The Supreme Court Must Answer: Saga of Notorious Armed Robber Kesselly Mulbah Shows Justice Has Lost Its Way in Liberia


IN RECENT MONTHS, a number of questionable decisions have come down from the corridors of the judicial branch of the Liberian government – and the Supreme Court, the highest judicial body of Liberia, projected in the constitution as overseer of an independent and credible Judiciary, delivering transparent justice and protecting the right and dignity of all, has remained mute.

THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL to date is the case of Mr. Kesseley Mulbah – aka Kezo, a notorious armed robber who was mysteriously released from the Monrovia Central Prison, last May.

NEARLY A YEAR after Mulbah’s release from prison, the Anti-Robbery Unit of the Liberia National Police arrested him for his alleged involvement in an armed robbery incident in the Diggsville Community.

THAT INCIDENT led to the death of Mr. Vafoday Kamara, a community watch team leader in the Diggsville community, who was knocked down and killed in cold blood by Kesseley who picked up where he left off, terrorizing communities across Monrovia, after his mysterious release from the Central Prison.

ACCORDING TO POLICE, Mulbah and his accomplices, driving a silver RAV4 jeep, which was reported stolen in March 2020, were trying to flee the scene when they were apprehended.

POLICE REPORT states that on March 2, 2020, Mulbah and his team, attacked the brother of the victim, Facia L. McCauley in the Baptist Seminary Community and made away with the Silver RAV-4 Jeep and has since been using said jeep to commit armed robbery.”

ACCORDING TO POLICE, while the Anti-Robbery Unit was in pursuit of the alleged armed robbers, suspect Mulbah allegedly exchanged fire with the police which resulted to him (Kesseley Mulbah) sustaining bullet wound in the leg.

WHAT IS UNCLEAR today is how in the world did Mulbah get away from the Central Prison?

EVEN MORE troubling for Liberia is the awful and painful truth that the gold-plated emblem, “Let Justice Be Done to All” on the corridors of the judiciary, has lost its meaning, with justice being dispensed to the few who can afford to the detriment of so many, who cannot.

ACCORDING TO COURT records, which was later confirmed by the Assistant Minister for Bureau of correction and Rehabilitation, at the Ministry of Justice, Eddie Tarawale’s, a Writ issued by Criminal Court’ D’ Judge Sikajipo A. Wollo dated March 11, 2019 was submitted to the Justice Ministry ordered the release of Mr. Mulbah. “You are hereby commanded to release the living body of Kesselly Mulbah to be identified of the city of Monrovia charged with the offense of armed robbery and criminal conspiracy who has been charged by due process,” the writ said.

INITIAL REPORTS suggested that the notorious armed robber was released through the mastermind of Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee. Now, the mayor, in a poignant letter to the Chief Justice of Liberia, Francis Korkpor, is seeking answers and the court’s intervention in compelling the former Judge of Criminal Court “D”, Sikajipo A. Wollor to provide clarity to the public through the press as to how the alleged armed robber, Mulbah was released from the Monrovia Central Prison.

THE MAYOR’S REQUEST to the Chief Justice stems from various allegations made against him in the media that he influenced the notorious armed robber’s release from prison.

THE MAYOR WROTE: “Honorable Chief Justice, I am being constantly accused by some members of the media of being involved in the release of Mr. Kesselle Mulba. The fact is that I had no knowledge of how this gentleman was released and did not participate in his release,” Mayor Koijee stated in the letter to Chief Justice Francis Korkpor.

MAYOR KOIJEE STATES that the allegation against him led him to conduct an independent investigation into the release of the armed robber. “Your Honor, I am quite disappointed that the Resident Judge of Criminal Court “D,” Judge Sikajipo A. Wollor being fully aware that he approved the release of the alleged armed robber and that I did play absolutely no part in said process, chose to remain silent on this matter when my character and reputation is being aspersed. I expected the Judge of Criminal Court “D” in particular and the Judiciary in general to have provided the appropriate and necessary clarification to the public through the press as to how this alleged armed robber was released from the Monrovia Central Prison. I strongly believe if the necessary clarifications were provided by the Judiciary, it would have laid this matter to rest,” he stated further stated.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE and the high court cannot allow the judicial branch under its watch to routinely be compromise by the missteps and questionable rulings of judges under its watch.

THE CONTROVERSIAL and questionable release of Mulbah is the latest in a long line of judicial lapses putting a stain on Liberia’s international image. A 2019 US State Department Human Rights Report noted that judicial officials and prosecutors appeared subject to pressure, and the outcomes of some trials appeared to be predetermined.

THE REPORT WAS CLEAR that while the Supreme Court has made provision through the establishment of the Grievance and Ethics Committee for the review of unethical conduct of lawyers and has suspended some lawyers from legal practice for up to five years, the public has brought few cases. “Complaints of corruption and malpractice involving judges’ conduct may be brought to the Judicial Inquiry Commission. Both the Grievance and Ethics Committee and the Judicial Inquiry Commission lacked appropriate guidelines to deliver their mandates effectively and were perceived as nontransparent and subject to influence.”

SADLY, IN SPITE of all of these red flags, the Supreme has sat idly by and allow prosecutors and lawyers to manipulate the judicial branch through creative ways to let bad people off the hook to the detriment of Liberia’s post-war revival.

AS A RESULT, justice is not being served to many who need it. The system, with no signs of remorse, repeatedly appears to be content with what has become the new normal in Liberia, a nation where wrong is right – and right is wrong – and everyone turns a blind eye to those languishing at the bottom of the ladder in a dog-eat-dog society.

THE SAD REALITY is that the brutal civil war did little or nothing to change Liberia. The very vices that led Africa’s oldest republic to war are being celebrated daily and the justice system, the last beacon of hope for the gullible and disadvantaged, has become a major handicap in the dispensation of justice.

EVEN MORE troubling for Liberia is the awful and painful truth that the gold-plated emblem, “Let Justice Be Done to All” on the corridors of the judiciary, has lost its meaning, with justice being dispensed to the few who can afford to the detriment of so many, who cannot.