MONROVIA – The long-awaited investigation, which the late Millad Hage has advocated since 2018, is underway as the Supreme Court has ruled that the probate court should conduct an inquiry into whether the estate still owes Ecobank as claimed.
The decision follows the court’s ruling to bar Nohad Hage from raising money now that she has owned the properties for over four years.
Judge Boimah Kontoe gave the properties to Nowad, during his tenure as specially assigned district judge for the Millad Hage Estate and curator of the Montserrado Probate Court, based on the alleged forged deeds she produced.
The investigation aims to authenticate deeds held by Ecobank, which also alleges that former Millad Hage interstate trustee Bassam H. Jawhary failed to pay money owed from the estate.
Nowad Hage had claimed ownership of the property with forged deeds and the investigation is also intended to find out where Nohad got these new deeds from.
The Supreme Court ruling followed a bill of information filed by Oumou Hage, widow of the late Millad Hage, after Judge Konto ordered that the properties be turned over to Nohad.
The lots in question are in the Redlight Community and Oumou has stated that the 2.5 lots were bought by a John Dozen and Beatrice Dozen for her and their children and that the one lot was bought by Rev. May Roberts which is Nohad and the other is children are entitled to it.
Ecobank still oversees the properties based on allegations that Jawhary failed to repay the loan secured by the late Millad Hage.
Mr. Jawhary is nowhere to be found and the investigation will determine the status of the loan.
Consistent with the inquiry, the Supreme Court ruling also directed Oumou Sirleaf Hage and the Trustee of the Monthly Probate Court to provide the court with a comprehensive inventory of the estate’s assets and manner of administration within three months from 2014.
In its opinion, the court asserted that “the law in that jurisdiction also requires that when title to immovable property is challenged for fraud in a probate matter, the monthly and probate court in which the matter is pending should be seized upon the application of either party or the sua sponte court shall refer the fraud issue to the civil division of the district court of the country in which the case is heard.”
However, the higher court found that the parties in the present case, after bringing prejudicial claims to three of the properties allegedly owned by the decedent’s children, should have by statute referred the Montserradi County Monthly and Probate Court to the matter of fraud the Sixth Circuit Court for Montserrado, for a jury trial.
After failing to do so in this case, the Supreme Court found that Judge Konto, then a judge at the Montserrado Probate Court, erred in ruling on the investigative report of delimitation and awarding the title, hence a decision that the higher court revised.
Therefore, pending the hearing and determination of the whistleblower’s (Oumou Hage) counterclaim on three of the properties given to Nohad Hage, the court ordered that all rent payments from those properties be held in an interest-bearing escrow account under the supervision of the probate court at a reputable local authority Bank until the actual owner of the disputed property is determined.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court ordered the lower court to resume jurisdiction over the case.