Diaspora Liberian Group’s Eminent Chairman duped in double land sale in Duazon
Monrovia – The Eminent Chairman of the All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship (ALCOD), Emmanuel S. Wettee, who have invested more than a decade advocating for dual citizenship for natural born Liberians and those born of Liberian parentage and two decades traveling the world encouraging diaspora Liberians to return and invest in Liberia, has been duped in land sale in Duazon, Lower Margibi County.
Eminent Wettee is now a victim of rampant double land selling to more than one person in Liberia by the same family members, relatives, or friends.
Eminent Wettee purchased two lots in 2021, in Duazon, Lower Margibi County, paying US$5,200 to one Mr. Baryoe G. Tarplah and after investing more than US$5,000 on the land to start the process of building his foundation, one Bishop Frank Harris, a Nigerian-born, claimed ownership to the identical two lots, thus stopping the plans of Eminent Wettee to further invest on the land.
As per an investigation conducted by Mr. Joe A. Dorah, Land Administrator, Margibi County, Chairman Wettee and Rebecca C. Doe’s land deed was probated by Judge Joe S. Barkon on January 22, 2021, and signed by the Probate Clerk, Catherine C. Johnson and registered by the Registrar B. Wolobah Pew with the Vol. B-2021 and page 0300000090 on January 25, 2021, at 9:00 AM and their grantor (Mr. Baryoe G. Tarplah) talked by cell phone with Land Administrator Dorah and confirmed that he sold the land to Chairman Wettee and Ms. Doe.
Bishop Harris presented his deed with the name Moduekwe Godfrey, which was probated by Judge Mardea T. Chenoweth on February 3, 2021, signed by probate Clerk, Catherine C. Johnson and registered by the Registrar, B. Wolobah Pew, with the Vol B-2021 and page 030000000492 on March 22, 2021, at 11:55 AM and his grantor said he sold the land to him. The grantor of Bishop Harris’s deed is a relative of Mr. Baryoe G. Tarplah and is living in the same area according to neighbors. According to some neighbors, the grantor of Bishop Harris’s deed and Mr. Tarplah knowingly sold the same land to both parties. Neighbors are saying the practice of family members knowingly selling identical land(s) to more than one person is normal.
The question many are asking is, how is it possible that Probate Clerk Catherine C. Johnson can sign the identical lot/land document without an alert within a few weeks? How Registrar B. Wolobah Pew could register documents relating to the identical land/lots without an alert within a few weeks? Was it a collaborative effort to probate Bishop Frank Harris’s land deed, since Eminent Wettee is a Liberian Diaspora?
Diaspora Liberians and others are calling upon lawmakers, government officials, land administrators and the Judiciary System within Margibi County to please investigate this case. “If this issue is not resolved by local authorities in Margibi County it will birth national and international attention,” Eminent Wettee stated.
He disclosed that Mr. Baryoe G. Tarplah will be in court very soon, to pay back his expenses relating to the land and resolve this issue through legal means. Eminent Wettee is now experiencing the same pain as other diasporas Liberians. Accordingly, Mr. Baryoe will soon be hearing from Eminent Wettee’s legal team.
He told this newspaper from his home in the US that as he travels around the world encouraging diaspora Liberians that all hands are needed on deck to develop their land of nativity, including purchasing land, building homes, establishing businesses, etc., one common concern from diaspora Liberians is the dishonesty of some Liberians back home, who are engaged in the dubious habit of double land sale to more than one diaspora Liberian or others.
According to him, some of the things they hear from some family members, relatives, friends, or associates back home is that they (diaspora Liberians) left the country during the civil war and are now coming back to purchase their lands and live a better life than them. They are saying it without any remorse, that selling land(s) purchased by a diaspora Liberian to another person is wealth distribution or redistribution. “The problem of double land selling is a national concern and normal without any easy solution in Liberia,” he said sadly.
In addition to double selling of land(s), Eminent Wettee pointed out another bad habit: “There is this issue of some Liberians using substandard materials to build homes for Liberian Diasporas. In some, cases, a diaspora Liberian will have to rebuild their home(s) two or three times or take a very long vacation to make sure their homes are well built.”
Notwithstanding, these frustrations, Chairman Wettee is still encouraging diaspora Liberians to return home despite their concerns, even though he has become a victim, too. “The rampant selling of land to more than one person in Liberia is impacting national development and this needs to be addressed not only by national government, but also local governments, civil society organizations, religious leaders or institutions, families, relatives, friends, and all,” Eminent Wettee pleaded.
He added: “Knowingly, the selling of identical land(s) to more than one person by some Liberians (same family members, relatives or friends) is corruption and a criminal act.”
Mr. Joe A. Dorah, Land Administrator, Margibi County investigative report