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NPA surrenders container after lawyers’ detention

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The National Port Authority (NPA) surrendered to the Criminal Court “C” Tuesday, 23 June a 40ft container after two NPA were picked up and confined for several hours in the sheriff’s office based on an arrest order issued against NPA Managing Director Bill Tweahway, his deputies, assistant managers and legal counsel.

It follows a writ of arrest issued by the court Monday, 22 June against Mr. Tweahway and his deputies for a charge of criminal contempt of court owing to their “deliberate” refusal and failure to obey citations, writ of summons and court orders served them relative to the container case.

“The Defendants named herein above have refused and failed deliberately to obey citations, Writ of Summons and Court orders served them, relative to a container, subject of a litigation before this court, thereby subjecting the court to a container, subject of a litigant before this court …,” the writ reads.

It notes that the NPA officials’ action subjects the court to a public ridicule and impeding its tribunal function, thereby instructing that Mr. Tweahway and his deputies be arrested and brought before court to show tangible cause why they cannot be held in criminal contempt.

The container under port security officers’ escort landed on the grounds of the Temple of Justice minutes after 2pm Tuesday as Cllr. Dempster Teah and Atty. Lorpu Godfrey remained under court officers’ custody.

The container case was taken to Criminal Court “C” on a bill of information filed by the Liberia Swedish Trading Company through its agent John Glayweah and Marcus Juah Roberts, with complaint that Monrovia City Court Stipendiary Magistrate Jomah Jallah had failed to hold NPA for its refusal for them to gain access to their container.

They informed Court “C” that in the case at the City Court, they informed Magistrate Jallah that the NPA’s Auction Committee was wrongfully and illegally withholding their 40ft container marked MRKU-320797 despite satisfying all necessary requirements in keeping with law.

Glayweah and Roberts filed summary proceedings against Magistrate Jallah before Court “C” for failing to hold Mr. Tweahway after NPA’s failure to respect the court’s order despite the port allegedly admitting that the complainants are the rightful owners of the container and that they had satisfied all necessary requirements.

Before issuing the writ of arrest against Tweahway and his deputies, the Criminal Court “C” on 11 June ordered the port to deliver the container to the court on Monday, 15 June at 10 am, warning that failure to do so would have been treated as a criminal contempt.

By Winston W. Parley

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