Liberia: CLLR. Arthur Johnson Fired for Conflict of Interest

Liberia's Permanent Representative to IMO, Atty, Isaac W. Jackson, Jr. has with immediate effect relieved Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson of his post as his legal counsel representing him at the ongoing Prohibition Case before the Supreme Court of Liberia.

Atty. Isaac Jackson says he has dismissed Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson because Cllr. Johnson now represents conflicting interests. In his letter dated January 20, 2020, addressed to Cllr. Jonson, Jackson said: "Consistent with Rules 8 and 9 of the Code for the Moral and Ethical Conduct of lawyers, you can no longer make effective representation for me in the ongoing Prohibition Case, considering that you now Head Government's Asset Recovery Team, which effectively bars you from arguing against the Government of Liberia".

Jackson's letter further says that as Head of the Government Asset Recovery Team, Cllr. Arthur Johnson will be serving as principal lawyer, prosecuting cases for and on behalf of the Government; so he (Jackson) could no longer retain Arthur Johnson as his lawyer.

Isaac Jackson also blames Cllr. Arthur Johnson for failing, despite several requests to file a bill of information at the Supreme Court to bring to the court's attention to the Government's contemptuous refusal to abide by the Supreme Court's directive; and for abandoning his case. Jackson says following Cllr. Johnson's April 22, 2019 press conference, announcing his withdrawal from the case, he (Jackson) wrote Cllr. Johnson requesting him to reinstate himself based upon the well-established Rules of Court, which do not allow lawyers to withdraw from a case after making representation before the Full-bench of the Supreme Court. But, Cllr. Johnson ignored and disregarded the advice.

It can be recalled that on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 Supreme Court Justices could not proceed into the merit of the case regarding the appointment of Deputy Commissioner and Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, United Kingdom, the position Isaac Jackson currently occupies. This stems from the absence of Cllr. Arthur Johnson, who was up to this week Jackson's lead lawyer, at the January 15 hearing that was expected to establish the basis for the conclusion of the appointment' saga by the Supreme Court, which Cllr. Johnson failed to attend.

Though, Cllr. Johnson wrote Jackson about his legal withdrawal from the case, he (Johnson) failed to inform justices of the Supreme Court. During the hearing on January 15 at the Supreme Court, the justices were heard saying that there was no documentation or notice of withdrawal of Cllr. Johnson as Jackson's lawyer as required by a lawyer.

Meanwhile, Atty. Isaac Jackson has appointed Human Rights lawyer, Cllr. Finley Y. Karngar to serve as his legal counsel to pick up from where Cllr. Johnson stopped.

However, Jackson has expressed thanks Cllr. Arthur Johnson for his initial courage and bravery to represent him throughout, from Chambers Justice level to the Full-bench of the Supreme Court, and asks Cllr. Johnson to turn over the case file to Cllr. Finley Y. Karngar to enable Cllr. Karngar continue with representation in the going prohibition Case at the Supreme Court.

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