to their return. Instead, Cllr. Tuan gave notice that his client would produce a land deed during the hearing.
Further, that the Respondent, “having failed to introduce any land deed into evidence in this matter during the April 2, 2018 hearing of the bill of information, show your Honor in open Court a document purporting to be a deed for the parties’ marital residence and, on that basis, Counsel requested the judge to deny Mrs. Momo’s bill of information.”
Atty. Teewia submitted that the Honorable Court is one of records, and that a litigant through a Counsel should not be permitted to in open Court show a document for the first time that the opposing side has not been given time to inspect and or respond to and, without the taking of any testimony or evidence concerning the validity or invalidity of the purported document, have same accepted by this Honorable court as a valid deed. He therefore prayed the Judge to revisit his April 2, 2018 ruling so that it would not appear to be misconstrued that the Judge passed on the validity of the purported land deed which did/does not form any part of the record in the case. Moreover, Atty. Teewia presented a valid land deed to substantiate his clients claim of a joint property.
On the other hand, Cllr. Nyenati Tuan in his response to the motion to rescind, argued and submitted that on April 2, 2018, the Judge ruled on the said matter. On that same date and time, Atty. Teewia did not “EXCEPT” to the ruling of the Judge on April 2, 2018. As his reliance, Cllr. Tuan presented a copy of the ruling of Judge Dunbar of April 2, 2018. His version of the ruling OMITTED:
“To which ruling Counsel for Respondent except”
“The Court: Exception noted.”
What was shocking about Cllr. Tuan’s version of the ruling is how did he obtain the Judge’s signature, and how was it possible that on the same ruling of April 2, 2018, the Honorable Civil Law Court “B”, under the gavel of His Honor Sheaplor Dunbar, made a ruling with two versions?
IN THE END, THE COURT RULED THAT BOTH PROPERTIES WERE “DISTINCT AND SEPARATE.”
On May 22, 2018, Hon. Momo complained Cllr. Nyenati Tuan to His Honor, Francis Korkpor, Sr., Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, for unethical and unprofessional conduct incompatible with the legal profession. Both Hon. Momo and Cllr. Tuan were cited by the Grievance and Ethics Committee of the Supreme Court of Liberia. Cllr. Tuan, during the investigation, was asked to state the difference between his version of the April 2, 2018 ruling (he presented to the Court and as an exhibit to the response to Hon. Momo’s complaint) and the version of the ruling presented by Hon. Momo which had at the end:
“To which ruling Counsel for Respondent except”
“The Court: Exception noted.”
After carefully looking at the two copies of the ruling, Cllr. Tuan disclosed that Judge Dunbar had told him that the copy with the “EXCEPTION” was the genuine minutes of the Court issued on April 2, 2018. He also disclosed that he obtained his copy from the Clerk of the Court. Members of the panel questioned how was it possible that the Court would come up with a ruling of two versions on the same date, and on the same case by the same Judge? In response, Cllr. Tuan could not explain further but continued to say he obtained his copy from the Court. At this point, Hon. Momo insisted that Cllr. Tuan be made to explain how he obtained the Judge’s signature and produced his own version of the minutes. He said this act was fraudulent, unethical, unprofessional and an act of forgery carried out by Cllr. Tuan for the sole purpose and intent of evicting him from his property.
With the prayer for divorce by Mrs. Mary Youngor Momo still pending before the Court, Attys. Yahaya B. Kromah and Francis W. Tuan (Son of Cllr. Nyenati Tuan), all of the Tuan Wreh Law Firm, filed an action of ejectment against Hon. Momo, on behalf of one Cecelia Youngor Kollie, purported to be the owner of the same marital property in question. In their ejectment action, they claimed that their client owned one lot of land situated in Gbengba Town, Paynesville, Montserrado County which she purchased from Sundaygar Whea and family on the 14th day of July 2006. They averred that the said land was purchased before the marital contract between Mr. and Mrs. Momo. Further, they claimed a damage of US$50,000.00 (fifty thousand United States Dollars) for the use, loss and injury to their client’s property. They therefore attached a purported land deed in the name of Cecelia Youngor Kollie and prayed the Court to grant the ejectment action.
