Judge Chenoweth: Korean Businessmen’s Money Must Be Paid!

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Despite the delay in apprehending the culprits who maliciously confiscated US$247,500 from Korean businessmen in 2014 and bringing them to justice, the long arm of the law is bound to wrap its fingers around them, as the 13th Judicial Circuit has ruled that the government pays back the businessmen’s money, no matter what.

    On October 14, 2020, a few days after the 13th Judicial Circuit Court ruled in favor of the Korean businessmen in the case involving them and agents of the National Security Agency (NSA), the court officially wrote the Minister of Justice to pay US$1.4 million back to the Koreans, attaching the bill of cost of how and why the money should be paid.

    In her letter to the Minister of Justice, the Judge of the 13th Judicial Circuit Court, Mardea Tarr Chenoweth, requested the Government of Liberia (GOL) to pay to the Koreans US$349,000 for special damages, US$1 million for general damage, US$26,000 for successful attorney fees and US$80,940 for annual statutory interest.

   The amount, which totals US$1,455,940, is expected to be paid by the government no later than expected, in adherence to the demands of the justice system and to save the image of the nation in the comity of nations.

Korean businessmen

    This case, according to observers, is among the mess that the Administration of George M. Weah inherited from its predecessor, and noted that the Weah regime needs to settle the dust if it should be given a face at the international level.

    They said as the judicial system has played its part by giving justice to the harassed and embarrassed businessmen, the Executive should play its duty by immediately paying back the money as mandated by the court.

   They said this was the same case that almost brought the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Administration to international ridicule, with the then Minister of Justice, Christina Tah, resigning as Justice Minister because the then NSA Director, Fomba Sirleaf, son to the President, had refused to heed her request to halt the investigation his entity was undertaking and give chance to the Ministry of Justice to play its role.

   They say this was the same case that reduced President Sirleaf’s morale of press freedom, as the National Chronicle was ordered shut down, without court warrant, for consistently brining the public up to date with the case involving the Koreans and the NSA.

    “It is prudent that the government fast-tracks the payment of the Korean businessmen’s money, because this could either serve as an affidavit that businessmen can obtain justice in Liberia no matter who offends them or serve as a factor for driving away potential investors and rendering Liberia not-business friendly,” the observers noted.

    However, the Minister of Justice, Frank Musah Dean, is yet to respond to the court’s communication, as it regards when and how the government intends paying the Koreans their money.

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