Liberia: Milad Hage’s Widow Behind Bars for Refusing to Sign Fake Deed
Monrovia – Oumou Hage, 53, the widow of the late Milad R. Hage, whose estate has been the subject of one the longest-running legal wrangles in Liberia’s history, is languishing in custody at the Monrovia Central Prison because she refused to sign a fake deed that was introduced in the case of her late husband’s estate.
Report by Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]
Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay, of the Civil Law Court “A” remanded the widow to the notorious Monrovia Central Prison for defending her husband’s estate.
Nearly eleven years after his death, the estate of the Late Milad R. Hage continues to linger in a state of uncertainty
Oumou’s daughter, Raquel, speaking to FrontPageAfrica Tuesday expressed concerns about her mother’s health.
“They are treating my mother as if she is a criminal when the case is a civil matter”, Raquel lamented. My mom’s health is not good and the court knows it. She is 53-years of age and is diabetic, the court is aware of her medical condition but they are using coercion in order for her to give the properties to her stepdaughter.
Oumou Hage was legally married to Mr. Hage for 30 years and has three children for him including a boy and two girls who are all now adults.
She won the case in 2015 against a Lebanese man, Bassam Jawhary, who was fighting her for the same properties.
In 2016, one of the late Hage’s daughter introduced new deeds claiming 65 percent of the properties while leaving her seven other siblings and the widow with only 35 percent.
In 2014, the Supreme Court of Liberia granted the petition to overturn a ruling to exclude some properties and to audit millions of United States dollars collected from the Hage estate, instructing the Monthly and Probate Court of Montserrado County to retry the matter.
Initially, the lower court denied a motion to “Exclude Movants Properties from the Estate of the Late Milad R. Hage and to Order Audit of Mr. Bassam H. Jawhary Relating to the Estate” filed by Hage’s widow Oumou Sirleaf Hage, a Liberian and children against Jawhary, a Lebanese national.
“They are treating my mother as if she is a criminal when the case is a civil matter”– Raquel, Daugther of Oumou Hage
Last March, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor came under fire from lawyers over a Supreme Court decision to give priority to cases before it in which commercial banks are plaintiffs, including the Hage case.
The Hage estate had accused Ecobank Liberia of forging signatures of its tenants and making withdrawals in their names, resulting into the disappearance of over US$153,220.00 and L$219,000. But the bank has denied the claims.
The week, Oumou Hage’s family plan to launch a series of protests on the grounds of the Temple of Justice in hopes of raising awareness to the unlawful detention of Mr. Hage’s widow.
For Raquel Hage, the family is devastated and confused. “We are shocked and don’t even know what to do. We didn’t expect this case to reach this far especially to the extent the judge — Judge Gbeissayy would send her to jail even though they all know the truth about Hage the case.”
While the family is still holding out hope for justice, Raquel laments that the hope is wearing thin. “There is hope for justice but we have to stand up for our right and speak about to matter to the public so that our fellow Liberians can join hands with us and voice out all of our concerns. United we stand against the corrupt Justice system where they value money over humanity. United we stand to put this matter to an end! They must hear us.”
Asked if she sees any end to the long-running case any time soon, Raquel Hage said: “This case is already at the end because we were never brave enough to gather people to come and march in the name of peace before. We were depending on lawyers to finish the case but now, we are doing what human beings should do and that is to “stand up for our right”. We will not rest, be it rain or shine we will march until they do something.”
The daughter of the late Milad Hage decried the absence of justice, especially for her mother who is languishing in jail a the Monrovia Central Prison. “The Justice system is like a secret society. Majority of them have a connection with each other, only a few of them have good hearts. The rest are heartless; they don’t even care about their citizens. They send a lot of innocent people to prison because they have the power to, not because those people deserve it. This is not a criminal case so how can u send Oumou Hage to prison? She did nothing but refused to give her properties to her step Daughter.”