The Supreme Court of Liberia on Wednesday reserved ruling into an appeal hearing in the case involving the suspended leadership of Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) and Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor.
During the final hearing, VP Howard Taylor’s lawyer, Cllr Wesseh A. Wesseh, argued that the High Court should dismiss the lawsuit by the suspended officials seeking endorsement to reverse the Vice President’s decision in suspending officials of the LMA from their various positions.
Cllr. Wesseh also argued that the dismissal of the LMA officials by the Vice President should stand because the Civil Law Court at which the suspended officials sued Madam Taylor does not have jurisdiction to hear the case and that the respondents do not have the capacity to sue her at said court.
According to Cllr. Wesseh, before filing the lawsuit, the suspended officials should have exhausted all of the internal dispute resolution mechanisms available to them in the association.
He, however, argued that there was no evidence that the officials exhausted any administrative remedy within the LMA and, therefore, prayed the High Court to overturn the ruling of the Civil Law Court Presiding Judge Scheaplor Dunbar.
But Cllr. Arthur Johnson, who is representing Alice Yeebahn, the suspended President of the LMA, asked the court to uphold the Civil Law Court’s ruling on grounds that VP Taylor does not have the legal right to suspend any official of the LMA.
He added that it is only the LMA Board of Marketers that has the legal right to suspend officials.
On August 28, 2018, LMA President Alice Yeebahn along with her Vice President and Secretary-General were ordered suspended by Vice President Taylor for an alleged act of corruption.
The affected leaders then went to the Civil Law Court to seek redress.
Civil Law Court Judge Scheaplor Dunbar, in his ruling then, indicated that VP Taylor’s lawyers failed to convince the court that the officials, who were duly elected by the LMA, and were aggrieved over the Vice President’s decision to suspend them from their various positions, do not have the legal capacity to seek redress before the court.
“They are directly affected by the action of VP Taylor. This Court, therefore, does not agree with the petitioner’s contention that respondents lack legal capacity to institute these proceedings,” Judge Dunbar stated.
The Vice President legal team then filed an appeal at the Supreme Court.