ECOWAS accredits three new Ambassadors

Three new personalities presented their letters of credence to the President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, on 19 March 2019, at the institution’s headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria.

They were Ambassadors Jacques Obindza from Congo, Jyrki Juhani Pulkkinen from Finland and Marek Skolil from the Czech Republic.

The Congolese diplomat was the first to be accredited. Jacques Obindza was delighted to be the very first ambassador of his country to be accredited to ECOWAS.

He and the ECOWAS Commission President discussed the need for greater cooperation between Congo and the regional organisation.

Jean-Claude Kassi Brou sued for new cooperation avenues between the two parties, particularly with regard to economic and trade relations.

The two personalities also discussed the joint summit of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), held on 30 July 2018 in Lomé, Togo. The summit was attended by the Congolese President, Denis Sassou Nguesso.

Following the Congolese ambassador, was his Finnish counterpart who officially handed over his letters of credence to the President of the ECOWAS Commission.

Jyrki Juhani Pulkkinen said he was pleased to be accredited to ECOWAS. He sees ECOWAS as one of the best regional economic communities in Africa.

He commended the stability and peace that prevail in the ECOWAS region, which he described as key factors for economic and social development.

“There can be no economic and social development without peace. This is why ECOWAS is working tirelessly to ensure peace, security and stability in West Africa,” stated Jean-Claude Kassi Brou.

As well as the Finnish diplomat, the new Czech ambassador, Marek Skolil, also praised ECOWAS and recalled the importance of the West African institution to the European Union, of which his country is a member.

Closer cooperation between ECOWAS and the Czech Republic was the focus of discussions between Jean-Claude Kassi Brou and Marek Skolil.

After receiving the letters of credence from these three new ambassadors accredited to ECOWAS, Mr Brou congratulated them on their appointment and assured them of his support for the success of their mission.

He pleaded with each of them for new initiatives to strengthen their collaboration and support for West African economic integration.

It should be noted that Jean-Claude Kassi Brou attended the ceremony for the presentation of letters of credence alongside his Director of Cabinet, Kalilou Traoré, and his diplomatic adviser, Mrs Adwoa Coleman.

The ceremony was also attended by the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Francis Awagbè Béhanzin, and his colleague from Telecommunications and Information Technology, Dr. Zouli Bonkoungou, as well as the Acting Director of External Relations, Jérôme Boa, and the Acting Director of Communication, Liberor Doscof Aho.




ECOWAS, UNHCR to strengthen Humanitarian Cooperation

The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are to strengthen their existing cooperation to enhance the delivery of humanitarian services to the West African region.

The two organisations are reviewing the current partnership documents with a view to appraise the expansion of areas of collaboration and develop a plan of action for 2019.

At the opening of the two-Day joint consultative meeting on the 18th of March 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne stated that there is need for improved synergy, timely intervention and effective delivery that will benefit both organisations and citizens of Member States in line with the ECOWAS Vision 2010.

The ECOWAS Commission, she noted, “places high premium on the collaboration with its partners since no organisation can function optimally without collaboration with relevant partners for maximum success”

Stressing that the meeting will also help to define joint strategies and approaches to effectively address existing and new challenges at both national and regional levels, Commissioner Jagne opined that the endeavour is expected to significantly raise the standard of living of the people “through conscious and inclusive programmes that will guarantee a bright future for West Africa and shape the destiny of the region”

Since the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by both bodies in 2001, the partnership has helped in the facilitation of post conflict reintegration of returnees in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Guinea Bissau, the establishment and capacity building of the ECOWAS Emergency Response Team (EERT).

There has also been the promotion of ratification, domestication and implementation of the African Union Kampala Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Africa, facilitation of effective local integration of thousands of refugees under the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Rights of Residence and Establishment as well as the adoption and promotion of the Abidjan Declaration and the Banjul Plan of Action on the eradication of statelessness.

Commissioner Jagne however maintained that despite the positive strides made, emerging issues such as terrorism, climate change/global warming and mixed migration in the ECOWAS region including the scale and incidence of humanitarian emergencies and their impact on ECOWAS citizens, have rendered the humanitarian terrain more difficult.

