3 January 2018

Liberia: Gender Minister Faces Arrest, If...

With 19 days to the end of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's Administration, courts in the country are doing everything legally possible to enforce their judgments against public officials, who in one way or the other went against the law in various forms and manners.

This was demonstrated yesterday when the Commercial Court held in contempt Julia Duncan Cassell, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

The writ, a copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, instructed defendant Cassell to appear on Thursday, January 4, at 11 a.m. to show cause if any, why she should not be held in contempt of court for failure to comply with its final judgment.

It further indicated, "Cassell is to file her answer on or before Thursday, January 4, and that upon her failure to appear before this court in keeping with the writ of contempt, a Writ of Arrest will be issued by this court to arrest her for defying the order of this honorable court."

The court's decision was due to Cassell allegedly refusing to pay US$93,805.72 as judgment against her and the ministry.

Cassell is expected to provide her own defense against the contempt charge.

The court, in early 2017, ruled against Cassell and subsequently ordered her to pay US$80,867 to Smart Tech Incorporated for ITT Infrastructure services provided to her ministry in 2016.

The contract was intended for Smart Tech to provide internet connectivity to the ministry, which work the company completed within the time frame of 60 days as stipulated.

Since then, Cassell has refused to settle her ministry's debt, which has also accumulated the interest of nearly US$13K, bringing the total amount owed to US$93,805.72.

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