Ex-Justice Minister Sannoh Dragged To Court—-For Allegedly Taking US$90K From Cape Mount Citizens’ Fund

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Several citizens of Gola Konneh District, Grand Cape Mount County, have accused Cllr. Benedict Sannoh of allegedly robbing them of US$90,000 (ninety thousand United States dollars) and officially written a complaint to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Her Honor Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh, about his alleged misconduct.

   A representative of the citizens, Mohammed Daramie, told journalists on Monday that Cllr. Sannoh took the money without performing the required work.

   “The people of Gola Konneh are not satisfied with the form and manner in which Benedict Sannoh robbed them. Benedict Sannoh, who happens to be a one-time Minister of Justice in Liberia, misled the people of Gola Konneh District and did not give them the rightful information,” he said at the Temple of Justice.

    It can be recalled that the people of Gola Konneh District, Grand Cape Mount County, received nearly US$2 million from Bea Mining Company. This is in line with the understanding with the company to give the amount to only affected communities. This amount is separate from the county’s development fund. The amount was placed into an account that is allegedly supervised by some leaders of the country, including Senator Varney Sherman.

   However, the money could not be withdrawn for its intended purpose, which sparked a series of demonstrations by the affected communities. In order to use the legal system to get redress, the citizens contacted Cllr. Sannoh, who requested that the communities enter into a legal retainer agreement with him, and that he be compensated with 20% of any amount paid to the communities.

   “The people were not properly informed of the details of this. He cajoled them. That was a bogus agreement.  We started protesting and he came in. He took US$90.000 (ninety thousand United States dollars) from us. He did not go to court. He sat with us for not more than one week,” Daramie said. “Legally, you should take what you worked for. But he did not work for it.  He worked for less than a week for the people of Gola Konneh District.”

   In a seven-page document detailing the complaint of the citizens, the Concerned Citizens of Gola Konneh District requested an investigation into Cllr. Sannoh’s conduct of misleading the people into entering into a legal retainer agreement with him.

   “We submit further that it was unprofessional for Counsellor Benedict Sannoh to mislead the segment of the people of Gola Konneh into believing that they had the legal capacity to engage him by a legal retainer agreement to provide legal services to Gola Konneh District. And we are concerned that if this legal retainer agreement continues to exist, Cllr. Benedict Sannoh will take it to be his personal ‘gold mine’, where he will file claim upon claim in the name of the people of Gola Konneh, with the hope that he will get 20% of whatever money is recovered from the opposite side, without any consideration for the purpose for which such payment is made—development programs and projects for the benefit of the people. It is our understanding that he has relied on this purported legal retainer agreement to request direct representation of Gola Konneh District during the negotiation of a new mineral development agreement for BMMC, when such negotiations are required by law to be conducted by the Inter-Ministerial Concession Commission, pursuant to the 2010 Public Procurement and Concession Act.

   “That is why it is imperative that this purported legal retainer agreement between some of the Gola Konneh District people with Counsellor Benedict Sannoh be declared illegal, null and void,” the citizens complaint to the Her Honor, Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh, Chief Justice, Supreme Court, stated.    When the Hot Pepper contacted Cllr. Sannoh, his phone was said to be off. After several hours, another call was made to his phone, but it was still unavailable. The writer wrote Cllr. Sannoh via text message, informing him about the citizens’ allegation, but up to press time he was yet to respond. Investigation continues.

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