Liberia: Police Chief Defies Court's Arrest Order?

-As Sudue denies Bailiffs' claim

Bailiffs from the Criminal Court "C" at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia are accusing Police Inspector General Col. Patrick T. Sudue of allegedly defying a court arrest order issued against him for contempt, allegedly boasting of his presidential appointee status as ground for defying the court.

But during a following up with Col. Sudue Monday evening, 20 January via mobile phone, he denied the bailiffs' allegation against him, challenging them to show a returns signed by him to indicate that they met with him.

The lower court on Monday issued the arrest order against Col. Sudue for contempt charge due to his "failure and refusal to comply with the Supreme Court's mandate" which it says was issued earlier on 31 December 2019.

Lawyers familiar with the main case indicate that the Supreme Court had upheld a ruling made by the Criminal Court "C" in relation to a trial surrounding some vehicles which the government and an importer were said to be battling over.

According to the lawyer, the lower court's decision was in favor of the importer, but the police here could not comply with the Supreme Court's mandate [for the authorities to hand over to the importer the vehicles which had been impounded].

"You are hereby commanded to arrest the living body of Patrick Sudue, Inspector General, Liberia National Police (LNP), Republic of Liberia, defendant, charged with the crime of contempt of court ... ," the writ of arrest from Court "C" says.

It orders that Col. Sudue should be brought before the Court "to show cause, if any, why he should not be held in contempt of court for his failure and refusal to comply with the Supreme Court's mandate issued on the 31st Day of December, 2019... "

In an effort to execute the order by Criminal Court "C" to arrest Col. Sudue on Monday, Bailiffs Felton Davies and J. Janjay Veatoe say they carried the writ of arrest to serve it on Col. Sudue.

Upon entering his office at the LNP Headquarters on Capitol Hill, the bailiffs say they informed Col. Sudue that they had a writ of arrest for him, asking the police chief to kindly walk over to the court with them.Instead, the bailiffs claim that Col. Sudue got emotional, insulted them and ordered them to get out of his office.

"More to that, Director Sudue said he is a presidential appointee and was not coming with us to the court; he even said that we should order his arrest and he was not coming and was going to call the Minister of Justice," the bailiffs say in a handwritten report to the court.

It is said here that no one is above the law, no matter the status, but law enforcement seems challenging when matters involve persons privileged to have power.

"So we gave him a copy of the Writ and left his office, [while] he reigned insults on us saying the court want to [use] him," the bailiffs explain.According to them, Col. Sudue wonders why the court cannot write the United States Embassy near Monrovia [surrounding the matter].

But when Col. Sudue was contacted by this writer via mobile phone Monday evening, he denied seeing anybody, saying the bailiffs should show our staff the returns that he (Sudue) had signed to indicate that they met with him.

"In fact why would somebody even say they're coming arrest me? What kind of complying they're talking about now?" he asks, in response to a question asked that he had been accused of not complying with the Supreme Court's mandate.

Col. Sudue explains that he took over as police chief, but he has not received any cars, saying he met the cars parking and they are still parking.

"I don't have the key. I went to the court and told the judge I do not have the keys for these cars. We learned, I don't know but I learned maybe the ... keys supposed to be to the Embassy. She says okay write the Embassy and get the keys from them," Col. Sudue explains.According to him, he told the judge [Presiding Judge Nancy F. Sammy] that he did not have any power to write the Embassy directly.

He adds that he told the Judge that he could only write the Ministry of Justice, requesting the Minister to write the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to contact the Embassy."She said okay, and I did just that. I went to the court, I met her, we sat down, we discussed it last week and I did just that. So what's more?" Col. Sudue says.

He says he thinks the keys were given to the Embassy by the past administration, noting that he was not the one who gave them.Col. Sudue wonders how he could disrespect the court, when he explained all of that to the judge and did what he had promised to do.

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