Liberian Journalist Roland Worwee Detained On US$2M Damages Lawsuit

Journalist WorweeThe failure of Roland Worwee, the Editorial Consultant of Corruption Watch Newspaper, to post a US$2.5 million bail was sufficient for the Civil Law Court to send him to the Monrovia Central Prison where he will remain until the money is raised by his legal team.

Worwee was arrested early Thursday by both officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and bailiffs from the court following months of vigorous search to bring him under the jurisdiction of the court, where he is expected to face a US$2 million damages lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed against Worwee by lawyers representing Indian Consul General to Liberia, Upjit Singh Sachdeva, commonly known as “Jetty.”

However, Worwee’s lawyers were seen on Thursday afternoon begging Judge Peter Gbeneweleh not to allow their client go to jail while they raise the US$2.5 million criminal appearance bond. However, the judge did not accept their plea.

Defendant Worwee is said to have written a story in his Corruption Watch Newspaper claiming that Jetty was a “gay,” a publication, which Jetty’s lawyers are arguing resulted in the Indian Consul General suffering mental anguish, public harassment and public ridicule, for which they were claiming US$2 million for the damages sustained by their client.

In their complaint filed early March, the lawyers among other things, alleged that on December 22, 2015, defendant Worwee, in his Corruption Watch Newspaper volume three, number 146, published a headline entitled, “Indian Consul General Again, is he a Gay or only a Sympathizer.”

They also alleged that the wording of the publication presupposed that the defendant did not sincerely regret his previous publication in which the defendant on October 24, 2012, wrote an apology letter to Mr. Jetty in the presence of representatives of both the ministries of Information and Foreign Affairs about a story in his paper dated April 19, 2012, which they claimed also defamed their client’s reputation.

The court documents also said that Worwee’s publication has caused Mr. Jetty grave setbacks in the exercise of his diplomatic activities; and not just so, but also caused him disrespect and laughter, for which he is suffering mental torture.

“Worwee’s publication has caused our client not to move in the public and interact with other colleagues and business entities that has led to him losing more than US$2 million in business transactions,” adding, “It has also caused ordinary people and public officials to avoid coming into contact with him,” the lawyers said.

According to the lawyers, the defendant without any justification was deliberately bent on tarnishing the reputation of the Indian Consul General, who out of fear that if the defendant is not held liable, he would continue to use his publication to defame not just Mr. Jetty alone, but innocent citizens and foreigners as well.

The lawyers further alleged that defendant Worwee continued making up such lies, “thereby besmearing, maligning and willfully spreading misinformation through his media outlet knowing full well that his allegation against (our client) was untrue, baseless and misleading, yet he chose to formulate such evil and shamefulness agenda for which damages was necessary.

CREDIT: Daily Observer

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About Cholo Brooks 15568 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.