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Dew Mason loan scheme entangles motorcycle union

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The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn LiberiaA political drama has unfolded at the commercial court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia after lawyers representing the Liberia Motorcycle Union or ‘pehn-pehn’ riders informed the chief judge that their clients were being bullied for a loan which was part of a political scam that went bad for ex-Presidential candidate Ambassador Dew Mason, during the 2011 presidential elections.

Arguments ensued here last week Thursday when on the cross examination of the witness for the Mutual Benefit Insurance Company, counsel for the Pehn Pehn boys Cllr. J Fonati Koffa, asked the witness to state whether or not it was not within his certain knowledge that Dew Mason was the principal sponsor of the loan scheme and chief launcher of what was purportedly a micro loan scheme to entice the nearly 15,000 motorcyclists to support his ambition for the Liberian Presidency.

It was at this point that the lawyer representing the interest of Mutual Benefits Insurance of which Amb. Mason is current chairman of the board, objected on grounds that Cllr. Koffa was going outside of the province of questioning his rebuttal witness, and was being speculative, trying to entrap the witness, Mr. Patrick Mator, chief financial.

The Chief Judge at the Commercial Court, Eva Mappy Morgan, allowed arguments to the objections raised and it was during which time hell broke loose when Cllr. Koffa showed the report that Mutual Benefit had submitted into evidence, which included the proposed design for the scheme for youth empowerment, targeting the LMCU.

Cllr Koffa informed the court that the invited guest, which the witness had informed the court included President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ambassador Dew Mason, who at the time was ‘fishing in political waters’ in 2010.

Cllr Koffa read from the document that the scheme was designed to thank President Sirleaf and Amb. Mason for this level of empowerment and as such this was no ordinary loan scheme but one with a political undertone which the pehn pehn riders where made to appreciate.

But lawyers for Mutual Benefit Insurance, led by Attorney Jerome B. Kolleh, countered with that the documents being referred to was a proposal for the loan scheme and one cannot now use it to say with certainty that all that was proposed took place. 

However, Cllr. Koffa responded that only today they can call it a proposal when the 419 loan scheme has gone bad and they want to now harass the poor pehn pehn riders for money which was obtained under false pretense.

Chief Judge Mappy Morgan allowed the witness to respond to the question following which defense counsel thanked the witness and plaintiff rested his witness. 

The case is expected to be assigned next week for arguments before final ruling is handed down.

The matter has been before the court since 2013, when Mutual Benefit Insurance Company complained the Liberia Motorcycle Union on a loan provided them by the leasing company of Liberia an affiliate company.

The case has dragged on with several twists and turns on motions to join and intervene being challenged.  At one stage during the trial, one of the witnesses for plaintiff complainant admitted that the leasing company was now bankrupt as a result of the bad loan to the pehn pehn boys.  The lawyers for the pehn pehn boys, international law group  (ILG) at that stage then filed a motion for summary judgment during the trial, citing lack of capacity to be a part of the lawsuit and need for dismissal of the case.

Mutual Benefit Insurance is being represented by Cllr Beyan Howard and Associate, who had to cede as lead counsel following his suspension by the Supreme Court.  While the Liberia Motorcycle Union and its secretary general Robert Sammie are represented by Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa and his team of lawyers at the International Law Group on a pro bono basis.

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