By Lincoln G. Peters
Liberia’s Justice Minister-designate, Cllr. Cooper W. Kruah, is hooked in a US$58,814.08 refund, as mandated by the Grievance and Ethic Committee of the Supreme Court of Liberia for unethical and criminal actions after he allegedly defrauded a Liberian-owned company, Mano River Rehabilitation and Development Corporation (MARDCO).
MARDCO, a company operating in the agriculture sector was established on September 18, 2006, by a group of Liberians who acquired fifty thousand acres of undeveloped farmland in Bong County, Liberia for the cultivation of rice, cocoa, coffee, and oil palm production. The company also extended to neighboring Sierra Leone where it owns virgin rubber plantation, ready for production.
A NewDawn’s investigation establishes that Cllr. Kruah, the man designated as government’s chief prosecutor and attorney general was found guilty and liable by the Grievance and Ethics Committee for theft, in violation of Rule 15 of the Code of Moral and Professional Ethics of lawyers in Liberia.
MARDCO laments the act by Cllr. Kruah has caused serious embarrassment to its continuous operation both in Liberia and Sierra Leone due to incapability to settle financial obligations with citizens and landowners in Sierra Leone, who had worked hard and expected their monies to enable them meet their livelihood and obligations.
Kruah was hired between 2009-2012 to serve as lawyer for MARDCO in a case with Mr. Edmondo Trombetta in Liberia.
Our investigation further uncovers that the former Posts and Telecommunications Minister from the Weah administration, allegedly received on behalf of the institution a total sum of one hundred eight thousand, nine hundred forty-one and sixty-five cent United States dollars (US$ 108,941.65) from proceeds of MARDCO Rubber from Sierra Leone that was confiscated and sold in Liberia by the Civil Law Court.
Kruah allegedly and unauthorizedly deducted fifty-eight thousand, eight hundred fourteen United States dollars and eight cents (58,814.08) from the total amount of one hundred eight thousand nine hundred forty-one dollars sixty-five cent (108,941.65uSd) from money owned by MARDCO for his personal use.
Mr. Edgar S. Sydney, Chief Executive Officer of the Manor River Agriculture Rehabilitation and Development Corporation (MARDCO) on June 12, 2020, wrote former Justice Minister Cllr. Frank Musa Dean and former President George M. Weah, on January 18, 2019, and February 24, 2020, respectively as well as former Chief Justice Francis Korkpor and current Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh, seeking their interventions in the matter.
Based on the several complaints, the matter was forwarded to the GEC of the Supreme Court where the now nominee was found guilty and instructed to refund the company money.
“Note: 20% legal fees on the total amount collected of US$108,941.65 and Cllr. Kruah should have received US$21,788.33 (108,941US-28,339.24 amount MARDCO received). US$ 21,788.33 (20% legal fees) US$58,814.08. Now, the total amount Cllr. Kruah is liable for US$ 58,814.08 and should be paid to MARDCO”, the judiciary ethics committee ruled.
But since the GEC finding and recommendations, Cllr. Kruah has allegedly failed deliberately to pay the amount, something that has compelled the institution to bring the matter to the attention of the administration of President Joseph Nyumah Boakai for intervention to have the money paid, as the attorney-general designate awaits Senate confirmation for his new post.
Cllr. Kruah could not be reached for comment as at press time.