22 January 2013

Liberia: Supreme Court Justices Get Stern Warning

Two women groups advocating for the right of Madam Oumou Sirleaf, widow of the late Lebanese businessman Milad Hage in the case: Oumou Sirleaf vs Bassam Jawhary, have warned two Justices on the Supreme Court Bench to stay clear of the case. Mr. Jawhary Bassam is Executor of the Milad Hage Estate, which is being contested for by Madam Oumou Sirleaf, the Liberian widow of the deceased.

But the Women Political Movement of Liberia and the ECOWAS Women for Peace warned Justice Kabineh Ja'neh and Justice Jamesetta Howard Wolokolie to stop interfering in the case so that peace can prevail between the Executor of the Estate and children of the late Milad Hage.

They also warned ECOBANK Liberia to stop funding smear campaign against the Executor of the estate Mr. Bassam Jawhary. The women groups accused ECOBANK Liberia Limited of being an obstacle in the case with over 90 law suits being instituted against the Executor by Madam Oumou Sirleaf.

In a statement issued Monday at a news conference signed by Cecelia Siaway Teah, President, Women Political Movement of Liberia, and Oretha Dennis, President, ECOWAS Women for Peace, both ladies lauded Justices Philip A.Z. Banks and Francis S. Korkpor for their role on the matter.

They stressed that Wills prepared by fathers, husbands and mothers are their last wishes, which must not be subjected to tampering by anyone.

Having heard arguments from both sides, and taken into consideration the law citations relied upon by both parties, the high court believes that it has the legal authority to overturn or reverse its earlier decision out of term time, meaning whether or not a decision made in 2010 can be reversed out of term time in 2011.

According to the Supreme Court, the Will in question reverses no real property to anyone, but rather allocates one to children of the late Milad Hage and to his Liberian widow, Oumou Sirleaf, monies generated from the said leasehold.

The Will provides that US$50,000.00 of revenues generated from the estate should go to his widow, and US$50,000 to each of his four children in Liberia, and his other children in Lebanon: Ellie M. Hage and Tony M. Hage are entitled to US$24,000.00 each, while Terrez G. Safi and Lor C. Azar, should get US$12,000.00 both, all to be paid from the net income and portion of the said principal at any time, and from time to time for their education, health, support, comfort, and welfare yearly from the net income accumulated from the estate by the trustee.

However, the Supreme Court clarified that nowhere in the Will of the late Milad Hage it is stated that a piece of the property should be given to anyone. The court believes that what the movants actually intend is to cleverly have the court set aside and cancels the said Will, which it lacks the authority to execute.

The women groups have meanwhile, welcomed the Supreme Court of Liberia' opinion in the case.

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