Liberia: Solicitor General and Ellen Corkrum in War of Words Over Meeting At Hotel in the Hague - Who's Saying the Truth?

opinion

Monrovia — Madam Ellen Corkrum has claimed she had an intimate relationship with Cllr. Syrenius Cephus during her stay in Liberia as her public war of words with the country's Solicitor General rumbles on.

Cllr. Cephus became Corkrum's lawyer in 2016 when the former managing director of the Liberia Airport Authority was indicted by the government of Liberia for defrauding the country of more than one million United States dollars.

Appearing on the Spoon Talk Show recently, Corkrum said her relationship with Cllr. Cephus was beyond him being her lawyer, adding she and Cephas first met at the Ramada Hotel in Amsterdam, Netherlands where he had gone for training.

Said Corkrum: "I know Cllr. Cephus wants to make this look like it's about the client lawyer relationship, unfortunately people who are in positions of power in our country, there is so many extortion they do even sexual extortion. So, yes we did meet in Amsterdam and in the email I just sent to one of the panelists on the show.

"When I got there he wanted us to collaborate and be in the same room. I can describe Cephus in and out of clothes. So, he should not pretend that it's about lawyer or client relationship. Cephus, you are wicked, step out of the position."

Cllr. Cephus, however, denied having any intimate relationship with Corkrum and even claimed that he has never sat with her in close proximity.

"In 2016 when I got admitted to the International Criminal Court Bar, I went to the Hague for training, and she asked to fly to me and I said no because I didn't know the people where I was and additionally I was just going there as an inexperience lawyer coming from Liberia. She insisted and I refused.

"I have never been in a relationship with her because even if I was greedy in my prime she cannot be my fifth choice. I know Ofori there is no relationship. Like many Liberians, I know him to be a former rebel General and prior to Ellen coming it was Ofori who visited our office."

Pointing fingers

Cllr. Cephus accused Bishop Kortu Brown, president of the Liberia Council of Churches and the Impeached Supreme Court Justice, Kabineh Ja'neh of working on a "propaganda scheme" along with Corkrum to besmear his character.

"I categorically reject this baseless information, it is a product of falsehood. It demonstrates the lack of vision by Madam Crokrum to spew out such information about me. I decided to appear on the Spoon Show to tell Liberians the names of people who are involved in such conversation have motives. Either professionally, religiously, or ethnically motivated.

"Madam Crokrum is not alone in this campaign. The tape is a foundation of all the issues in subsequent time she raised. She is on a mission to get even with me for no justifiable reason. To God in heaven, I have never sat with Madam Crokrum at any level.

"As Chief Prosecutor of Liberia, I don't go after knowing people, I go after the facts and the legal basis to proceed to court. When I became Solicitor General I read all the files we had on cases and all those indicted.

"Article 15b of the Liberian Constitution gives every Liberian rights to form an opinion on an issue and the Solicitor General's opinion cannot be a subject of a conversational review except a judiciary review. Even the court will not review the opinion of a Solicitor General on the basis of entering a nolle prosequi."

Nolle prosequi (abbreviated nol. pros.) is a Latin phrase, which directly translates to "not to wish to prosecute." Nolle prosequi is a legal notice or entry of record that the prosecutor or plaintiff has decided to abandon the prosecution or lawsuit.

Recently, Cephus's credibility was drawn into question when he was caught on tape having a cordial conversation with Corkrum whom the government has declared a fugitive to be prosecuted by him.

The leaked audio suggests that Cllr. Cephas has been having several conversations with Corkrum.

Corkrum, who recently changed her name in the United States to Hunter VanPelt, has been on the run since 2013 after allegedly defrauding the government of Liberia of about US$1 million when she served as the Managing Director of the Liberia Airport Authority. The money was intended for the renovation of the Roberts International Airport (RIA).

Corkrum absconded Liberia for the United States when she was needed by the court to exonerate herself. The Liberian Government under the administration of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf attempted to file in request for extradition for Corkrum didn't work.

Early last year, Madam Corkrum received a rousing welcome into Liberia by a group of citizens holding placards and banners at the Roberts International Airport. The group are believed to have been organized, paid and stage managed.

Her entry into the country was reportedly based on the fact that the George Weah-led government had dropped charges against her a few months before her arrival.

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