US$3m Hearing Stall

By: R. Joyclyn Wea

MONROVIA-The Commercial Court, at the Temple of Justice, was on Tuesday, January 25, thrown into confusion arising from a dispute over legal representation in the Petition for Accounting suit filed by Monrovia Oil Trading Corporation against Amos Brosius, General Manager of Ducor Petroleum Incorporated.

The management of the Monrovia Oil Trading Corporation ( MOTC), one of the disputed parties to the operation of Ducor,  in 2013 filed the suit against Brosius, accusing him of misapplying funds that were generated from the sale of petroleum products, the claim Brosius, had since denied, giving rise to the lawsuit for accounting.

Hearing into this matter was scheduled for January 25, 2022, despite Brosius’ September 15, 2021 communication in which he acknowledged the court’s three penal Judges excluding Chief Judge Eva Mappy Morgan, about his inability to continue with his legal team as he has no money to pay for their service.

By then, Brosius had claimed that Judge Morgan lifted without his knowledge the stay order on the escrow account created at LBDI as agreed by both parties in these proceedings.

The decision of the judge, Brosius claimed led to the MOTCs party to withdraw the amount of US$3million from the account, something he arranged to pay his lawyer of whatever his entitlement would have been.

And, since there is no money left in the account, as the result of the lifting of the stay order, his (Brosius’) lawyers were no longer interested to represent him in the matter.

Dramatically, Brosius on Tuesday represented himself, but the case could not be heard in the absence of Brosius’ lawyers, so, the judges were compelled to postpone further hearing into the matter, and recommended a conference between the parties (Brosius and MOTC).

The case is dated as far back as 2013. While the suit was still pending undecided, it was alleged in 2021 that the Chief Judge of the Commercial Court, Eva Mappy Morgan froze the company’s account after the disputing parties agreed to unfreeze the escrow account.

But, that did not happen as Judge Morgan without the consent of one of the parties (Brosius), allegedly proceeded to unfreeze the stay order, and subsequently facilitated the other party, MOTC to withdraw the sum of US$3milion that was placed in the Ducor Petroleum’s escrow account housed at the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI).

The accusation against Judge Morgan was later confirmed by the Judiciary Inquiry Commission (JIC), the arm of the Supreme Court that is responsible to investigate unethical conduct against judges.

The JIC also found Judge Morgan liable for an unethical breach and recommended for a period of one-year suspension without pay and benefits against the judge.

That punishment is yet to be endorsed by the Justices of the Supreme Court, even though, the parties, Judge Morgan and the JIC’s legal team had already argued the matter, with only the Supreme Court is left with its judgment that has been pending undecided for months.

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