MONROVIA — Criminal Court “A” Judge Roosevelt Willie has suspended Liberia’s Solicitor General Nyenti Tuan from further prosecuting former Chief Justice Gloria Musu-Scott and her family, who are on trial for murder and other offenses.
Judge Willie made this decision on Monday, September 18, 2023, following a formal complaint filed by the Judiciary’s Court Administration against Cllr. Tuan. The complaint alleged that Tuan had secretly entered the premises of the Temple of Justice during the night hours at 8:00 PM. He had moved to the Jurors’ quarter and interacted with officers of the Liberia National Police, who were assigned to protect the Jurors from interference and manipulation.
In addition to the suspension, Judge Willie fined Cllr. Tuan an amount of US$250.00, to be paid into the Judiciary Account within 72 hours or three days, effective as of the date of the ruling.
Judge Willie’s decision followed a chambers conference on allegations that the Solicitor General, Cllr. Nyenti Tuan, entered the Temple of Justice premises at 8:00 PM with several police officers while Trial Jurors were being sequestrated.
He stated, “On September 15, 2023, a communication with the subject ‘NIGHT ENTRY OF THE TEMPLE OF JUSTICE PREMISES’ was sent to the Court Administrator, with a copy forwarded to this Court, requesting an investigation and appropriate legal action. The investigation was conducted.”
He continued, “In the said report, the Judiciary Security Officers stated that the Solicitor General, Cllr. Nyanti Tuan, entered the Temple of Justice premises at 8:00 PM and spoke with the Police officer assigned at the Jury Quarter. However, he did not interact or interfere with any of the Jurors.”
Although the case had been assigned for the same Monday, September 18, 2023, it was suspended, and both the Prosecution and Defense Teams were summoned to the Judge’s Chamber. After reviewing the Investigation Reports from both the Jury Management and the Judiciary Security Services, the alleged offender, Cllr. Nyanti Tuan, Solicitor General of the Republic of Liberia, was ordered to comment on the report.
In response to the report, Cllr. Nyanti Tuan told the Court that he did indeed visit the premises of the Temple of Justice on the specified date but at around 5:30-6:00 PM, not 8:00 PM. He explained that he met with the Judiciary Security Services at the gate, and they escorted him to interact with his officers assigned at the Jury Quarter. He clarified that he did not interact with or interfere with any of the Jurors.
He further stated that his visit aimed to advise his officers to be vigilant and careful in their duty at the Jury Quarter. He cited a past case, the US$100 million drug case heard in Criminal Court ‘C,’ where the government lost due to last-minute information concerning the trial jurors who were sequestrated, resulting in a NOT GUILTY VERDICT in favor of the Defendants.
Upon considering Cllr. Nyanti Tuan’s admission to visiting the Temple of Justice premises at an unusual hour without prior notice to the Court, along with police officers, the Court ruled that he be suspended from further participation in the trial as one of the government lawyers. Additionally, he was fined an amount of US$250.00 to be paid into the Judiciary Account within 72 hours or three days, effective from the date of the ruling.
The Court also ruled that the officers, Amos Korkollie, Titus Massah, Webster J. Paye, and Lassana Liazolu, who were assigned at the Jury Quarter and interacted with the Solicitor General, be expelled from further participation in the security team assigned to the Jury Quarter. Judge Willie instructed the clerk of court to write to the Inspector General of Liberia National Police to forward the names of the four police officers to the Court.
Meanwhile, the Judge reassigned the case to continue with the trial.
Both parties expressed their exceptions to the Judge’s ruling and indicated their intent to take advantage of applicable legal remedies.