Liberia: VP Taylor Clawed

The Supreme Court of Liberia had frustrated Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor by affirming the ruling of Justice Yussif Kaba then Presiding Judge of Criminal Court "B" in a legal dispute involving the Vice President of Liberia and executives of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA).

It can be recalled that sometime in 2018, the same being the first year of this government, Madam Howard-Taylor suspended the President and other executives of the LMA over unproven allegation of corruption and other malpractices by the institution.

State security forcibly chased the LMA's officials out of their offices upon instruction of Vice President Taylor, something that led to the affected officials filing an action against Madam Taylor before Criminal Court "B" pleading with that Court to, among other things, reverse the Vice President's decision.

The High Court on Thursday, August 22, 2019 ruled in the matter ordering the immediate reinstatement of Madam Alice Yeebahn, President, Abraham Barchue, National Vice President of LMA, and Larwuo Hiama, National Assistant Secretary General of the Liberia Marketing Association.

The High Court indicated that where the caption of an action is in conflict with the averments in a case, the averments contained in the body of the case takes precedence in determining the real cause of action; hence, the Trial Judge did not err when he (Kaba) determined that the case partakes of a petition for declaratory judgement and not a petition for Judicial Review.

The Court holds that the trial court committed no error when it denied the appellant's motion to dismiss on grounds that the appellees had both legal standing and legal capacity to bring this action against the Vice President.

The Supreme Court maintained in her judgement that the trail court (criminal court "B") did not err, when it ruled that the vice president violated the principle of due process of law and other existing laws by suspending and forcibly removing the defendants (appellees) from their respective offices.

When this case was called for hearing at the level of the High Court, Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh of the Ministry of Justice and David Woah of Woah and Associates appeared for the appellant.

"The clerk of this court is ordered to send a mandate to the court below to proceed in accordance with this Judgement," the High Court instructed.

Prior to the Supreme Court's judgement, there were series of protest stage by marketers at the grounds of the Temple of Justice due to the delay of the high court.

The marketers' protest among other things called for speedy adjudication of the matter, free, fair and impartial trails void of political pressure or influence from any quarters.

At the same time, barely hours after the judgement was handed down by the Supreme Court, there have been rumors of alleged plan by government to indict the LMA President, Madam Alice Yeebahn over allegation of corruption something that Madam Yeebahn had highly welcomed.

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