This reality, she emphasised, necessitates the strengthening and broadening of the ECOWAS/UNHCR partnership in order to effectively deal with the issues.

Also speaking, the UNHCR Representative to Nigerian and ECOWAS Mr Antonio Canhandula represented by Mrs Brigitte Mukanga-Eno noted that the signing of the existing multi sectorial MoU, has yielded “good and tangible results”.

She however noted that based on the role of Society and the No One Behind principle, the UNHCR is favourably disposed to the extension of the collaboration beyond the Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs, to involve all relevant Departments/Directorates of ECOWAS “in order to effectively deliver on areas of concern to UNHRC” as well as the already identified Cross cutting set objectives.



ALISA Project Network launch holds in Abidjan

On March 22, 2019 the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, will host the launch of the regional customs network for transit trade (ALISA) of Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The ALISA project aims to use information technology to facilitate trade, transport and the free movement of goods within ECOWAS.

It offers huge benefits to government and financial institutions and the private sector as it paves the way for shared information and data in real time, reduced waiting times, and increased revenue with the reduction in transit and transportation costs.

International trade facilitation and security; more efficient transit trade procedures and fraud detection and prevention; simplified and secure transit trade operations, electronic transfer of transit trade data and increased customs revenue through the provision of highly efficient services, are all, among others, objectives of the ALISA system.

The expected outcomes of the project mainly include a more viable business environment, increased and secure customs revenue, contribution to growth and competitiveness of West African economies.

The ALISA project is a platform for interface with existing customs systems of ECOWAS Member States that will enable the exchange of data over a secure system interconnection. The data and other information will be available and may be exchanged over a centralised regional customs database.

The ALISA system offers huge advantages to Member State governments and the ECOWAS Commission, customs administrations, financial institutions, private sector, companies and businessmen.

The customs interconnection project is one of the actions being undertaken by ECOWAS to improve the flow of goods across the different land corridors of West Africa by providing electronic access to customs information on goods in transit from one Member State to another.

The Abidjan meeting will enable participants to assess further the advantages and challenges of the ALISA project, and the key role it plays in the formation of the West African regional market.

Participants at the meeting include the Secretary of State under the office of the Ivorian Prime Minister in charge of Budget, Directors-General of Customs from ECOWAS Member States, the regional organisation’s Commissioners for Customs and Free Movement, Tèi Konzi, and Telecommunications and Information Technology, Dr Zouli Bonkoungou.

Officers of the said Commission, particularly the Community Information Centre Director, Dr Osei Tutu Agyeman-Duah, Customs Union Director, Salifou Tiemtoré, and Ag. Director Communications, Liberor Doscof Aho, will also be in attendance.

Representatives of the Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the Secretariat of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the European Union, World Bank, German Cooperation, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), are also expected to participate at the meeting.





New ECOWAS Abuja headquarter’s project throws up consultancy jobs

Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a $31.6 million grant with the Government of China for the development of the proposed new Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) headquarters building in Abuja, the search for critical consultants in the project have begun in earnest.

To pave way for the project, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Brou and the Ambassador of China to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Zhou Pingjian had recently signed for both parties in a bilateral meeting held at the ECOWAS Commission headquarters, Abuja.Under the MoU, China’s will maintain the building three years after completion. The need for a new building for ECOWAS was necessitated by increasing number of staff, which led to the Commission to presently operate from three buildings distance apart from each other.

The agreement, which comes into force with immediate effect will cater for offices and conference complex building, as well as road facilities, electrical equipment, parking lots and security posts within the proposed site of the project.An ECOWAS designated authority and the China Development Bank Corporation will work together to verify records of account payments at regular intervals.

The grant comes as part of China’s commitment to continue to promote the China-ECOWAS friendly cooperation through similar economic and technical cooperation. Already, a design team has already been established to ensure that the building’s architecture reflects the culture and Africaness of ECOWAS Member States. The project is one of other public facilities being undertaken by the Chinese government in sub-Saharan Africa: parliament buildings in Zimbabwe, Congo, Malawi, Guinea-Bissau, and Lesotho. China is also rebuilding burnt parliament buildings in Gabon, and is renovating the parliament building in Sierra Leone. China also built and funded the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa in 2012 at a cost of $200 million.

