Liberia: 94-Yr-Old Woman Begs Senators to Help Her Regain Property from Justice Ja’neh
MONROVIA – With tears rolling her cheeks, the 94-year-old Annie Constant begged the Senators to help her regain her property. Annie who is unable to move by herself was brought to the Chambers of the Liberian Senate to testify in the ongoing impeachment trial of Justice Kabineh Ja’neh of the Supreme Court, as one of the prosecution witnesses.
Report by Henry Karmo, [email protected]
To the aged widow, that was a day of redemption. At least in her world, she saw people trying to help her against one of the most powerful officials of the Liberia Government, a Justice of the supreme court of Liberia, but that was to the contrary as prosecutors had their own reasons.
For the prosecutors, bringing Annie to the Chambers of the Senate was just to prove a point. A point that would justify the impeachment of Justice Kabineh Ja’neh as her case is one of the many counts the Justice is being impeached for by members of the House of Representatives.
Ja’neh is facing trial for ‘illegally’ acquiring a property from the 40 years old son of Madam Annie Constant. He is also accused of criminally acquiring the minutes of the House of Representatives, and conniving with others to deny the Government money intended to fund road projects in Liberia but the Justice has denied all those allegations.
Whether the Justice is impeached or not by Senators who now sit as jurors of facts, this case will go down in the history of Liberia as a landmark case not because it is the first in many years of Liberian existence but as a case between poor Annie Constant and a powerful Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia – something many see as unprecedented in the Judiciary sector of Liberia.
In her testimony, the old lady confirmed that late Constant junior was her biological son and that he sold the parcel of land belonging to her and her late husband without her consent. The sale took place while she was out of the country as a refugee.
According to her, upon her return, she tried all she could to seek audience with Justice Ja’neh to find an amicable solution to the situation even if it meant paying back his US$3,000 he paid for the property.
All along, lawyers representing the legal interest of Justice Ja’neh have maintained that their client is innocent of the charges and that the counts he’s been tried for are not impeachable offenses and prayed the Chief Justice to dismissed the case. But on many occasions, he (Chief Justice) has rejected the plead because, according to him, he is only a presiding officer in keeping with the Constitution and the decision will be made by the Senators who are the jurors of facts in the case.
Chief Justice Francis Kporkor has also granted a request made by prosecuting lawyers for the Defendant Ja’neh to take the witness stand to face cross-examination from lawyers and he is expected to take the stand Monday.
Also taking the witness stand, Montserrado County District #8 Rep. who is a key engineer of Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment, Moses Acarous Gray, testified that Annie carried a complaint to him, accusing Associate Justice Ja’neh of illegally taking her land.
According to Rep. Gray, he took the issue to plenary and a committee was set up to investigate the matter.
He testified that amendments and recommendations were made that brought about the impeachment against Justice Ja’neh. Rep. Gray narrated that Annie’s husband is a former General of the Liberian Army and also a former legislator.
Rep. Gray said Annie’s husband went missing for some years and in 1996 Associate Justice Ja’neh allegedly took their property illegally at the time when Liberians were running helter-skelter from war.
The Montserrado County District 8 Representative further accused Justice Ja’neh of using his office to stop the Government from having access to the road funds that was saved at the rate of 50 cent from every petroleum brought into the country.