Liberia: Margibi District #1 Lawmaker Accused of Illegally Possessing Land Owned By Residents of his Constituency
Duazon, Margibi County – Margibi County Electoral District #1, Representative Tibelrosa S. Tarponweh has been accused of shielding behind the police and the court to illegally take away property belonging to residents of his constituency.
According to Mr. Danny Vah, the Attorney-in-fact of the family claiming the contested land, Rep. Tarponweh is not only illegally possessing the land, but destroyed the existing structure that was under construction by Mr. Henry David and his wife, Mrs. Gladys David, the rightful owners of the property.
When contacted, the office of Rep. Tarponweh said the case was already in court, and as such, he could not speak on the matter outside of the judicial process.
Using The Police As Scapegoat
Mr. Vah said the land in question was purchased by a Liberian couple, Mr. Henry David and Mrs. Gladys David who currently reside in the United Kingdom and have since decided to developed the land.
However, Vah said the couple’s plan is being stalled as Rep. Tarponweh arbitrarily ordered group of men who evaded the property and crushed the foundation that was being built; claiming that he purchased the land to build a police station for the Liberia National Police (LNP).
The lawmaker’s alleged action led Mr. and Mrs. David to file a lawsuit against him at the Magisterial Court in Margibi in 2020 but the case was later transferred to the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Margibi County.
Courts documents in possession of FrontPage Africa showed that Rep. Tarponweh, following the lawsuit, filed a motion to dismiss the case on grounds that he was wrongly sued since he was not the person claiming the land.
The hearing took place on September 23, 2021 before the Presiding Judge, Mardea Chenoweth, with Rep. Tarponweh being represented by the J. Johnny Momoh & Associate Legal Chambers through J. Alvin Blackie; while the Davids, through their Attorney-in-fact, were represented by Cllr. Mamee Gonbah and Atty. Monroe N. Outland and David Kolleh, Jr.
Judge Chenoweth, having listened to arguments from both sides, announced that the court reserves ruling to enable it peruse the entire file since the case was transferred from the Magisterial Court in Robertsfield.
However, the Attorney-In-Fact, Mr. Vah told FrontPage Africa that Rep. Tarponweh is carrying on construction work, while the ruling is still pending. According to him, the lawmaker has vowed that nobody will stand in his way.
Vah said: “We have come to the realization that the lawmaker is using the police to illegally occupy the land and take it. How come he told the court that he was not the one claiming the land in question, yet he ordered people to break down the structure and hired police to guard workers while construction is ongoing?”
When contacted, Police Spokesperson, Moses Carter told FPA that the police could not speak to the matter because it is already in court, and doing so will be pre-judicial.
Vah also expressed frustration over what he called the slow pace at the Court was handling the case. He said it has been more than a year since the complaint was filed against the lawmaker but up to now, the case is still in court, while the lawmaker is occupying and using the property as if he is the rightful owner.
He said his lawyers have engaged the court on several occasions to give ruling, but it always gives excuses and promises that it will do so, at the appropriate time.
However, the Court’s Clerk, Edward Boakai, responding to FPA’s inquiries, said the court is perusing the case file, and will render judgement at the appropriate time. Boakai said the court cannot go about looking for cases; adding it only acts when it is petitioned.
He said Vah has not brought any complained against the lawmaker following their last appearance before Judge Chenoweth, nor has he filed any bill of information, requesting a stay order on any activity on the disputed property.