Supreme Court Upholds Lower Court’s Ruling…Against Late President’s Daughter

By Edwin G. Wandah

The daughter of former Liberian President, Samuel K. Doe, Miss Veronica Doe, has been denied access to her savings deposit at the former Citibank, which she alleged was transferred to the National Bank of Liberia after Citibank completed all transactions and officially turned all documents to the NBL, including cash.

During Thursday’s opinion hearing at the Supreme Court, Madam Justice Wolokolie delivering the opinion said the undisputed facts of the case on appeal before the full bench of the Supreme Court, involving former 1st lady of the Republic of Liberia Nancy B. Doe on March 21, 1989, when she opened an account (saving account with account number 36229) in trust for her daughter, Ms. Veronica J. Doe at the Citibank Liberia, a foreign financial institution operating in Monrovia, Liberia.

She stated further that at the time, Nancy B. Doe’s total bank deposits between March 21, 1989 to February 8, 1990 including interest was seventy-four thousand four hundred and fifty-one cents United States Dollars (USD 4,407, 501); which on the 31st of January 1992, Citibank upon its request to and by consent of the National Bank of Liberia (NBL), ceased operations in Liberia, and went into voluntary liquidation.

She also said that with the consent of the NBL, Citibank entered a payment agency agreement with the Meridian Bank Liberia Limited, to pay off Citibank liabilities in Liberia.

Cllr. Varney Sherman was appointed by Citibank as its general agent in Liberia, while all necessary information to depositors and other customers were complied with by and thru the media, winding up statutory period of three years having ended on January 31, 1995.

During her deliberations, which Ms. Doe took up to the Supreme Court, stems from a complaint filed by Nancy B. Doe, before the Commercial Court of Monrovia, alleging that her deposit made in trust for her daughter Veronica J. Doe, with Citibank was never paid back to her during the liquidation period as she and her daughter lived out of the country at the time of the liquidation period by Citibank.

Meanwhile, Nancy B. Doe also stated that she made a brief visit to Liberia in 1994, but did not follow up on her deposits with Citibank, until subsequently, upon her return to Liberia in 2011, she made inquiries about recovering her deposits, but was told that Cllr. Varney Sherman was the representative of Citibank in Liberia.

According to her, when she contacted Cllr. Sherman, he referred her to the Central Bank of Liberia, the new nomenclature of the NBL, informing her that after Citibank had completed its obligation under the statutory winding up period of three years, it turned over to the NBL all records and balances of accounts.

“This Court also having decided this case, disallowed the appellee’s Doe deposits based on her abandonment of the said deposits, it deems it unnecessary to deal with appellee’s exception as to the currency in which appellee should be paid,” the court stated.

“Wherefore and in the view of the forgoing, it is the opinion of the Court that the judgment of the lower court finding CBL liable to the appellee for deposits made to Citibank is hereby reversed,” the Supreme Court averred.

The Clerk of the Supreme Court was ordered to send a mandate to the lower court to give effect to the judgment that costs were disallowed, and was hereby so ordered.