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Friday, April 19, 2024

UNMASKING FORMER CHIEF INJUSTICE FRANCIS SAYE KORKPOR

Date:

An opinion by John Stewart

Does Chief Injustice Francis Saye Korkpor really expect laurels from the public for his dismal and corrupt performance?

A laundry list of his dirty deeds committed while in that noble office is too long to detail here.

Under his watch, judicial workers went unpaid for prolonged periods. They protested on the grounds of the Temple of Justice but Mr. Chief Injustice, Francis Saye Korkpor, remained indifferent showing no concern.

The protesters were instead met by vigorous Police action under his orders. He had first issued threats of arrest against the protest leader, Archie Ponpon.

This prompted Archie Ponpon to set himself ablaze, and were it not for bystanders who rushed to his aid and took him to the hospital, he would have died from his injuries.

Chief Injustice Korkpor, displaying a strong lack of compassion and empathy, never even visited Archie Ponpon in the hospital neither did the Judiciary under his watch foot his hospital bill.

Another instance was the depletion of Amos Brosius’ LBDI US$5m account by corrupt judicial officials. Although the Judicial Inquiry Committee(JIC) found Commercial Court Chief Judge Eva Mappy guilty of official misconduct, nothing happened to her.

Still, yet another was his handling of Associate Justice Ja’neh who was illegally removed from office under his watch.

Further, he told a bald-faced lie through his teeth claiming that he was not aware that those detained at the Monrovia Central Prison in the wake of the April 14, Rice Riots were political prisoners.

In 1979 following the April 14 Rice Riots, hundreds of Liberians were arrested and detained. Most of them were incarcerated at the Monrovia Central Prison.

Amongst those locked in the murder cell were David Karn Carlor, James Logan, Dr. Henry Boima Fahnbulleh, Samuel P. Jackson, Oscar Quiah, Dusty Wolokolie, James Fromayan, James Yarsiah, Conmany Wesseh, the late Counsellors Francis Garlawolu and Flawgaa McFarland(my brother-in-law) and the writer of this piece, John H. T. Stewart.

The above-listed men including myself were placed in the murder cell. Others were detained/crammed under sub-human conditions in the cell block known as 4B. We were all officially charged with Treason.

During that period, the gallows at the prison were given an overhaul thus conveying the distinct impression that death by hanging awaited us following conviction in what would have been a sham but a widely unpopular trial.

At the time, Chief Injustice Francis Saye Korkpor was serving as Chief Security and Assistant Superintendent of the Monrovia Central Prison and he paid visits to our cell block virtually every day from April 21, the day I was placed under arrest and incarcerated, until June 26, 1979, when we were granted unconditionally amnesty by President Tolbert.

Additionally, he made life very difficult for us.

For example, he would order all visitors out of the Prison even before the elapse of the official 3:00 pm visiting period.

However, there were at the time Correction officers serving under him who were sympathetic and sometimes went out of their way to help us. Two of them have since become well-known practicing lawyers.

Forty-three years later Chief Injustice Francis Korkpor is now lying through his teeth, denying involvement in the torture of prisoners at the time.

His loyal servant was Kyne. He had the habit of administering electric shocks to prisoners with a special baton. And all this happened under his watch.

More to that, he has also lied that he was not aware of the presence of Political prisoners at the time. He knew nearly every one of those detained in the murder cell because we had all been schoolmates at the University of Liberia.

The fact is we were political prisoners with whom he interacted daily. Nearly the entire country knew that we were not common criminals but political prisoners.

It was not surprising therefore that crowds thronged the grounds of the Monrovia Central Prison almost immediately following President Tolbert’s June declaration of unconditional amnesty for all detainees.

Two of the first individuals that entered the Prison compound that day were Emmanuel Bowier(RIP) and Wilson Tarpeh. At the time, we had heard of the amnesty from a small radio that had been smuggled into the cell but we remained under lock and key under the orders of Assistant Prison Superintendent and Chief Injustice, Francis Korkpor.

And when we saw Wilson Tarpeh and Emmanuel Bowier approaching our cell block, we knew right away that our release was imminent but we were not released from prison until some minutes before 6:00 pm.

Now that he has retired from his high throne, the question is where he goes from here. It is an open secret that even in his hometown, Ganta, he hardly has friends let alone in Monrovia. Lawyers have accused him of appointing his known surrogate and a very corrupt judge to fill the vacancy on the Bench.

Additionally, the criminal expropriation of Amos Brosius US$5m by judicial officials will continue to haunt him. He shall have no rest because at every turn he will be consistently reminded of his corrupt deeds while in office- about how justice under his leadership was denied to many especially Amos Brosius and Kabineh J’aneh.

He will also be reminded of the “illegal sale” to Adolphus Dolo of a 500-acre rubber farm, situated right outside of Ganta, owned by the late former Nimba representative John Nyema Constance. His law firm served as the lawyer for Dolo.

The farm was allegedly sold by John Nyema Constance who, at the time, was ill and mentally incompetent. At the time his 90 yr old mother, was a refugee in Guinea.

I know this because the late J Nyema Constance Jr. was my personal friend from childhood.

Chief Injustice Francis must remember that the evil he has done to others will follow him except there is no God. He claims to be a surrogate son of the late revered Catholic Archbishop Michael Francis.

Yet by his dishonest and unprincipled conduct in public service, he has shamed the legacy of the late Archbishop.

I say this because I had known the Archbishop since 1963 when I served as an altar boy during his ordination ceremony as a priest.

The following year, 1964, I arrived at the Catholic Compound in Saniquellie, Nimba County for boarding school.

There I met the Archbishop, then an ordinary priest who introduced me to the late Aaron Brown as my dormitory mate. Aaron and I were to remain lifelong friends until his passing a few years ago.

The late Archbishop was then second in charge to Father O’Reagan, an Irish priest. He was a strict disciplinarian and for two years 1964, and 1965 lived in the dormitory serving Mass daily and saying evening Rosary prayers together.

Therefore, I can say without fear of contradiction that Chief Injustice Francis Saye Korkpor is a disgrace to the honor of the late esteemed, and revered Archbishop.

I say this because I am convinced in my heart of hearts that the Archbishop would never have countenanced nor supported such corrupt behavior and ethical transgressions against the law.

Former Chief Injustice Francis Saye Korkpor is indeed a sore eye that brought disgrace to the Liberian judiciary. He shall one day pay for his sins and transgressions against the Rule of Law.

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