Africa: Frontpage Africa Editor Sieh, Justice Nagbe Resolve 'Traffic Violation' Saga

Counselor Tiawan Gongloe, the lawyer representing the interest of FrontPage Africa Managing Editor Rodney Sieh, says the controversy that arose between Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe and his (Gongloe) client has been amicably resolved. The Management of OK FM that broadcast the incident also expressed a similar message about the conference with Justice Nagbe.

Cllr. Gongloe, who is also President of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), made the disclosure to journalists shortly after he emerged from a conference with all the parties organized by Justice Nagbe in his chamber at the Temple of Justice.

"The conference was not intended for Justice Nagbe to intimidate the media. It was for Justice Nagbe to explain about the amendment that was made in 2018 to increase the number of elected and appointed officials traffic regulation especially when conducting official duties," Gongloe said.

"The discussion was friendly and they understood each other's position," Gongloe noted. "But giving too much right to elected and appointed officials to use the third lane is going to create too much traffic-related offenses."

Cllr. Gongloe told journalists that though they apologized about the article, he was going to make a thorough research for the law that Justice Nagbe said covered the Supreme Court justices as well.

Mr. Sieh had published an article online in which he accused Justice Nagbe of being in violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Laws of Liberia, which says state that only the President, vice president, and emergency vehicles have the right to use sirens in traffic and change lanes. "Under the same law, police vehicles are allowed but only in emergency situations."

In his claim, Sieh said on Monday, May 19, 2020, while on his way to interview someone for a story near the Vai Town area when he noticed a black Jeep with a license plate JUD 4, bulldozing its way towards him in heavy speed. "I wasn't sure whose vehicle it was at first- it was later I confirmed with a court staffer that it belonged to Associate Justice Nagbe,," the article notes.

Sieh further quoted Section 38: 10.21 of the general rule of the Liberia Vehicle and Traffic Law, which he said states that vehicles shall be driven on the right half of every road of sufficient width except as follows: "When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement; when overtaking or passing pedestrians or obstructions on the right half of the highway; when the right half of a road is closed to traffic while under the construction or repair; upon a roadway designated and signposted for one-way traffic."

Section 10.4 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of Liberia in the Liberian Code of Laws is clear that: "Any person who operates a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. A person who violates the provisions of this section shall be subject to a fine of not more than US$500.00 or imprisonment for not more than six months or both."

When contacted yesterday evening, FPA Managing Editor Sieh alluded that the matter was amicably resolved, though the Associate Justice tried to create an environment of intimidation that Cllr. Gongloe kicked against. "The Associate Justice tried to demand an apology and intimidate, but Cllr. Gongloe said he should not do that to the media. But we resolved the matter and Gongloe said he was going to research the amended law that covers the Associate Justices and other officials to drive on the opposite lane under whatever condition because the Associate Justice said he was rushing to the hospital," said Mr. Sieh

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