Melvin Sogbani, Other Fined For Vehicle Damage

By Edwin G. Wandah

The Supreme Court recently denied an appeal made by former Maritime employees, Melvin Sogbandi and Eric Allison to dismiss a case which the two men were alleged to have dubiously claimed two vehicles belonging to the Bureau of Maritime Affairs for their personal use.

During a special handling of opinions and rendering of judgment, Associate Justice Philip A.Z. Banks, III denied the appeal made by the two ex-officios of the Bureau of Maritime Affairs, for unlawfully possessing two vehicles belonging to the Bureau of Maritime Affairs.

The vehicles in question were purchased during the time of the former National Transitional Government of the late former Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant, to be used by the two ex-officials, but were dubiously re-purchased by both men, the Maritime Affairs told the court.

The Court however observed that it was necessary for the vehicles to be turned over to the Maritime Affairs, and that the two men, Sogbandi and Allison repair any damage that may have occurred.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court took serious exception to Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould for serving in dual capacities. Cllr. Gould was then Solicitor General of Liberia during the Transitional period, representing the Bureau of Maritime, but during the hearing on Wednesday, he represented the interests of the two ex-officials of the Bureau of Maritime Affairs.

The court indicated that the action of Cllr. Gould to serve in these capacities could have signal wrongly, meaning, the content of justice could be tampered with and the court’s credibility put at stake.

The Supreme Court therefore ordered the Clerk of the Supreme Court to officially write the Bureau of Maritime Affairs and the General Services Agency to value the two vehicles to be paid for by Messrs Sogbandi and Allison.