Former Client Accuses Justice Minister-Designate of Shady Land Deal and Double Standard

Monrovia – Allegations of ethical transgression continue to linger around President George Weah’s Attorney General Nominee, Cllr. Charles Gibson, as a new FrontPageAfrica probe uncovers his alleged scam that reportedly got him out of the UN system. “Oppong Weah (President Weah) better shine his eyes. That man is crook. He’s a born crook. If he makes that man Justice Minister, Liberian people will say ‘if I was known’ [had I known]. We’re coming to cry. They have put a crook in the Justice Ministry.” – Freda Mensah, a former Client of Justice Minister-designate, Cllr. Charles Gibson Cllr. Gibson’s former client, Freda Mensah, believed to be in her late 60s, could not tame the anger in her voice as she narrated her ordeal with the suggested Justice Minister. She’s one of the heirs of the J.D. Mensah Estate. According to her, Cllr. Gibson was hired to serve as the family’s attorney and at the same time serve as administrator for their estate. Ma Freda alleged that not only was he involved in double standards but also shortchanged her on several monies paid as rent to the family through him. “Oppong Weah better shine his eyes. That man is crook. He’s a born crook. If he makes that man Justice Minister, Liberian people will say ‘if I was know’ [had I known]. We’re coming to cry. They have put a crook in the Justice Ministry,” she said. She explained that Cllr. Gibson attempted selling a 75-acre farmland located in Todee, Lower Montserrado County, belonging to her after he eavesdropped a telephone conversation between a UN staff identified as Monica Boakai and another person, who was inquiring about the purchase of a farmland. According to Freda, Cllr. Gibson, who at the time worked as the National Legal Advisor with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), took an initial amount of US$24,000 but reported only US$2,000.00 to her as he kept her out of the negotiations. She said Cllr. Gibson hid the actual price tag he had put on the land until the buyer decided to locate her to authenticate the ownership and invite her over for surveying. Freda told FrontPageAfrica the buyer expressed shock when she discovered that Cllr. Gibson had given her only US$2,000. This, she said, led to an investigation and his subsequent dismissal from the UNDP after being made to restitute the money to the buyer – bringing the entire land sale to a halt. All efforts to contact Monica Boakai who is said to still be in the employ of the United Nations in Liberia failed. Cllr. Gibson declined to comment on the allegation on grounds that FPA had made reference to his alleged involvement of the sale of land without contacting him for his side of the story. He told this reporter Monday evening to publish whatever allegation it may have as he would not respond to FPA. “Take the same trend, the same trend to publish your story today [Monday], take the same trend to publish whatever story you have,” he said. Cllr. Gibson is among the first batch of cabinet nominees named by President Weah on the day of his inauguration. He was nominated along with Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill, Foreign Affairs Minister Gbezohngar M. Findley, who all have been confirmed by the Senate except Gibson. His nomination as Attorney General came at the time when he was serving a two-month suspension by the Supreme Court for siphoning monies belonging to his client. He was suspended last February by the Supreme Court from the practice of law directly and indirectly in Liberia when the Grievance and Ethics Committee established he misappropriated US$25,322.00 from a client. He was also asked to restitute the amount. The Committee’s report showed that the proceedings started from a 2013 final judgment rendered by the Debt Court for Montserrado County, awarding the complainant, GECCO represented by its president, Mr. Anwar Saoud, the amount of US$286,200.00 (Two Hundred Eighty-Six Thousand, Two Hundred United States Dollars) against the Global Bank Liberia Ltd. Last Thursday, February 1, the high court, following a hearing, restored Gibson’s license to practice law in Liberia. When asked why he took so long to adhere to the court’s order and pay the client’s money, Cllr. Gibson attributed the delay in payment to not having adequate funds. “I was constrained and was not working, and some friends had to help me get the money to pay back,” he said.

Feb 6 2018 - 10:15