Liberia: Ja’neh Testifies in Ongoing Impeachment Trial, As Road Fund Takes Center Stage in Cross-Examination

Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh

Monrovia – As the impeachment trial of Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh at the Liberian Senate continues, of the four charges, the Road Fund Case has taken center stage. Some legal pundits, who listened to the proceedings, have opined that this aspect of the trial might likely hook the Associate Justice.

It is alleged
by prosecuting lawyers that the prohibition issued by Justice Ja’neh, to stop
Srimex of Musa Bility and Connex of Abdallah Sheriff, from sending to the
government the money they were collecting from the public on each gallon of gasoline
and fuel is one thing they are holding onto.
On Monday,
March 18, the under-fired Supreme Court Justice took the witness stand in his
own defense. Justice Ja’neh dispelled the entire allegations levy against him
by the House of Representatives.

According to
him, one of the counts, which has to do with the road fund was decided on
August 7, 2018, by the five justices on the Supreme Court Bench.  He stated that all of them affixed their
signatures on the instrument ordering that the case regarding the road fund
charge involving the gas companies and the government be removed from the
docket of the Supreme Court as the parties had agreed to voluntarily
discontinued the case thereby terminating the prohibition proceeding.

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The total
money owned by the petroleum importers is US$27 million for the 2017/2018
budget year.

By an
agreement between the Government of Liberia and the importers, the public would
be charged an additional US$0.25 for every gallon of gasoline and fuel they buy
at the station.

The House of
Representatives, from where the impeachment charges emanated, believes that
Ja’neh’s, who was the Justice in Chambers, action was abused of power
and gross breach of duty to have issued the prohibition, stopping the
government from collecting the US$27 million.

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This money
had nothing to do with the profit or operational funds of the importers. It was
by an agreement that the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC) to simply
collect for the government and turn it over to the government to be used for
the Road Fund, to repair the many bad roads in the country.

The total
money that should have been raised for the 2017/2018 budget year was US$31
million. The petroleum importers are Srimex of Mr. Musa Bility, Connex of Mr.
Abdallah Sheriff, Aminata &Sons of Mr. Siaka Toure, Kailondo Pertroleum of
Mr. George Kailondo, MOTC, Nexium Petroleum, West Oil Investment, NP Liberia,
Mayoubah & Sons Inc. and Petro Trade.

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Of the US$31
million, it is alleged that Srimex and Connex owned over US$11 million.

It is also
alleged by the prosecution lawyers that instead of turning over to the
government the money the two companies have already collected knowing that
their business partner was the Chamber Justice, they ran to him and he (Justice
Ja’neh) advised them to file a writ to the Supreme Court praying for a stay
order for them not to turn over to the government the money they had collected
so far and were still collecting.

The House of
Representatives charges that Justice Ja’neh allegedly received kickbacks from
his two friends, who are also his business partners and is getting more money
from the deal since the importers have been unable to repay the government
despite stipulations for repayment that have been made.

Some Senators
FrontPageAfrica has spoken to in private have stated that they take this
allegation most seriously of all the four allegations and are conducting their
private investigations into the matter.

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Further in
the witness stand, Justice Ja’neh, amongst many things said, to the best of his
knowledge, he’s being accused on five counts contrary to the four counts the
prosecution lawyers claimed. According to him, the records he received the
EcoBank Austin Clarke case is among the charges.

He also said
contrary to claims that he used his office as Justice of the Supreme Court to
acquire a half-lot of land from the Constance, he had acquired those properties
when he was still an employee of the Free Port of Monrovia.
“Let me make it clear and simple for the jurors,
when I acquired title to the property on Jallah’s road, it was in 1996 at which
time I was a worker, an employee of the Free Port of Monrovia. This was 10
years before I assumed a judicial position. So I don’t know how I could have
used the authority of a judge and abused that power by acquiring property at
that time,” he clarified.

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