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Koreans lost US$2.5m case to Liberia

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Five Korean nationals have lost a legal battle against the LiberianGovernment in which they were claiming US$2.5m in general damages fortheir alleged “unlawful arrest”, detention and seizure of US$247,500 by agents of the National Security Agency or NSA back in 2014.

Korean national Jung Dal Park had claimed that his principals inpersons of ChaeDaeByoung, Choi Jung Woo, ChakwangWoon and AleckGold came to Liberia with USD$36,500 which was allegedly added to
US$247,500 withdrawn from the International Bank on Broad Street on 8July 2014, totaling US$284,000.

But a Circuit Court in Margibi County where the case was transferredin 2015 from the Civil Law Court in Montserrado County found recentlythat the Koreans were no longer in possession of the sum of
US$284,000, having paid it to a gold dealer Mr. Nasser Aly beforeallegedly encountering the NSA Agents.

“Nasser Aly is not the Plaintiff in this case for the refund of thesaid money, but the buyers who already paid the said amount to theseller instituted the action of damages against the Government ofLiberia for the recovery of the said amount plus USD$2.5 million asGeneral Damages,” Presiding Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh ruled.

The Court has ruled that the Liberian Government was “not liable” tothe Koreans, agreeing with the government that it “cannot be liablefor the criminal conduct” of five agents from the NSA who made thearrests.

Korean national Jung Dal Park had testified that after exchanges ofseveral Emails with Aly with respect to the sale and purchase of a 16kilogram gold at the unit of US$35,500 which totaled US$568,000, theyhad agreed that 50 percent which represented US$284,000 be paid at thetime of the purchase and sale of the 16kg of gold in Liberia.

Witness Park who hosted the other four Koreans in Liberia narratedthat upon their arrival here, a total of US$250,000 was transferredfrom Korea to his (Park’s) account at the International Bank inMonrovia for the purchase of the gold.

Judge Gbeneweleh said witness Park testified on 21 September 2016 thathis (Park’s) principals made the payment to the seller, and went on tosay that NSA later arrived on the premises of the City King Hotel inCongo Town and took all their cell phones and their money.

“… He also testified that prior to their arrival at the N.S.A andfollowing the payment for the gold to the seller, the gold was neverdelivered to the buyers,” the observed.

The Court’s ruling came after state lawyers filed a motion forjudgment during trial, which was granted by the court. The governmenthad argued that the Koreans did not produce evidence to lead or impute
liability to the government.

The government contended that the seller of the gold was no longer inpossession of the money they already paid to the seller at the hotel.

When a presidential committee probed the saga, a recommendation wasmade that the NSA officers who made the arrest, Mr. Nasser Aly, OsmanBangura and CassellKuoh be held liable for conspiracy to defraud the
Korean nationals of their properties including US$247,500.

But the committee said it was unable to establish any link between thefunds seized by the NSA operatives who made the arrest and took theconfiscated items to the NSA Head Office and any official of theagency other than those mentioned in the committee’s report.-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

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