Essentially, the hiring of consultancy firms to validate the design, assist in the construction of a new ultramodern headquarters and to carry out environmental as well as social impact studies have commenced. One of the firms will assist in the review of architectural and engineering designs for the building and undertake quality assurance/supervisory work of the construction works process to ensure value for money.

The headquarter building is being constructed by a contractor recruited by the Government of China, financiers of the project. Specifically, the consultant firm will monitor the execution of the works according to the technical specification, design drawings and conditions of contract as well as represent the project owner – ECOWAS on site.

The consultant will also coordinate the clearing of the site in coordination with the Chinese project management firm as agreed in the implementation agreement; coordinate and monitor all work for which ECOWAS is responsible for like connecting road, water and fiber to main networks and electrical transformer substation installation.

Similarly, the firm will also monitor daily, on a task by task basis, all activities planned by the Chinese contractor, in conjunction with the Chinese project management firm, to ascertain delays and inconsistencies that may be observed on the schedule.The other consultant firm handling environmental and social impact studies will establish baseline information on both natural and built environment including the socio-economic activities within and without the site relative to the project.

The firm will also identify, evaluate and possibly quantify the direct and indirect positive and negative aspects of the construction project on the biophysical, human and socio-economic environment according to the different phases (preparatory, construction and operation).

Meanwhile, Ministers for Infrastructure, Works and Housing from Member States have adopted a design scheme for the development of a new Headquarters complex.The meeting of the ad-hoc Ministerial Committee on the construction of Community institutions, which held in Abuja, Nigeria, saw their representatives adopt a design scheme in order to commence the development of the final design, which will be produced with the input of the Commission and Member States.

The ECOWAS Commission’s commissioner for General Administration and Conferences Vafolay Tulay, who presented three design schemes to the Ministers, stated that criteria such as site optimization, functionality, safety and security and the requirements of the Commission were taken into account while adopting the design scheme.

The Ministers recommended that the final design of the new Headquarters Complex should not only integrate elements of West African culture but must also comply with international and Nigeria’s standards and specifications of construction.

Furthermore, the Ministers also recommended that the design for the new Headquarters complex should have the expansion of the Commission in view while being developed. ‘The design should take into consideration functionalities and coordination consistent with the needs of the Community’, they said.

The Commissioner for Infrastructure, Pathe Gueye, in his remarks stressed the need for a good coordination between ECOWAS, Nigeria and the Chinese government in order for the project to be executed smoothly.




CSOs track illicit financial flows in West Africa

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), in partnership with Transparency Internaßtional (TI), has launched an online anti-money laundering tracker that would monitor illicit financial flows across West Africa.

At the launch of the tracker on March 21, 2019  in Abuja themed ‘Turning up the Pressure: Tackling Money Laundering through Multi-Stakeholder Approaches in ECOWAS Countries’, CISLAC executive director, Auwal Musa, explained how the tracker works.

The group expressed dissatisfaction with the European Union (EU)’s blacklist of Nigeria and Ghana for money laundering and terrorism risks.

EU had explained that the two countries were deficient in strategies in the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regimes as well as cooperation with the EU.

He noted that companies with hidden ownership illegally move over $1 trillion yearly from developing countries, of which about $15.7 billion pass through the Nigerian financial system.

Musa, represented by Shina Oke, regretted that these illegal assets gained through non-existent rule of law escape to places with good legal protection and closely-guarded bank secrecy that developed countries and emerging economies offer.

CISLAC programme officer, Gloria Okwu, noted that the objective of the launch was to increase public awareness for and political commitment to anti-money laundering and anti-corruption mechanisms, which effectively prevent, detect, report and sanction the laundering of corrupt and criminal proceeds in Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries.

Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Guinea are the implementing countries.

TI representative, Jessica Ebrard, said it was difficult for the people to relate on the performance of government in their respective countries, stressing that implementation of international commitments remains the major problem facing African countries.




ECOWAS court rules in favour of Agatu over 2016…

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice has ordered Nigeria to investigate the 2016 mass killings and destruction of property in Agatu Community of Benue State.

