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Court nullifies travel ban against Tolbert Nyenswah

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The Criminal Court “C” in Monrovia has declared as null and void, a writ of Ne Exeat Republica earlier issued by the very court on government’s request to prevent former National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) Director General Tolbert Nyenswah from leaving Liberia.

Mr. Nyenswah departed the country on 18 October 2019 for the United States, the same day Montserrado County Attorney Cllr. Edwin K. Martin requested Criminal Court “C” presided over at the time by Judge A. Blamo Dixon, for the writ of Ne Exeat Republica to be issued against Mr. Nyenswah.

However, Mr. Nyenswah’s lawyer Atty. Norris Tweah, through a motion filed before the court on 12 May 2020, expressed shock at the request for travel ban against his client when there is no case pending before the court or any other courts in Liberia against Nyenswah for a crime. Atty. Tweah had therefore requested the court to quash the writ of Ne Exeat Republica because it had caused his client a serious reputational damage to his character.

In resistance to Atty. Tweah’s motion, the prosecution on 1 June contended that the Ne Exeat Republica filed by the State was predicated upon criminal investigation being conducted by the Assets Recovery Team constituted by President George Manneh Weah for the recovery of assets, wealth of the country.

The State insisted that during any criminal investigation, the defendants or the accused will not be subject to any arrest depending on the nature of the crime charged. In the Tolbert Nyenswah case, the State said the Asset Recovery Team was conducting its initial investigation and in the process of getting all parties involved on the alleged embezzlement of funds, Mr. Nyenswah left the country before the Ne Exeat Republica was issued. The State therefore prayed the court to deny the defense’s motion.

But ruling on Wednesday, Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay said the fact that Tolbert Nyenswah had left the country at the time of the service of the writ of Ne Exeat Republica, the writ becomes moot or void without any legal effect.

“The said writ is therefore hereby ordered set aside and dismissed and that since the perimeter of the writ not being to prevent Mr. Tolbert Nyensawah from returning to Liberia at any time, Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah is hereby declared free and he is at liberty to return to Liberia at any time,” Judge Gbeisay rules.

By Winston W. Parley

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