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Liberian security service director takes newspaper to court for U.S. $1 million

Mr. Othello Warrick, director of the Executive Protection Service [the presidential guard unit] has taken The Monitor newspaper and its news coordinator, Octavin Williams, to court on charges of "actions for damages for wrong".

According to the writ of summons, the plaintiff complained that the defendants contrived and published an article in The Monitor on 11 April 2013 entitled "Ellen's Presidential Banjo." The writ claimed that the newspaper made unfounded claims that the shortage of vehicles at the EPS warranted the Deputy Director, Nyekah, to use his wife's car for official purposes, whilst his boss, Othello Warwick, was transferring money for medical checkup[s] and vacation[s] to his family in the U.S.A.

According to the writ of summons, the plaintiff is claiming US $1 million for “reckless action, false, defamatory and libelous statements, maliciously contrived and published by Mr. Williams and The Monitor newspaper.”

In the [aforementioned] 11 April edition, The Monitor reported a lead story indicating that Mr. Warrick and his staff declared the official cars unroadworthy and therefore sold the vehicles to themselves for USD 100 apiece.

According to the cited news story, a total of 23 Nissan Patrol and Coaster buses were sold at US $100 per a vehicle, with the Mr. Warrick purchasing three.  

Meanwhile, the Center for Media Studies and Peace building (CEMESP) has indicated its preparedness to provide legal representation for the newspaper, through its Media Legal Defense Initiative project.

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