19 February 2018

Liberia: Justice Minister-Designate Dean Promised to Avoid 'Losable Cases'

Monrovia — Cllr. Musa Dean has told the Senate committee on Judiciary that is he is confirmed as Minister of Justice, he will advise the government not to involve in harassment and or taking on losable cases.

At his hearing on Monday, February 19, the Justice Minister-designate whose nomination came after the withdrawal of Cllr. Charles Gibson, said as Attorney General of the Liberia he would not go after cases that he cannot win.

Said Cllr. Dean: "We will not engage in harassment, we will not go after cases that have no magnitude and evidence. I do not go to court to lose cases because I do not carry cases that are losable."

He also told the Senate Judiciary committee members that it is important to train more Police officers in order to increase the manpower of the Police and to "train them in of evidence gathering".

He also promised to work to help in the regaining of the public trust and confidence in the Police.

During the Dean's hearing Cllr. Senator Varney Sherman, refused to precise over the process since the Justice minister-designate has served as legal counsel to the Grand Cape Mount County lawmaker allowing his co-chair Senator Joseph Nagbe to take charge.

He was also a member of Cllr. Varney legal team in the Sable mining case that accused Cllr. Sherman of bribing to change the law.

Cllr. Dean also served as lead lawyer for the National Elections Commission (NEC) during the October 2017 election legal impasse.

He also served as the lead lawyer in the Hans Williams and Mardea Paykue versus the Government of Liberia during the landmark Angel Tokpa case.

Sherman also recused himself during the confirmation hearing of former Justice Minister Fredrick Cherue.

Unlike Gibson, who during his confirmation spoke about shutting down some of the anti-graft entities specifically the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission, Cllr. Dean encouraged entities engage in fighting corruption to work together and not compete amongst themselves, something which he believe is not helping the fight against corruption.

Dean cautioned his colleagues in government to be examples of law-abiding citizens.

"We assure you that in the event where politics come in conflict with the law and they cannot be harmonize. We insist that the law will prevail," he said.

"Police officers need to be train in investigation and evidence gathering so that the chain of custody is protected until it is presented to court."

"Cases with magnitude will be prosecuted and we will not engage in harassment if there is no magnitude. I do not go to court to lose cases because I do not carry cases that are losable."

He promised to, if confirmed, advocate the removal of power to arrest from magistrates and disclosed plans to transfer more than 300 convicted criminals to Grand Gedeh County out of the more than one thousand cases in custody of the Police.

"Magistrates are issuing writ of arrest on Friday because they are interested in bond fee our job is not to incarcerate and throw people in jail Government will explore means to transfer 300 convicted criminals to Grand Gedeh but funding is require," he said.

Justice Minister Designate earned LL.M. (Master of Laws) with concentration on International Business Law from the Columbia University, School of Law in 1990 after getting his LL.B. (Bachelor of Laws) from the Louis Arthur Grimes, School of Law, and University of Liberia in 1988.

He also attained Diploma in Telecommunications Management Studies from Bailbrook College, England in 1989.

Cllr. Dean is the founder and managing director of Dean & Associates, Inc. law office in Monrovia.

From 1996-1997, he served as the Deputy Minister of Justice/Deputy Attorney General for Economic Affairs where he served as head of the Economic Division of the Ministry of Justice.

During his tenure, he ensured the prevention and prosecution of economic crimes; furnished legal opinions and rendered services requiring legal skills to the Executive Branch of the Government; assisted the Minister of Justice to procure the proper evidence for the prosecution or defense of suits and proceedings in the courts in which the Republic of Liberia was a party; and performed such specific tasks as delegated by the Minister of Justice.

He served as the CEO of National Oil Company from 2003 to 2006 where he presided over the daily operations of the company; arranged and supervised the company's First Offshore Oil Exploration Licensing Round (Bid Round) in London, (March 29, 2004), and Houston, (April 1, 2004); presided over the successful completion of the Bid Rounds and the award of oil blocks for exploration.

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