Liberia: Pastor Jailed for Persistent Non-Support

Moses Juana, a prelate, being escorted by court officer at the Monrovia Central Prison

MONROVIA – On Tuesday, April 30, Monrovia City Court Judge J. Kennedy Peabody sent to prison Moses Juana, a pastor of the Mount Zion Gospel Light AME Church located in the township of Gardnersville, for persistent non-support.

Report by Augustine T. Tweh, [email protected]

Pastor Juana was taken to the Monrovia City Court last year by his wife, Mardia B. Juana for allegedly refusing to support his family.

According to the Writ of Arrest, when Pastor Juana first appeared at the court, he agreed to pay US$75.00 monthly for the support of his family.

But the Writ of Arrest reveals that he has since refused to appear in court to honor his agreement, something that prompted his arrest on Tuesday, April 30, and sent to jail for his failure to pay the amount of US$75 per month to support his wife and three children.

He was also charged with contempt of court for refusing to appear before the judge.

“The within named defendant (Moses Juana) having made and executed before court stipulation for the support of his wedded wife and three (3) minor children, defendant in defiance thereto failed and refused to appear in court to make the payment of USD$300.00 being four months support payment of the subject matter,” states excerpt the Writ of Arrest.

“Wherefore, the said defendant is hereby ordered arrested and brought before this court (Monrovia City Court) to answer or show cause, if any, why he should not and cannot be held in contempt of this court, for his refusal and failure to make the payment.”

Speaking to journalists after her husband was incarcerated at the Monrovia Central Prison, Ms Juana said the misunderstanding began when he started coming home as late as 4am.

“When I started to complain, he started to beat me. I was six months pregnant he beat on me, and I gave birth to my child pre-mature because of the beating,” Mardia explains, adding that they have been for almost nine years.

She recalled how her husband asked she and the children out of their matrimonial home.

“I brought him to court last year to support his children because he put me out of his house and he never wanted to see the children. Since then, he said that he can afford USD$75 to feed his three children while he has two jobs. He works with the Ministry of Labor and he is a teacher at the Monrovia College.”

She continues: “He makes more than USD$400.00 but he said he has only USD$75 to feed his three children and I accepted. Time to bring the money, it will take up to three months and he will not bring it (money). since the beginning of this year he has not brought anything yet.”

In response to the allegation, Pastor Juana told judicial reporters: “I can’t talk to you because I do not want my issue to get in the media.”