The Federal Government was also mandated to identify and prosecute the perpetrators as well as resettle the victims.

Delivering judgement in a suit brought by a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Solomon Mfa, and 11 others, a three-member panel of the court found the government in “violation of its obligation to protect the human rights of the Agatu Community and prevent its violation.”

In suit no: ECW/CCJ/APP/11/16, Mfa with Rev. Joseph Dooga, Dr. Sam Abah, Dr. David Iordaah, Ochepo Yakubu, Terse Tange, Favour Adah Paul, Samuel Ijoho, Iorbee Bajah, Ashi Bajah, Terseer Bajah and Movement Against Fulani Occupation (MAFO) had sued the president of Nigeria, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the Minister of Internal Affairs alleging the violation of their fundamental human rights.

The applicants claimed that within the last three years, Fulani herdsmen had carried out over 50 major attacks on Benue communities, the most prominent of them taking place in 15 out of 23 councils.

The president, Justice Edward Asante, presided over proceedings, while the judgement read by Justice Dupe Atoki, ordered the government to provide adequate security by deploying more security personnel to the “area to protect the community and prevent further occurrences of that mayhem.”




ECOWAS commends Nigeria, Senegal for successful elections

Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Mustapha Cisse Lo, has congratulated Nigeria and Senegal for conducting successful elections.Lo congratulated the two countries at the opening of the extra-ordinary session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Dakar, Senegal.

The Speaker of the regional parliament said the successful conduct of elections in the two countries would strengthen democracy in West Africa.

Lo, who congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari for his re-election as President of Nigeria and President Macky Sall for his re-election as President of Senegal, said: “Indeed, the Senegalese and Nigerian elections have proclaimed their results that were held on February 23, 2019 for Nigeria and February 24, 2019 for Senegal.”

“These elections witnessed the re-election of His Excellency, Muhammadu Buahari as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and His Excellency, Macky Sall, as the President of the Republic of Senegal.”

“I wish to affirm and re-affirm once again my congratulations to His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari and His Excellency, Macky Sall, for their brilliant successes at the polls, which have strengthened the genuineness of democracy in our sub-region.”

“I call on the political actors to continue to respect the official results of these elections in accordance with the relevant provisions of ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.”

Lo, who spoke on the agenda of the 2019 extra-ordinary session of the Parliament, disclosed that the session aimed at discussing the activities and programmes of the Parliament for 2019, said: “We are meeting in Dakar to discuss activities and programmes of the Parliament for 2019, adopt the term of reference for the oversight missions and also discuss terms of reference for the sensitization missions for the first semester of 2019.”

According to him, other details on the agenda of the session includes “to adopt the terms of reference of the delocalise meetings of the parliament for the first semester 2019 and to adopt the recommendations of the parliamentary seminar on Single Currency of ECOWAS which has just ended.”

He commended the Secretary-General of the ECOWAS Parliament for organising activities of the Parliament despite all the constraints and limited resources at his disposal, especially in terms of human resources, saying: “In view of this challenge, we have to congratulate the administration.”




The ECOWAS Court of Justice has dismissed a case brought by Mr. Karim Wade, a presidential aspirant of the opposition party ‘le Parti Démocratique Sénégalais’ (PDS) in the February 24, 2019 presidential election in Senegal challenging the constitutionality of the July 2018 amendment to the country’s electoral code.

In the Decision read by Hon. Justice Gberi-bè Ouattara, the Court observed that the text of the Electoral Code was not inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic of Senegal, and that the July 2018 amendment of the electoral law as it affects voter eligibility applied to every Senegalese and not targeted at the plaintiff.

Mr Wade, a former Minister and son of former President Abdoulaye Wade, filed suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/55/18 on 18th November 2018 alleging the violation of his constitutional right to vote, eligibility to run for public office, right to appeal and effective remedy.

But the Court noted that after the plaintiff was refused enlistment in the voter register, he did not avail himself of the appeal window offered for redress at the Embassy in Kuwait where he had initially applied but rather accessed the Courts in Senegal which dismissed it for lack of jurisdiction.

