Liberia – Court Ruling Links Ex-Police IG, Others to U.S.$12k Extortion

Judge Ousman Feika of the Civil Law Court for Montserrado County rendered a ruling on Wednesday, January 31, ordering former Police Inspector-General Patrick Sudue to return US$12,000.00 seized from Chris Geeplay Weah, a petitioner.

In his ruling, Judge Feika highlighted that the responsibility for monitoring, investigating, and reporting illegal financial transactions lies with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), rather than the Liberian National Police (LNP) as was done in this particular case.

The court intervention was prompted by Weah’s petition to recover his money, which he claimed was forcefully taken from him by LNP officers Victor Gboyah and Sam Ballah during an event organized for a police charity on November 5, 2023. Weah alleged that he had informed Sudue about the incident, but was unable to retrieve his money, leading him to seek legal recourse.

During the proceedings, Sudue and his co-defendants responded to Weah’s complaint by suggesting that he was involved in illegal financial transactions, having allegedly transferred varying amounts to his UBA account in Liberia through a third party.

However, Judge Feika noted that there was no evidence to indicate that Weah was under investigation by the FIU due to any illicit financial activities related to his local bank account(s).

Feika further ruled that: “With the role assigned to the FIU by the law establishing it, all suspicious financial transactions are supposed to be monitored, flagged, investigated, and reported by it.”

He further stated that according to the law in this jurisdiction, when an action is filed to recover chattel, the defendant must present a counter-bond and exception to the plaintiff’s sureties for the release of the disputed property to the defendants.

“This court is therefore astounded by the allegation of the defendants that the plaintiff is a subject of suspicious financial transactions related to the transfer of funds illegally made to his bank account held in Liberia when there is no indication that he is a subject of FIU investigation,” said Feika in a six-page ruling.

Feika went on, “It is the holding of this court that the defendants having failed and neglected to conform to statutory requirements as specified for action to recover chattel, the chattel subject of these proceedings which is fully described in the plaintiff’s affidavit and annexed to his complaint, is hereby ordered delivered.”

In the case, the judge said, the defendants failed to meet these requirements, resulting in the court ordering the return of the specific chattel described in Weah’s complaint.

Following Judge Feika’s ruling, Sudue, Gboyah and Ballah attempted to circumvent the legal process by seeking a writ of arrest for Weah on fabricated charges through the Monrovia City Court.

However, Weah’s legal team, led by Arthur Tamba Johnson, successfully requested a writ nolle prosequi, halting the arrest warrant. It is important to note that these details are based on the court ruling and the events that unfolded during the case.

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