The US$3 million Ducor Petroleum Case has experienced another hurdle as the legal team for Amos Brosius insists that they cannot proceed with the case in the absence of a status report on the escrow account of the Monrovia Oil Trading Company (MOTC).
Brosius’ legal team’s action forced judges over the case to adjourn hearing his ‘Petition for Accounting’ suit against MOTC, where he served as general manager.
The case has been presided over by a three-Judge panel that includes a Supreme Court-appointed AdHoc Judge, His Honor Roosevelt Z. Willie of the Commercial Court in Monrovia.
The court took the decision shortly after Brosius’ legal team, the Gongloe and Associates law firm, owned by Counselor Tiawan Gongloe, insisted that they could not proceed with the case in the absence of information about the status of the company’s escrow account that was frozen by the court through the Chief Judge Eva Mappy Morgan, based on an agreement reached by the parties, MOTC and Brosius.
Judge Willie is appointed by Chief Justice Francis Korkpor as AdHoc Judge to replace Judge Morgan, who had recused herself from hearing the Petition for Accounting case.
The account was by then housed at the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), and Brosius had claimed that, without his consent, Judge Morgan acted on a communication dated July 22, 2013, from the MOTC's lawyer, Counselor T. Negbalee Warner.
Based upon Warner's letter, the Gongloe law firm claimed that Judge Morgan unilaterally withdrew the July 15, 2013 agreement of the parties and subsequently unfroze the company’s escrow account and had the amount of US$3.3 million depleted from there by the MOTC.
The accusation, according to the Judiciary Inquiry Commission (JIC), the arm of the Supreme Court that is clothed with the responsibility to probe allegations of unethical conduct of judges, was not addressed in its investigative findings submitted to the justices of the high court.
Instead, the JIC claimed that Judge Morgan was in error of her responsibility as a judge while handling the matter, thereby recommending a one-year suspension without pay and benefits.
However, Judge Morgan rejected the JIC's findings and subsequently announced an appeal before the Supreme Court.
Her appeal has already been argued and is waiting for a judgment (opinion) to be delivered by justices of the court.
However, Brosius’ counsel, Momolu G. Kandakai, said to proceed to hear the case will be tantamount to judgment before trial, if the money issue was not adequately addressed or placed back into the escrow account at the LBDI. This would be the only means for them to attend to the accounting lawsuit.
Additionally, Kandakai, in defense of the law firm’s action to withdraw from the case, said “the money, which is the subject of the dispute between the parties, has vanished under the court's watch."
Counselor Kandakai further argued that if the money that was deposited in the escrow account and ordered to be frozen by Judge Morgan is not redeposited, or put back as agreed by the parties to be frozen, there will be no further proceedings into the matter.