The Court had earlier dismissed the preliminary objection of the defendant challenging the jurisdiction of the Court. Counsels to the defendant, Mr. Antoine Diome, Mr. Yerim Thiam, Mr. Moussa Sow, Mr. William Bourdon and Mr. Samba Biteye, had argued that the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter and that the State’s Ambassador/diplomat had been bestowed with some judicial powers to deal with some issues including such electoral matters.

However, Counsel to plaintiff, Mr. Cire Cledor Ly, Mr. Mohammed Seydor Diagne and Mr. Demba Cire Bathily, submitted that Articles L31 and L57 of the Electoral Code violated the plaintiff’s right to be a voter and to be eligible to run for public office. They further argued that the plaintiff’s right to appeal was violated by the defendant and that requesting the plaintiff to seek redress from Senegal’s Ambassador to Kuwait will amount to an exercise in futility as the Ambassador is not a judge and therefore lacked judicial powers.

Other judges on the panel were Justices Dupe Atoki and Keikura Bangura.



The ECOWAS Court on February 27, 2019 ordered Republic of The Gambia to pay $200,000 dollars in ‘nominal damages’ to its former Chief Justice, Justice Joseph Wowo, for the violation of his rights to fair hearing, unlawful imprisonment and removal from office on allegation of corruption, false information and the abuse of office.

A three member panel of judges of the Court Presided over by Honorable Justice Edward Amoako Asante ordered that $150,000 of the amount or its equivalent in Dalasi should be paid to the former Chief Justice as restoration mindful of the plaintiff’s claims of inability to secure employment and the time spent in prison after he was wrongfully tried and sentenced although he was subsequently cleared.

The balance of $50,000 will be paid to the plaintiff as legal fees since he has ‘not been working after his removal from office and may be constrained in meeting the financial obligations of his attorney.’  The Court also awarded costs against The Gambia as will be assessed under and by virtue of Article 66 of the Court’s Rules of Procedure.

The Court held that the Plaintiff`s trial by a judge who was himself undergoing trial for corruption under the Chief Justice constituted a violation of his human rights to fair trial. The Court also held that the acts of the Defendant relative to the Plaintiff`s removal from office, trial and conviction were biased, lacking in independence, inconsistent with due process, in breach of natural justice and thereby constituted a gross violation of the plaintiff`s right to fair trial.

In suit no: ECW/CCJ/APP/06/18, Justice Wowo, a Nigerian who served as Chief Justice under former President Yahaya Jammeh sued the President for the alleged violation of his legitimate rights as enshrined in the African Charter, Articles 6&7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Section 24 of the 1997 Constitution of the Gambia.

He claimed that owing to his nationality, he suffered discrimination by most members of The Gambian Bar to the extent that the then President of the Bar, Ms. Ubna Farage and the Minister of Justice, Ms. Amie Joof, sometime in 2013, made frivolous allegations of corruption against him which led to his removal from office without prior investigation.

The former Chief Justice, who had asked the Court for $20 million in damages, stated that he contested his removal through the security authority which initiated an investigation in to the matter whose outcome has not been announced.

Consequently, he called a press conference where he denied the allegations of corruption against him as false and noted that the then President erred in removing him from office without due process.

In reaction, he alleged that the then President perceived his action as an affront to his authority and publicly threatened to send him to jail and subsequently instructed the then Minister of Justice to file a frivolous case against him alleging the abuse of office and spreading false information.

In this connection the Plaintiff said he wrote a letter in his capacity as the acting Chief Justice to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) which investigated the allegation and exonerated him and surprisingly even commended him while two others who were indicted in the report were never charged.

He averred that during the trial, his Counsel filed a motion urging the trial Judge to recuse himself from the proceeding as he was himself on trial before the Chief Justice for corruption, a motion that was deliberately ignored by the trial judge. He alleged that the trial judge also ignored all the documents and testimonies of witnesses and instead convicted and sentenced him to two years imprisonment until his release under pressure by the governments of Nigeria and the United States.

The plaintiff therefore asked the ECOWAS Court for a declaration that his trial by a Judge who was undergoing corruption allegation proceedings before him is a violation of his human rights and for an order on the government to pay him $20 million dollars (Twenty million US Dollars) in damages and six percent interest per annum for violation of his human rights among others.

