Land Authority Official Wrapped in Deed Forgery -As Fake Signatures of Former Foreign Ministry Officials Rejected
By: Rancy S. Teewia
Following a controversial land claim by a staff of the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) identified as Joseph P. Keller, the Archives Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has clarified the warranty deed for the property carrying the signatures of former Foreign Minister, Amb. George W. Wallace Jr., and former Director of Achieves, Mr. Jackson K. Purser, is fake and noted that the signatures reflecting on the deed were duplicated.
There have been some controversies over the ownership of the parcel of land hosting the Ann Sandell School in Paynesville, with claims by Keller of the LLA of being the owner. In furtherance of his claim, the LLA official on April 27, 2021 sued the school at the Civil Law Court demanding damages of US$45,000.
Keller then submitted a land deed that was purportedly surveyed on October 20, 2015, purchased on September 19, 2016 and probated October 20, 2020. Keller also claimed that the deed, a copy of which is in the possession of this paper, was signed by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Wallace and former Archives Director, Purser.
Based on his claim, lawyers representing the legal interest of the Ann Sandell School wrote the current Foreign Minister, Ambassador Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah Sr., for the confirmation of the signatures of former Minister Wallace and Director Purser.
Gongloe and Associates, Incorporated, which represents the legal interest of the school wrote the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “With compliments of the highest regard, we write to respectfully request your honorable office for the confirmation of the signatures that appeared on the attached document, which the party claimed to have come from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The party claimed that this document came from the Ministry with the signatures of former Minister, Hon. George W. Wallace, Jr. and the [former] Director of Archives, Mr. Jackson K. Purser.
“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing fact and circumstance, we respectfully request your honorable office to respond to our request in the shortest period to afford us the opportunity to respond to the court’s citation,” the communication from the Gongloe and Associates law office added.
Accordingly the Ministry responded to the law firm’s request through a “Certificate of non-discovery,” and disclosed that the signatures of former Minister Wallace and former Director Purser were faked.
In its response to the Gongloe & Associates law office, The Ministry wrote: “ This is to inform you that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledges receipt of a date of April 30, 2021 from Counselor Philip Y. Gongloe of the Gongloe and Associates requesting for the research and authentication of signatures of former officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, George W. Wallace, Jr., [former Minister] of Foreign Affairs and Jackson K. Purser, [former Director] of Archives that allegedly signed a warranty deed in 2006, that was reportedly issued by Sophia E. Dunbar to James Elijah Cooper registered in Volume 93-B page 197 and situated at Block No. 2-B in Paynesville and containing 1.72 lots of land of the records of Montserrado County”.
The Ministry further wrote,, “This is to further inform that a diligent search of the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was conducted, and the following was established: 1. That the signature of former Minister of Foreign Affairs George W. Wallace, Jr. is fake and not authentic; 2. That former Director of Archives, Jackson K. Purser, my predecessor, is also fake and not authentic. The Bureau of Archives therefore issues a Non-discovery of the deed herein mentioned and hopes that the information provided will satisfy your inquiry.”
On the heel of the clarification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Keller of the LLA discontinued the case at the civil law court, thus making the Ann Sandell School to remain the legitimate owner of the property.
However, on the back of this, the sticky question that remains unanswered is who faked the signatures of the top Foreign Ministry officials.
Meanwhile, the management of the school has called the attention of the District’s lawmaker, Representative Thomas P. Fallah of Montserrado County Electoral District #5, the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) the Police Academy Community through its Chairman and the District Development Council (DDC) over the act of Mr. Keller’s ‘dubious’ land claim.
The school in a statement issued at the weekend, requested the immediate dismissal of Keller and others, who were deeply involved in land issues so that they can be brought to justice so as to save the image of the LLA.