Solicitor General Cllr. Saymah Cyrenius Cephus appears adamant closing his eyes on ethical issues as he pursues former clients in a case he once served as their legal defense during the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf regime.
The case involve former Liberia Airport Authority or LAA Managing Director Ellen Corkrum and several other institutions and individuals. In 2013, Ellen Corkrum, then Managing Director of the LAA was indicted along with businessman Musa Bility then Board Chair of the LAA by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County on charges of economic sabotage, criminal facilitation, conspiracy to defraud the government, and making unauthorized transfers of funds from government accounts.
Others indicted were the Monrovia Diaspora Consulting, LLC, through MomarDieng, a U.S. citizen; LBDI and the First International Bank; and all authorized representatives of the authority.
The First International Bank was indicted for allegedly conspiring with co-defendants Corkrum, Melvin Johnson & Associates, to make an unauthorized transfer of funds in the amount of US$56,750 from the account of the Liberia Airport Authority when Corkrum was the Managing Director.
Corkrum was also accused of transferring US$269,000 to a fictitious company, Diaspora Consulting, LLC and its CEO, MomarDieng, through whom she reportedly attended the Kennedy Business School, Harvard University.
As at the time of the case, Cllr. Cephus served as legal counsel for the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment or LBDI, at which time he was privy to clients’ information and even led a campaign in favor of his client LBDI for the government to drop charges against the Bank.
Last week, while responding to questions about his February 3, 2020 letter to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission or LACC in which he sought the re-indictment of Ms. Corkrum, days after dismissing charges against her, said the justice department was going to file a rate at the criminal court “A” to place Ms. Corkrum and 28 others including his former clients –management of LBDI on travel ban.
True to his words, three days later, on Thursday February 6, Cllr. Cephus filed a write of Ne exeatrepublica at Criminal Court ‘A’ for Ms. Corkrum and the 28 individual-including businessman Musa Bility, LBDI president John B. S. Davies, Ms. Gloria Manjor, Justin Oguagua of the defund FIB, JeremiTegli, MomarDieng among others.
Currently, the whereabouts of Ms. Corkrum is unknown. But Cllr. Cephus who is now stirring in the face of a possible conflict of interest is expected to face members of the Senate today. It is expected that a possible conflict of interest issue will be raised at the Senate hearing today.
This paper on Sunday gathered that LBDI president John B. S. Davies is considering filing a former complaint before the legal grievance and ethics committee. Similar threat was made on Thursday February 6 by former Solicitor General Betty LaminBlamo who threatens to go a step further by filing a defamation suit against Cllr. Cephus.
Excerpts of her letter to Cllr. Cephus: Cllr. Betty LaminBlamo wrote:
“…your numerous allegations against me are totally baseless and that you are aware of their falsity. Making false statement against another constitutes defamation as a matter of law where it damages the other. There is no doubt that your allegations are defamatory as a matter of law,” Cllr. Betty Lamin-Blamo warned.
“I am thus mystified by your plainly false and misleading assertions, categorically deny them, and hereby demand that you retract same.” She fumed.“There is no basis for the false statements you have made because the Office of the Solicitor General in the Ministry of Justice is the custodian of the records in this matter. These efforts are clearly designed to evade your own responsibility to divert the attention of the public from responsibility for the decision just made to drop charges against Ms. Cockrum even though as Solicitor General you had responsibility for such matters. You have instead intentionally elected to unjustly injure my reputation.
“In view of the above, I request that you do the honorable thing to retract the allegations,” she told Cllr. Cephus in a much detail letter that explains the circumstances surrounding most of the cases he now pursues and the ones in which he served as defense counsel.
“I request that you kindly have this done upon receipt of this my letter, otherwise I will be constrained to take such actions and measures as would be necessary including the filing of an ethics complaint against you, to protect my hard-earned reputation,” she added.By Ethel A Tweh