Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson risks being sued for damages by businessman James Cooper in the aftermath of a Criminal Court “A” ruling that overturned a decision by a magisterial court which initially found Cooper guilty and sentenced him to a year in prison.
The rubber farm manager says in an interview with journalists Wednesday, 23 January at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia that if his legal team advises him to sue Sen. Johnson, he will seek legal redress.
“Exactly …, if mine legal team comes back and says … we should seek legal redress, that’s the work, that’s what we’ll do,” Mr. Cooper says in the interview.
In 2018 Sen. Johnson filed a legal action against Cooper for making public accusation on the Costa Show that the lawmaker allegedly solicited US$1.4m as precondition to guarantee the farmer’s request for a US$7.2 million loan from the Rubber Stimulus Fund.
Cooper was tried on charges of menacing and criminal malevolence, with claims that he issued threats on Sen. Johnson and his family’s life via several text messages.
At the end of hearing at the Monrovia City Court, Stipendiary Magistrate Kennedy Peabody found Mr. Cooper guilty and sentenced him to serve a prison term of one year.
But that decision was overturned by Criminal Court “A” Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie on Monday, 21 January, setting the accused free.
Mr. Cooper laments that what Sen. Johnson and all those that worked along with him did has damaged his (Cooper’s) character and the image of his company.
He says he has asked his legal team to look at the matter and give options in terms of way forward.
According to Mr. Cooper, the impact this matter has on his rubber factory is tremendous, but he is focused now on building his reputation for his local and international partners.
He says his factory is closed down, putting up to 150 people, each of whom is supposed to feed eight to ten persons out of work.
Cooper concludes that they are trying to reopen the factory to begin processes to manufacture tyres in Liberia.
By Winston W. Parley