MONROVIA – The case involving former Liberia’s Finance Minister Tugbeh Doe of the Sky International Insurance Company has taken a new dimension as the Presiding Magistrate Fallah J. Matthews raised an alarm over a “death threat” made on his life by unknown persons allegedly linked to the famous insurance company.
Mr. Doe who is presently the President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sky International Insurance Company served as Finance Minister during the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) of Charles Gyude Bryant.
His Honor Fallah J. Matthews is one of the Magistrates assigned at the Brewerville Magisterial Court in district # 17, Montserrado County.
Speaking to a local radio station in Monrovia recently, Magistrate Matthews claimed that a purported letter from a group calling itself “Jungle Boys Death Squad” threatened to eliminate him and his family members due to the manner and form in which he was handling the case.
“I saw this letter in an envelope addressed to me. It says Magistrate Fallah Matthews from the Jungle Boys Death Squad; before picking the envelope, I called the security guard’s attention to come and see what I saw on the front seat of my car: he helped me to even open the envelope and he started reading it along with me”.
“They are threatening me and my family to get rid of us because I am presiding over a matter involving Tugbe Doe and the Sky International Insurance Company. And to be very frank with you, I am performing my duties in consistent with the law. I have not gone against anyone”
“This matter has been before me for the past four to five months. We have come with so many proceedings; we have been to almost all the circuit courts A, B, C, D; we have come under summary proceedings”. They will say sometimes that I committed some errors-they are reversible errors and so forth”.
Mr. Doe’s Sky International Insurance Company was reported to have served as surety through the issuance of a bond for one of its clients in a theft of property case of around US$47,315.
The defendant identified as one Berker Mulbah, reportedly absconded justice and departed the country.
Last month, Magistrate Matthews requested the Inspector-General of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Patrick Sudue, to disrobe the Commander of Zone 6, Tarnue Kerkula.
In the communication dated March 2, 2020 under the signature of Jah Blemah, Clerk of the Brewerville Magisterial Court, outside Monrovia, Associate Magistrate Matthews ordered IG Sudue to disrobe and turn over Commander Tarnue Kerkula to face prosecution on criminal contempt.
The communication revealed that Commander Kerkula released a surety, former Finance Minister Tugbeh Doe placed in his custody by the court awaiting transfer to the Monrovia Central Prison without the authorization of the court.
The court disclosed that on two separate occasions, Commander Kerkula has deliberately refused to turn the surety in person of Mr. Tugbe Doe to the court, despite being duly held in civil contempt for which hearing he also allegedly failed to appear, despite being served the writ of summon for the proceeding.
“By directive of his Honor Fallah J. Matthews, Associate Magistrate, Brewerville Magisterial Court, you are hereby order to disrobe and turn over one of your commanders in person of Tarnue Kerkula, Commander of the Zone six (6) Police Station in Brewerville to face prosecution on criminal contempt of court charge,” the communication maintained.
But LNP Spokesman contended that Commander Kerkula could not be disrobed at the time because, he did nothing wrong to warrant the action.
The manner and form in which the matter was resolved between the LNP and the court, remains unknown up to present.
Magistrate Matthews maintained that for too long the insurance company has allegedly failed to provide its client.
“The matter (case) started with my predecessor John Griggs and at one point in time it came to Criminal Court A and the Judge presiding at Criminal Court A asked Judge Griggs to recuse himself and turn the case over to me. Since September last year, I have been presiding over this matter (case)”.
“When I took over the case-to start at fresh-we asked for the defendant and up to date, they (Sky Insurance) have not produced the defendant. And there is a law wherein a defendant absconds the country, the surety should be held responsible. And the surety is here. After we got into the matter, we found out that he (Tugbe Doe) was not able to produce the defendant. We ordered his incarceration but because of his ill-health his lawyers asked that he should be turned over into their custody until otherwise”.
Magistrate Matthews told FrontPage Africa via telephone Thursday that though the final adjudication of the case has been overdue, he (Matthews) remains committed to the dispensation of justice without fear or favor.
He added that he remains convicted by his conscience to do what is right in the case involving the ex-Liberian Finance Minister.
In a statement issued in Monrovia on Thursday, April 16, the CEO of the Sky International Insurance Company, Mr. Tugbeh Doe termed as “false, misleading and a complete misrepresentation of the facts” the accusation raised by Magistrate Matthews.
According to him, Magistrate Matthews has allegedly shown his lack of independence in the case as a “judicial official”.
“The very Magistrate Fallah Matthews, observing my health, requested that I stay out of court and continue taking my treatment, which I see as being professional on the part of the Magistrate”.
“However, for the same Magistrate to claim that I hired the Jungle Boys Death Squad to kill him and his family has constrained me to rebut to the Magistrate’s claim”.
He, however, indicated that it was “unethical and unprofessional” for Magistrate Matthews to discuss “unresolved matters” in the press.
Mr. Doe disclosed he will not sit and allow his hard-earned reputation to be destroyed by anyone regardless of status in the Liberian society.
“This assertion by the Magistrate (Matthews) will not be taken lightly by the management of Sky International Insurance Company and my entire family and followers. Moving forward and thus handling the matter civilly as ordered by the Circuit Court, I hereby request and demand that His Honor Fallah Matthews retract his statement made on the OK radio station unconditionally without further delay to avoid litigation or any further embarrassment”.