Judge Dismisses Motion To Return Koreans’ Property

Criminal Court “C” Judge Yusuf D. Kaba on Friday, August 29, 2014 dismissed a motion for return of property “illegality” which was seized by the Government of Liberia-GOL through the National Security Agency, the NSA.

During the first hearing at the Temple of Justice on Friday, Judge Kaba dismissed the Motion For Return of Property Illegally pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation by the Ministry of Justice, adding, the case has not reached the stage to be sent to court.

Earlier, the motion was filed before Criminal Court C by three South Korean Nationals through their lawyers, Attorney Park Jung Dal. In their motion filed on August 11, 2014, the three South Koreans prayed the court to order the NSA to return the full amount of US$247,500.00, including other properties that were “illegally” seized from them.

According to the Koreans, the NSA confiscated the said US$247, 500, 00 which the NSA claimed was counterfeit. Judge Kaba meanwhile afforded both parties the opportunities to present their arguments before the court.

But State Lawyers, led by Liberia’s Solicitor General, Cllr. Betty LarmieBlamo, resisted the motion on grounds that said motion filed did not meet Procedural Law. She argued that once the matter is being investigated by the Ministry of Justice-MOJ, the court’s intervention will be a usurpation of function. She further requested the court to give the State 60-days period to enable them conclude investigation.

Meanwhile, lawyers representing the legal interest of the three South Koreans, led by Cllr. Charles Abdullai conceded to Government’s resistance when the motion was called for hearing on Friday in which movants admitted that the filing of the motion was erroneous and acknowledged that they had not filed the motion consistent with Procedural Law.

However, based on this, Criminal Court “C” granted Government’s resistance and dismissed the motion filed by the Koreans, but lawyers representing the South Koreans rejected the claims by NSA that their clients’ money was counterfeit.

The lawyers representing the Koreans contended that the money confiscated was genuine and legal tender of the United States Dollars. They also challenged NSA to provide proof that their money was counterfeit in any court of competent jurisdiction and added that the money in question was withdrawn from a reputable bank in Liberia, the International Bank (IB).