Liberia: Court Arrests, Detains Two Lawyers of NPA Over Contempt Charges


MONROVIA – Criminal Court ‘C’ has arrested and detained two lawyers of the National Port Authority (NPA) for refusing to obey the court’s order to appear despite several citations and summons.

Cllr. Dempster Teah and Atty. Lorpu Godfrey were arrested and detained early on Tuesday morning on the grounds of the Temple of Justice while preparing to attend to other legal functions.

The two lawyers were arrested and detained for refusing to instruct their client (NPA) to turn over a 40ft container seized by the management of the port.

They were placed in the court’s temporary withholding cell for more than six hours.

However, following the arrest of the lawyers, the management of the NPA through the Ministry of Justice released the container to the court.

 The container was escorted to the court by Acting Justice Minister Nyenati Tuan.

The two lawyers were later released by the court after the container arrived on the grounds of the court.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the NPA, Bill Twehway, his deputies and Assistant Managers have refused to turn themselves over to the court.

Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay’s decision to arrest the management and legal counsels of the NPA grew out of a complaint filed to the court by the Swedish Trading Company represented  by its agents, John Glaywaseh and Marcus Juah Roberts relative to a 40ft container marked MRKU-320797 containing four used cars, Tires, mattresses and other assorted goods.

In the complaint, the company alleged that the container was wrongfully and illegally seized by the authority of the NPA despite satisfying all the requirements needed under the law to release the container.

But in disregard to the law, the management of the NPA refused to turn the container over to the company.

The writ of arrest reads: “You are hereby commanded to arrest the living bodies of Bill Twehway, his deputies, Assistant Managers, including the legal counsel there in defendants charged with Criminal Contempt of Court and forthwith bring him/them before this Honorable Court to answer to the said charges.”

It continues: “The defendants have refused and failed deliberate you to obey citations, writ of summons and court orders served on them, relative to a container, subject of a Litigation before this court, thereby subjecting the court to public ridicule and impeding its tribunal function; hence this writ of arrest for contempt of court, ordering the said defendants arrested and forthwith bring them before this court to show tangible cause why they cannot be held in Criminal Contempt.”