Liberia: Court Clears Travel Ban against Musa Bility, LBDI President

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Monrovia – The Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice on Wednesday, February 19 canceled the government’s travel ban placed on President of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, John Davies and businessman Musa Bility.

Stipendiary Magistrate Jomah Jallah stated that it cannot place travel ban on the two individuals because there is no case before the Magisterial Court.

Magistrate Jallah added there also no document before the court to show that the two Defendants are undergoing investigation at the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission for alleged corruption as alleged by state prosecutors.

LBDI President John Davies and Musa Bility, former Chairman of the Board of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), Ellen Corkrum, former head of thee LAA, Momar Dieng, Jeremi Tegli, Justin Oguagua and Gloria Menjor were recently placed on travel restriction after the Monrovia City Court issued a Writ of Ne-Exeat Republica based on the instruction of the Ministry of Justice on February 6, 2020.

The Writ of Ne-Exeat issued by the Monrovia City Court stated that the Defendants were about to leave the country for foreign much to the surprise of the Justice Ministry and that since the Magistrate of the Monrovia City Court having been duly informed upon the application filed by the Ministry of Justice ordered that the Writ of Ne-Exeat Republica restricting the Defendants from leaving the country be issued.

Arguing for the government travel ban, state prosecutors alleged that the writ was issued to ban the Defendants from traveling out of the country based on request made to the Justice Ministry by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) that the Defendants were going through investigation.

State prosecutors argument was resisted by lawyers representing both Davies and Bility, who claimed that the writ issued by the lower court was illegal and a gross violation of the fundamental rights of the Defendants to free movement.

Cllr, Jonathan Massaquoi and Kunkunyon Wleh of the International Law Group (ILG) representing the legal interest of businessman Musa Bility told the court that the lower magistrate court lacks jurisdiction over a pending investigation of the LACC that authority over investigation.

According to Cllr. Massaquoi, the court only has a jurisdiction on a suspect only when he is investigated, charged and brought under the jurisdiction of the court.

He added that in the instant case, the court does not have any jurisdiction over the Defendants that have not been investigated and charged.

“Solicitor General Cephas, Montserrado County Attorney Martin both represented Ellen Corkrum and John Davies, their actions to place travel ban on our client is a gross violation of the law,” argued Massaquoi.

The legal counsels for John Davies from the Sherman & Sherman Law Firm also argued that imposing travel ban on his client was also the violation of his Constitutional rights because the LACC has not shown any proof that Davies is undergoing investigation at the Commission.

Following arguments by both adversarial counsels, the court then ruled, cancelling the travel ban.

“In view of the foregoing the said writ of Ne-Exeat Republica against Musa Bility and John Davies are quashed and dismissed, their rights restore and the clerk of this court is to write a letter to all border points that the two persons are  allow to travel freely in the country,” said Magistrate Jallah.

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