By Winston W. Parley
The Civil Law Court “A” in Monrovia has granted Mr. Sidike Musa Bility permanent custody of his two minor kids, but with the proviso that they will spend the first and third weekends of every month and all holidays with their mother, Warti Nancy Robinson – Clarke, Bility’s divorced wife.
Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay, Sr., ruled Wednesday, 14 July at the Temple of Justice that the mother shall monitor the father’s moral conduct, social behavior, and interaction with the children and when enough proof of immorality or violence is established, she shall file information for the court’s reconsideration of its decision.
“That the custody of the two kids is hereby permanently placed in the possession of Mr. Sidike Bility, the natural father,” Judge Gbeisay said in the ruling, adding that the custody of the children will not be relinquished to any third party including the grandparents.
Additionally, Judge Gbeisay ruled that since Mr. Bility is a Muslim and his divorced wife Mrs. Clarke is a Christian, the children shall be allowed to worship in Church and in the Mosque until they reach their maturity and select their own religion.
Giving some of the factors considered in making its decision, the court revealed that Mrs. Clarke is carrying a pregnancy which “she must have conceived while she was yet married to Mr. Sidike Bility,” and in the mind of the court, such action may develop bad blood between Mr. Bility and Mrs. Clarke’s new husband, Mr. Romeo Clarke.
Judge Gbeisay said such action has the potential to transfer Mr. Clarke’s aggression to the children.
Additionally, Judge Gbeisay indicated that there is no doubt that the natural father of the two kids, Mr. Bility, who serves as Green Petroleum Chief Executive Officer, has better income as compared to the mother.
On the basis of these factors, the judge ruled that the wellbeing and best interest of the children which is paramount to the court are likely to be best served in the care of their father.
He, therefore, granted Mr. Bility’s Bill of Information as opposed to Mrs. Clarke’s resistance. But Mrs. Clarke’s lawyers have taken exception to the court’s ruling and announced an appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberia.
The argument in the child custody case was held at the Civil Law Court “A” in Monrovia on Monday, 12 July following Mr. Bility’s request for permanent custody of his two minor children from their mother.
He had complained to the court that the mother of his two minor children, Mrs. Clarke had a relationship that was not favorable to their emotional, psychological, mental, physical health, stability and well-being, safety, and security.
His lawyer Cllr. Michael Wilkins Wright, a former ECOWAS Court Judge, had argued that sharing custody between the parents was not working in the best interest of the children.
Cllr. Wright also accused Warti Nancy Robinson – Clarke’s husband, Romeo Clarke, of allegedly being a criminal who was convicted by Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice for stealing from the United Bank of Africa (UBA) – Liberia in a landmark US$1.3 million syndicates.
He also said Mrs. Clarke was in the constant habit of leaving the children at home unattended and unsupervised by an adult to the extent that the younger brother put an object in the ears of his older brother, something which led to him seeking medical attention at a health facility.
Wright told the court that on a particular night as Mrs. Clarke and her current husband Mr. Clarke fought, she drove the kids at 4 a.m. to their father Mr. Bility, which suggests she lacks everything of a capable mother to take care of the kids.
He claimed that Madam Clarke does not have the financial capability to take care of the children because she does not have a job or other visible means of income and has never worked in her life.
But lawyers representing Madam Clarke counter-argued that the decision for custody of children under the Domestic Relations Law and the question of children’s rights provided for in the Children’s Law and other statutes of Liberia is predicated and tenaciously hinged to the best interest of the children.
The lawyers pleaded that as a result of the moral unfitness of Mr. Bility, the Judge should grant their client permanent custody for the best interest of the innocent children.