Ex- Airport Authority Head, Ellen Corkrum Loses Case Against Liberia at ECOWAS Court
ABUJA – The ECOWAS Court of justice on today ruled dismissing Ms. Ellen Cockrum’s suit filed against the Government of Liberia on September 22, 2016. The ECOWAS court ruled that the acts complained of by Ms Corkrum against the Government of Liberia did not amount to the violation of her human rights. The Court ruled that if Ms. Cocrkum wanted to ensure that her case was tried, she should return to Liberia and submit herself to the court’s jurisdiction because the Government of Liberia cannot not try her in absentia.
Ms Cockrum had requested the court to declare that her human rights had been violated by the issuance of an indictment against her, which is claims, was baseless and unfounded, and that the Government had failed to have her tried. She also requested the court to enjoin the Government of Liberia from arresting her and that she be allowed to freely travel in and out of Liberia.
But the Government of Liberia represented by the current Solicitor General and the former Solicitor General Cllrs. J. Daku Mulbah and Betty Lamin-Blamo respectively, argued that case should be dismissed because it fail to state or demonstrate an act or conduct on the part of the Government that is indicative of a characteristic violation of a fundamental human right of the plaintiff. The Government argued that the failure of the Government of Liberia to proceed with the case and grant speedy trial to Ms. Corkrum was because she had not presented herself to be tried.
Ms. Ellen Corkrum was the former Managing Director of the Liberia Airport Authority. Ms. Corkrum, whilst serving as Managing Director (MD) of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), on her own and in conspiracy with others. The Government alleges that she illegally procured the transfer of US$US$269,000.00 of public funds to a fictitious company, Diaspora Consulting, LLC (Diaspora), and to its CEO, Mr. Momar Dieng, her friend from the Kennedy School, Harvard University, for work that he and his company did not perform. Ms. Corkrum also authorized the illegal transfer of US$56,750 of LAA funds to her romantic partner Melvin Johnson, and his firm Melvin Johnson and Associates (a law firm in the State of Georgia, United States of America) allegedly for services rendered in connection with the security system at Roberts International Airport (RIA), which services were neither perform by Johnson or his firm.
The transfer was carried out by First International Bank (“FIB”) through its then-Head of Operations Mr. Jeremi Tegli) and another officer (Mr. Justin Ogugua), at Ms. Corkrum’s behest, despite the fact that the application for transfer did not contain the requisite authorizing signatures.
The Government of Liberia represented by the current Solicitor General and the former Solicitor General Cllrs. J. Daku Mulbah and Betty Lamin-Blamo respectively, argued that case should be dismissed because it fail to state or demonstrate an act or conduct on the part of the Government that is indicative of a characteristic violation of a fundamental human right of the plaintiff. The Government argued that the failure of the Government of Liberia to proceed with the case and grant speedy trial to Ms. Corkrum was because she had not presented herself to be tried.
Ms. Corkrum obtained authority from the LAA Board to purchase certain computer equipment for the Board. She obtained access to US$19,480 in LAA funds. However, she delivered to the LAA no more than $8,500 worth of equipment. The balance – at least US$10,980 – remains unaccounted for.
On July 30, 2013, a Special Grand Jury sitting in Montserrado County, Liberia, brought down an indictment against Ms. Corkrum and other co-conspirators, for the crimes of economic sabotage, theft of property, criminal conspiracy, and misapplication of entrusted property. A writ of arrest was issued and served on all of the other Defendants thereby bringing them under the jurisdiction of the court, except for Ms. Corkrum, Mr. Momor Dieng, and Mr. Melvin Johnson who were all outside of the bailiwick of Liberia at the time the writ was issued up to and including today.
In September 2013, the Liberian Ministry of Justice transmitted through its Foreign Ministry and the Liberian Embassy in Washington, D.C., a request for the extradition from the United States of Ms. Corkrum, Mr. Momar Dieng, and Mr. Melvin Johnson. Ms. Ellen Kwame Corkrum, is believed to reside at Hanscomb Air Force Base in Massachusetts, Melvin Johnson, Esq., believed to be a resident of Stone Mountain, Georgia, and Mr. Momar Dieng, believed to reside in or near Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The Request recited that the three, among other defendants, had been indicted by a Special Grand Jury sitting in Montserrado County, Liberia, on July 30, 2013, for the crimes of economic sabotage, theft of property, criminal conspiracy, and misapplication of entrusted property. 1.6.
Notwithstanding the fact that Ms. Corkrum has not been placed under the jurisdiction of the courts of Liberia, on May 26, 2014, Ms. Corkrum filed a Motion to Dismiss the indictment against her in the 1st Judicial Circuit Court, Criminal Assizes “C” for the failure of the Government of Liberia to proceed with the case against her in Liberia, knowing very well that the Government cannot proceed with the case against her in abstentia under Liberian law, and particularly so, when she has never been brought under the jurisdiction of the court by the appropriate service of the writ.
GOL Moved to Strike Motion
The Government of Liberia moved to have the Motion Stricken because firstly it was improperly verified and secondly, and most importantly, because the Plaintiff was not under the jurisdiction of the court. On June 2, 2014, the First Judicial Circuit Court, Criminal Assizes “C” ruled, striking and dismissing the Motion to dismiss, chided and rebuked the Counsel for Plaintiff for the procurement of a fraudulent affidavit which he attached to the Motion.
Since the indictment of Ms. Corkrum and her romantic partner Mr. Melvin Johnson, they have both engaged in a campaign against the Government. Corkrum and Johnson instead of presenting themselves before court in Liberia to defend the charges brought against them, elected to try their cases in the court of public opinion, and by propaganda, by calling into Radio talk shows into Liberia from the United States.