In response therefore, the Defense Counsel of Hon. Momo made the response and, among other things, submitted that the purported transfer deed proffered by the Counsel of Mrs. Momo showed that her complaint was saturated with deception and fraud. The Counsel for Hon. Momo submitted into evidence a letter of Non discovery dated June 1, 2018, marked R-1/DS-CNDRA/018 and signed by Madam Josephine L. Benson, Registrar of Deeds and Titles Documents at the Center For National Documents and Records, National Archives, RL. The purported land deed of ghost Cecelia Youngor Kollie was not probated and registered by Law. Additionally, the land deed had the forged signature of the Monthly and Probate Court Judge.
Interestingly, the Counsel for Hon. Momo disclosed that contrary to Cecelia Youngor Kollie’s claim that she's married to Defendant Momo, the fact shows that the lady Hon. Momo has been married to since April 21, 2007 was given the name Mary Sisusa Kollie at birth, and that she has never legally changed her name to Cecelia Youngor Kollie. Further, Mary, who is impersonating herself as Cecelia, cannot deny that on April 6, 1996 she got married to Joseph B. Davis and as a result of their marriage, she became legally known as Mary Sisusa Kollie Davis. Mary did not acquire any other name during the time she was married to Mr. Davis. After divorcing Mr. Davis on May 30, 2006, Mary again got married to Hon. Momo on April 21, 2007 and she again became legally known as Mary S. Davis Momo.
Atty. Teewia further submitted that Mary emigrated to the United States of America on July 16, 2000 as Mary S. Davis and that she cannot show any record that her name was changed to Cecelia Youngor Kollie. If Mary S. Davis was never legally known as Cecelia Youngor Kollie in the year 2006, how could she have legally purchased land in Liberian jurisdiction in 2006 as Cecelia Youngor Kollie? The Counsel for Hon. Momo gave notice that if Mary youngor Momo insisted on committing fraud in the case regarding her name and status, documents from United States including her American Naturalization Certificate bearing No.30527000, together with testimonies will be produced at trial to confirm that the Immigration process she went through never recognized her as Cecelia Youngor Kollie. In conclusion, the Counsel for Hon. Momo, citing several provisions of the law, declared that “the burden to prove the right to possession or to title to real property rests with the plaintiff and that plaintiffs title is not presumed but must be established. As far as the Law is concerned, the plaintiff did not do any of the aforementioned, and therefore asked the Court to dismiss the case and charge Mrs. Momo for acts of impersonating and deception, which are criminal under Liberian Laws.
Faced with the dilemma of a fraudulent land deed, a fraudulent name and impersonation, the purported Cecelia Youngor Kollie filed an action of “VOLUNTARY DISCONTINUANCE” under a new name Cecelia Youngor Kollie Momo. This adds up to the long list of fraud using multiple names for different reasons by one single individual in the same case. The Court, in spite of several notices on this act of fraud, the perpetrator continues to go unpunished.
Recently, the purported Cecelia Youngor Kollie/Cecelia Youngor Kollie Momo’s cousin, Atty. Ben Kolako of the Legal Department of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), has been attempting to resurrect this case by obtaining an assignment from the same Court where the discountenance was filed. Investigation on this continues.
In Part two, I will be looking at why post-legislative life becomes a domestic nightmare and misery for most of our lawmakers at the hands of their ex-wives. Other case coming up:
I will also be digging deep into the intent and purpose of the multiple names of Mary Youngor Momo and how she claimed two identities in one case. I will release the investigative reports about her life in Bong mines, Bahn Towns (both in Rivercess County and Grand bassa County), B.W. Harris Episcopal High Schhol and The Lott Carey Baptist Mission School in Brewerville, as well the great United States.
Also, I will look deep into the activities of Cllr. Nyenati Tuan of the Tuan Wreh Law Firm. Cllr. Nyenati Tuan is currently the Deputy Minister for Codification at the Ministry of Justice, Republic of Liberia.