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FrontPage Africa Found Liable for Libel
February 15, 2011 Monrovia, Liberia

The Frontpage Africa Newspaper has been found liable for libel with damages assessed in the amount of US $1.5m. In a unanimous verdict rendered in the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Civil Law Court, Monterrado County sitting in its December Term, A.D. 2010, the 12-person jury agreed that former Minister of Agriculture, Dr. J. Chris Toe, who had filed a US$2 million lawsuit against Rodney Sieh and Samwar Fallah of FrontPage Africa Newspaper and FrontPage Africa Internet news organ, should be awarded damages because FrontPage had not provided evidence regarding its allegations that Dr. Toe diverted millions of dollars intended for Guthrie Rubber Plantation and the people of Bong and Lofa Counties as a result of the army worms infestation in early 2009. Dr. Toe was represented by his counsel, Counsellor Emmanuel B. James of The International Group of Legal Advocates and Consultants in association with Counsellor Othello S. Payman, I of Kemp & Associates Legal Consultancy Chambers.

In the Action of Damages for Libel filed about one year ago, former Minster Toe, now a private citizen, termed the persistent and unrelenting publication of allegations by FrontPage Africa over the years as “…a deliberate attack on his integrity and moral character intended to disgrace, degrade, and reduce his good character or reputation among his peers and friends and the public or international community at large.” The complaint also stated that the publications of FrontPage Africa are libelous and tantamount to accusing Dr. Toe of a crime when he has committed no such crime or any crimes for that matter, has never been accused of such crimes, has never been charged with such crimes, and has never been convicted of such crimes as published in various FrontPage articles. The jury, in its unanimous verdict, agreed with Dr. Toe based on the evidence presented during the trial.

In brief remarks following the unanimous jury verdict, Dr. Toe stated his belief in the Liberian justice system and the ability of the Liberian people to discern the difference between criminals and committed public servants like himself. He reiterated his commitment to a free, responsible press and reminded all that his motivation for resigning the Presidency of Strayer University in the United States and returning to Liberia to serve his people remains undeterred and undiminished despite the campaign of personal destruction waged against him for more than three years by Rodney Sieh of FrontPage Africa. He thanked Counsellors James and Payman for their exceptional counsel and indicated he would now continue on his consulting and farming engagements.
Dr. J. Chris Toe served as Minister of Agriculture in the Ellen Sirleaf Johnson administration from January 2006 till April 2009 when he resigned the position to return to the private sector. He has established a consulting and investment practice in Liberia and continues to serve Strayer University in the United States as member of its Board of Trustees, among other national and international engagements.

 


 

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