Judge ordered controversial case transfer
The Judge of the 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Nimba County has ordered the transfer of the controversial theft of property case involving Senate Secretary Nanbolor Singbeh and others vs. Hans Armstrong to the 9th Judicial Circuit County in Bong County.
Judge Roland Dahn took the decision on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, after the prosecution contended that they had knowledge that Mr. Armstrong who is a defendant at the 8th Judicial Circuit Court over which Judge Dahn presides, had filed a complaint before the Judicial Investigation Committee (JIC) against him (Judge Dahn).
In the said complaint before the JIC, Armstrong alleges: “I have been in Liberia for nearly a decade and have had many court cases, but in no case have I experienced the level of injustice that I am experiencing with his Honor Judge Roland Dahn in this case.”
“His constant communication with Chapman Logan and Nanbolor Singbeh who are my adversaries in a case before him as revealed by three newspapers, clearly makes me believe that his denial of the objection by my lawyer was influenced by my adversaries.” Armstrong asserted and continued “I cannot consider him to be a neutral judge as his conduct has made me harbor fear about the outcome of my case if he continues to preside over it.”
In his ruling Wednesday, Judge Dahn noted, while acknowledging two complaints against him before the JIC by Armstrong that it was only prudent that he recuse himself from the case.
“In our view and as a matter of law and practice, when a complaint is filed against a judge presiding over a case before the full bench or a chamber justice, sometimes the Justice in chambers may issue a stay order or not, but the complaint against a judge raising issues of ethical transgression borders on the issue of impartiality of the judge as perceived by the complainant. In the instant case, Mr. Armstrong’s complaint that is pending before the JIC tends to indicate that he, Hans Armstrong may not have an impartial trial.” Judge Dahn wrote.
“Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, we decline to handle any part of the case that tends to touch on merits. Accordingly, the motion for change of venue being the proper course, the same is granted and the case: R/L by and thru Nanbolor Singbeh vs. Hans Armstrong and Vacian Kyne and all motions and Bill of information growing out of the said case not yet disposed of are hereby order transferred to the 9th Judicial Circuit Court for Bong County.” Judge Dahn concluded.
The case before the Nimba County 8th Judicial Circuit Court is a theft of property and forgery: R/L thru Chapman Logan and Nanbolor Singbeh vs. Hans Armstrong, while the reverse version of this case involving the same parties in which Mr. Armstrong was the private prosecutor was recently dismissed by the Criminal Court C in Monrovia.
The legal battle is rooted in a dispute between Singbeh and Armstrong over the rightful ownership of two yellow machines that include one caterpillar excavator with model 325 DNL valued at USD120, 000.00 and one Atlas Copco Jackhammer valued at USD 225, 000, 00.
The machines belong to MHM EKO Liberia Inc, and the equipment in question is currently being rented by ArcelorMittal Liberia.
The Company MHM EKO Liberia Inc. was organized in May 2013 and registered as a legal entity in June 2013. Six months after its registration, Singbeh was joined by two foreign partners-Pavel Miloschewsky and Martin Miloschewsky. Singbeh served as President and CEO before the current controversy ensued.
The case in which Mr. Armstrong was the private Prosecutor, was dismissed by Monrovia Criminal Court ‘C’ Judge Ousman F. Feika after it was established that Armstrong still had an unresolved theft of property case filed against him by those he had complained of pending before the 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Nimba County.
Under the Liberian Civil procedure law, ILCLR TITLE I SECTION II.2, without the restoration of the rights of a defendant, who has been previously indicted in the same matter and involving the same parties like in the case of Hans Armstrong, such matter shall be dismissed. It was based on this legal instrument that the case before the Criminal Court ‘C’ in Monrovia was dismissed.
The litigants were to continue with the first trial at the Nimba County 8th Judicial Circuit Court, but instead of going straight into the matter, there were three motions presented before the court at the call of the case: Motion for the Change of venue, Motion to nolle prosequi, and the Motion to dismiss.
Judge Dahn argued that the only motion to decide on was the motion for change of venue since a complaint had already been filed against him, a change of venue was appropriate for justice to be served.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/liberia-court-dismisses-singbehs-indictment/-Writes Othello B. Garblah