Liberia: Lebanese Businessman Linked to Missing Container Risks Arrest for Defying Court
Kennedy L.Yangian, [email protected]
Monrovia – The Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice on Friday, June 19, levelled a contempt charge against Lebanese businessman and manager of the Montserrado Group of Industries, Houssel Kaffel.
Kaffel was charged with contempt, a violation that will lead to his arrest by the court due to his alleged refusal to honor a 24-hour ultimatum given him and the Deputy Justice Minister for Codification, Cllr. Nyenati Tuan.
They were asked by the court to retrieve a missing container marked AXU11476111 with its full content return it to the Freeport of Monrovia.
Failure on the parts of the Ministry of Justice and Lebanese businessman Kaffel to do so, could lead to rendering contempt of court orders against them, Judge Kennedy Peabody warned prior to the issuance of the 24 hours ultimatum.
Judge Peabody’s directive to the Deputy Justice Minister came from the backdrop of his letter dated June 10, 2020 addressed to the Managing Director of the National Port Authority, Bill Twehway, ordering the release of the container to the Montserrado Group of Industries.
Deputy Minister Tuan, upon the court’s directive, appeared before it on June 19 in the Chamber of Judge Peabody. However, Lebanese businessman Kaffel failed to appear without any excuse, a court source said.
The container in question was loaded on February 28, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey with rubber products and was destine for Conakry, Guinea. It was shipped by Raze Akhavein – an Iranian Turkish national and general manager of Aria Gida Katku MADD Sanvet TIC, LTD based in Turkey.
According to Aboubacar Balde, who was acting on behalf of the Guinea based company, Agid Sarju Complexe Aro Industrial Dubreka, complained that the container was tracked in Madrid, Spain where he discovered that Raze unlawfully changed the original owner and destination to the Montserrado Group of Industries in Monrovia.
Relative to Balde’s claim, as part of a diplomatic intervention, the Guinean Embassy near Monrovia on May 12, 2020 sent a transcript note from its Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Liberia stating that the container in question should have been shipped at the Port of Conakry instead it was shipped to the Freeport.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to the Guinean Embassy’s communication, prompting Balde to file a complaint through the Gongloe and Associates Law Firm to the Civil Law Court.
The complaint accuses the Justice Ministry of refusing to exercise its responsibility by ensuring that thorough Judicial scrutiny is done among the parties in the container case.