Liberia: Chea Cheapoo Sr., Former Supreme Court Chief Justice, Attorney General Dies at 88

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Monrovia – Cllr. Chea Cheapoo Sr., a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia and the first Attorney General/Minister of Justice of the PRC government has died. He was 88.

Family sources confirmed to FrontPageAfrica late Wednesday evening that Justice Cheapoo died at the residence of his Son, Sacki Cheapoo in Caldwell New Georgia of natural causes.

In the 1970s, Justice Cheapoo served as a Senator from Grand Gedeh County. He later served as the head counsellor of the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL). Justice Cheapoo was the Lawyer of PAL and later registered the Progressive People’s Party, the first opposition party to the TWP since 1955. 1980 he was appointed Attorney General/Minister of Justice by the People Redemption Council. 1987 he became the 15th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia. During the civil war, he served as chairman of the Liberia National Conference, the civic group that helped to negotiate the peace accords amongst the warring factions. After retiring from public life he continued his private law practice and did pro bono work through his nonprofit Friend of Liberia Inc.

His son, Chea Cheappo Jr., said Thursday, the nation had lost an iconic figure who was a very vocal and no-nonsense lawyer. Cheapoo Jr. said his father always taught him the values of hard work and honesty overall. “He was my best friend.” I would wake up in the morning to discuss politics, legal matters, and pick his brain on things that were happening in the public light. He always said that being in government was like playing musical chairs, you could be removed at any time.” As you know, my dad was a very outspoken man. He always wanted me to stay informed about the state of our family, community, and country. He was not a selfless man and was known for speaking out against vices. He lived a simple, modest lifestyle. He taught us to be content in what we have and value God, family, and integrity.

Cheapoo Jr. recalled his late dad’s impeachment saga and how he stood his ground even though he had an opportunity to go against President Doe, with whom he had a falling out. “I remember when he was being impeached, a western diplomat tried to convince him to withdraw his resignation; but my father said no. ‘The president and I had a public disagreement and the best thing to do is to step aside. But I cannot go against him,” Cheapoo Jr. recalled his father, telling him he would rather step aside and go into his private life. This is another example of him thinking about his country first rather than his own career or livelihood.

Justice Cheapoo was the owner of The Standard Printing Company, publishers of The Standard Newspaper. “People forget that we had the largest-owned printing press in Liberia before the war. We printed the Daily Observer, The Footprint, and other newspapers.”

Cheapoo Jr. says his father had no regrets about his life. “He taught me a lot of things and I always promised my dad that I will make sure that what he stood for, I will stand for and ensure his legacy is intact.”

He graduated from BWI high school and obtained his law degree from North Carolina Central University in the United States.

Justice Cheapoo was predeceased by his Mother, Sarah Cheapoo-Sampson, and his father, Joseph S. Cheapoo Sampson. He is survived by Marva A. Cheapoo: his sons, Senci Cheapoo, Sacki Cheapoo, Chea Cheapoo Jr: his daughters, Shalon L. Johnson, Duah Cheapoo, Elizabeth Johnson, Dongwen Hanson.

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