Liberia: 'Judge Morgan Found Guilty' for Financial Malpractices

8 April 2021
The NEWS (Monrovia)

The Judge of the Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia Eva Mappy-Morgan has been found guilty of financial malpractices by the Judiciary Inquiry Commission (JIC) following a complaint filed to the Commission by Ducor Petroleum.

JIC recommended to the Supreme Court of Liberia on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 to suspend Judge Mappy-Morgan for the period of one year without pay and benefits.

According to JIC report, the Chief Judge of the Commercial Court conduct violates the fundamental rights, constitution, statues and judicial canons of the Republic of Liberia.

The JIC report also established that Ducor has suffered unimaginable pains, agony and mental distress occasioned by wanton and reckless disposition of the Judge in the matter of the petition for accounting filed by Monrovia Oil Trading Company (MOTC) against the Ducor Petroleum.

According to the report, the Commercial Court Judge conduct violates Article 20(a) right of complainant when she presided over the petition for accounting singularly without jurisdiction over the matter.

The Court, in June 2013, ordered the parties not to do any business in the name of Ducor until it had established the legitimate owner of the company (Ducor Petroleum).

But the lawyers, in a "Bill of Information" among other things, alleged that with the matter of ownership still pending, and up to the filing of their request, Charles Carron and Krisman Leeman have been in complete control of Ducor Petroleum, accusing Judge Mappy-Morgan, a member of the court's three-judge panel, of 'being behind the action.'

Carron and Leeman are also joint owners of the Monrovia Oil Trading Company (MOTC).

Knowing that the law establishing the Commercial Court prevents a single judge from deciding a case over a million United States dollars, Judge Morgan alone went ahead and decided the matter, which ruling was overturned by her colleagues, according to the Bill of Information.

Then, in July 2013, Judge Morgan gave authority to MOTC to take over Ducor account at the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) in the amount of US$393,490.54 and the company's total trade receivables as of July 2013, in the respective amounts of US$1,998,322.35 and US$3,489,078.65, the Bill of Information said.

Reversing her ruling, the unidentified two other judges said, "Now that the full panel had ruled that a single judge of the panel was without jurisdiction to take such action, it will be undermining the ruling of the court for said action to be in full force and effect," according to the report.

They added that "the preliminary injunction as ordered by the Chief Judge is void... and of no legal effect consistent with law. Where a Judge acts without jurisdiction, his judgment is a nullity and cannot be enforced."

The decision to reverse the ruling came after Brosius' lawyer filed a petition to review the ruling of Judge Morgan.

In their request, Brosius' lawyers contended that the October 2014 judgment of the court to restore their client to take over the management of Ducor has not happened.

"In disregard to the authority of the full panels' decision on the petition for Judicial Review, MOTC continues to be in possession of the properties of Ducor Petroleum Inc., still acting under the void judgment of the Chief Judge contrary to law," the lawyers noted.

They further added that it is highly contemptuous for MOTC to continue to control the management and financial resources of Ducor based on a decision of the Chief Judge, when in fact the panel judges had ruled that the matter was without jurisdiction of the Chief Judge, but within the jurisdiction of the three-judge panel.

The lawyers also requested that MOTC should refrain from using the name of Ducor Petroleum Inc., a business entity which it has no management control or authority to act on its behalf, including the use of Ducor's stationery, logo, and contact to transact business.

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