Liberia: Musa Bility Challenges Government's Travel Ban in Court

Monrovia — Liberian businessman Musa Bility, one of several persons placed on a government latest travel sanction, has asked the court to cancel the ban.

Bility is facing allegation of corruption for mismanagement of funds intended for the rehabilitation of the runway at the Roberts International Airport back in 2013 when he served as chairman of the board of the Liberia Airports Authority, LAA.

On February 6, 2020, the Ministry of Justice filed a writ of travel ban to the Monrovia City Court requesting that the court prohibits seven persons including Mr. Bility from leaving the country.

The other individuals are former Managing Director of LAA Ellen Corkrum, Melvin Johnson, Momar Dieng, Jeremi Tegli, and Justin Oguagua.

Others are John Davies, president of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) and Gloria Menjor also of LBDI.

But Mr. Bility's lawyer, Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi of the International Law Group (ILG), called on the court to dismiss and deny the writ filed by the state at the Monrovia city.

Cllr. Massaquoi argued that the Ministry of Justice "failed and neglected to prove and prosecute the charges" thereby causing Mr. Bility "enormous embarrassment and reputational damage".

"The co-respondent further says this is a ploy designed by the petitioner to idenfinately harass and embarrass him. Thus, Co-respondent says to allow the petitioner to restrain him indefinitely would violate Article 20 (f) of the Constitution of Liberia," Bility's respond to the prosecution ban stated.

He said allegation that Bility is of "flight risk" and could evade investigation by surreptitiously leaving the country is senseless because his public records and present investments in the country clearly outweigh the allegations made by government.

Bility's lawyers further argued that because he resides in Bushrod Island, the Monrovia City Court, located at the Temple of Justice, lacks the jurisdiction over his person especially so where there is allegation that he is transacting or doing any business within the territorial jurisdiction of the Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice.

According to Cllr. Massaquoi the writ, which also orders the arrest of businessman Bility, is defective and legally void.

"Co- Respondent respectfully prays your honor to ignore and deny the petition and quashed the Writ of Ne-Exeat Republica and order the Respondent discharged to enable him enjoy his fundamental rights," said Cllr. Massaquoi said.

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