Liberia: “Corruption in the Judiciary, But on a Low Scale” – Associate Justice Wolokollie
Monrovia – Associate Justice of Liberia’s Supreme Court, Jamesette Wolokollie has admitted that there is corruption in the Judiciary, but she was quick to describe the level of corruption as being at a low scale.
The Associate Justice made the assertion when she deputized for Chief Justice Francis Korkpor at program marking the opening of the August 2020 Term of Court held Monday at the Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill, Monrovia.
Justice Wolokollie disclosed that Chief Justice Korkpor could not attend the opening program because he had gone to Bomi County to induct into office newly appointed Judge Ciapha Carey, who replaces late Judge William Sando.
Commenting about allegations of corruption within the country’s judiciary system, she said: “We in the Judiciary are not perfect; we are aware of issue of corruption – it is petit and at a low scale”.
The Associate Justice then frowned on the media for the series of negative reports against the Judiciary, adding that some media practitioners often opt to report stories of corruption in the Judiciary without presenting any facts. She called on the media to go after the facts when reporting.
She made specific reference to a story about the ongoing probe of Commercial Court Judge Eva Mappy Morgan by the Judiciary Inquiry Commission headed by Associate Justice Yussif Kaba
Judge Morgan, according to some media reports, is been probed for allegedly ordering the withdrawal of US$3 million from the account of a Liberian businessman, Amos Brosius, who is the Manager of the Ducor Petroleum Company.
“At one point, we heard that the judge took $1 million and at another point we heard $3 million — we don’t know which one is real. We loved for people to come out with evidence when an allegation is made,” she said.
Associate Justice Wolokolie added that she does not have problem with journalists coming to her to seek information or clarification, while calling on other judges to follow suit because there is no law that forbids Judges from responding to inquiry from journalists.
In the course of the August Term, which runs for a period of 42 days according to the law, Justice Wolokollie urged Judges and party litigants to observe all health protocols during the hearing of cases as the country struggles with the threat of COVID-19.
As of August 9, Liberia had recorded 1,240 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 436 active cases, 79 deaths and 725 recoveries.
August 2020 Term of Court was marked with a very short program as everyone in attendance were seen wearing a nose mask and sitting far apart – observing social distancing.
Rape Court Judge Serena Garlawolo, who delivered the charge/speech, called on her fellow judges to adhere to all health protocols as they resume duties.