Monrovia — A lawyer of the International Law Group, Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi, has written a formal communication to the Liberia National Bar requesting the immediate investigation of two lawyers – Cllr. Varney Sherman and Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus – for allegedly breaking ethical standards and bringing the legal profession to public disrepute.
In a letter dated 14 September 14 and addressed to Sylvester D. Rennie, president of the Liberia National Bar Association, Cllr. Massaquoi said the allegations levied against the two senior lawyers are not only damning but violate several provisions of “our code for the moral and professional ethics” and must not go unnoticed.
“I write most respectfully to entreat the Executive Committee of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) to launch an investigation consistent with Rule 29 of LNBA, which states “upholding the honor of the profession of the code for the moral and professional ethics against Counsellors-At-law Sherman, and Cllr. Cephus, both of whom are active members of the Bar that were sanctioned by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OfAC) as perpetrators of bribery and corruption.”
Cllr Massaquoi said these actions were taken pursuant to Executive Order (E. O) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, and targets perpetrators of corruption and serious Huma Rights abuse.
” Mr. President, it can be recalled that on International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9, 2022, the United States Department of Treasury designated Cllr. Sherman, a prominent lawyer, senator, and Chair of the Liberian Senate on Judiciary Committee for being a foreign person responsible for or complicated in, or directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption, including the misapplication of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery,” he wrote.
“Cllr. Sherman was accused of bribing judges and others in the court, and the Ministry of Justice and also allegedly facilitated payments to Liberian politicians to support the impeachment of a judge who has ruled against him.”
Cllr. Sherman has, meanwhile, denied the allegations and said that his lawyers were working on the case thus demanding that his accusers provided the necessary evidence against him in line with substantive due process of law.
“Sadly, to date, nothing has been done in Liberia, by or through the Bar or any other legal means of engagement, to exonerate himself from these serious criminal allegations, which are also violations of the following code of moral and professional ethics.
“The rule states that it’s unprofessional for any lawyer to advise, initiate, or otherwise participate directly or indirectly in any act that tends to undermine or impugn the authority, dignity, integrity of the court or Judges thereby hindering the effective administrators of Justice.”