The Defendant however denied the allegations of the plaintiff and instead contended that the former Chief Justice was removed from office by the President in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission after investigation and due deliberations pursuant to the petition.

Other members of the Panel are Honorable Justices Gberi-be Quattara and Keikura Bangura



 The ECOWAS Court of Justice has ordered the government of Liberia to pay the sum total of USD18,130,778.09 being monies deposited in various banks by former president Samuel Doe plus accrued interest, to Mrs. Nancy Bohn-Doe, widow and administrator of his estates.

The Court however rejected Mrs. Bohn-Doe’s request for USD 342,615.57 as lawyer’s fees and USD 9,000,000 as compensation for general damages.

In suit no. ECW/CCJ/APP/41/16 filed on the 21st of November 2016 by Mr. Milton Taylor, counsel to plaintiff, Mrs Bohn­-Doe alleged the violation of her right, particularly the right to property with the government’s refusal, through its agents, to allow her access to the accounts and information on the others.

Citing some Articles in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights among others, the plaintiff urged the Court to declare that the denial by the Defendant of access to her late husband’s accounts and information to assist in the discovery of other accounts held by the husband, was a violation of her rights.

But Counsel to the defense, Mr. Lafayette Gould Snr. raised a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the Court, and the non-exhaustion of local remedy by the plaintiff before approaching the Court among others.

Hon. Justice Gberi-Be Ouattara, the judge rapporteur who delivered the Decision of the Court, dismissed the preliminary objection of the defendant including the issue of the case being statute barred raised by the defendant. The Court held that the case was well founded, dealing with issue of rights violation and that exhaustion of local remedy is not required before accessing the Court. On the issue of the case being time barred, the court held that the violation has continued since the matter has been pending for several years in the defendant’s national court.

Other judges on the panel were Justices Edward Amoako Asante and Dupe Atoki.

In another case with suit nos ECW/CCJ/APP/04/18 involving Mount Bele Resources Limited and the Republic of Liberia, the Court granted the plaintiff’s notice of discontinuance of the suit and the case was struck out.

The Court made the pronouncement after hearing the plaintiff’s notice of discontinuance of the case to which the defendant had no objection.

The case concerned an allegation of the continued violation of the plaintiffs’ right to possession of property as a result of the revocation of the company’s mineral exploration license without due process by the defendant.

The case was heard by a three member panel of Honorable Justices Edward Amoako Asante, Dupe Atoki and Keikura Bangura.

In another case filed by Amos Brosius against the Republic of Liberia, the Court granted the plaintiff’s motion to amend his application after refusing the plaintiff’s application to join Ducor company in which he has 10 per cent ownership as an intervener in the suit for failure to present the company’s resolution requesting to be an intervener in the matter.

The Court also dismissed the preliminary objection of the defendant challenging its jurisdiction and the locus standi of the plaintiff to approach the Court and ruled that it has jurisdiction as the matter bordered on the violation of human rights, especially the right to property.

It therefore fixed 7th May 2019 to hear the substantive matter of suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/05/18.

The ruling was delivered by Honorable Justice Dupe Atoki. With her on the panel were Honorable Justices Edward Amoako Asante and Keikura Bangura.

The plaintiff represented by his counsel, Mr. Celestus Ejezie, had in the initiating application claimed that the defendant violated his right to possession of property, right to liberty and right to fair hearing. He alleged that the plaintiff was arbitrarily arrested and unlawfully imprisoned on false criminal charges, and his corporate account frozen while illegal withdrawals of over USD1.3 Million from the corporate account was effected.

The plaintiff equally alleged that the Supreme Court of Liberia failed to order an investigation into the illegal withdrawals, conduct a fair hearing and award damages. He added that the continued violation has resulted in financial loss to the tune of USD6.3 Million.

The defendant who was represented by its Solicitor General, Mr. Daku Mulbal and Mr Gartor Tate (Director of Civil Litigation) raised preliminary objections on the grounds that the plaintiffs have not exhausted local remedies and that the same matter and parties are before a national court in Liberia.