March 24, 2023

Civil Law Court Denies Manubah Co-Ownership of LEAD MFA

Monrovia- On January 11, 2023, the Civil Law Court of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Montserrado County issued a decision rejecting Sekou Dgeorges Manubah’s request for a declaratory ruling regarding his rights to employment and joint ownership of assets owned by LEAD Monrovia Football Academy (LEAD MFA). Manubah was an incorporator/co-founder and director of football of LEAD MFA, which is in the business of developing a generation of moral, compassionate, and enterprising Liberians, until his expulsion by more than two-thirds of the board of directors.

He prayed for a declaratory judgment in the petition, claiming that his rights as an incorporator and/or member of the board of directors were violated by his removal as director of football and member of the board of directors on September 15, 2022, against respondents Clara Doe Mvogo and Musa Shannon of the LEAD MFA. The Ministry of Labor (first instance) and the National Labor Court (second instance), according to the court’s final decision by Judge Ousman F. Feika, are the appropriate courts to decide rights arising from an employee-employer relationship.

Feika further found that Manubah was dismissed from the board as a member because the removal was approved by eight of the board’s nine original members, and a majority. Judge Feika also recalled that Manubah was suspended by the board on August 1, 2022, in accordance with the findings of an investigation, following its discovery of information about an observation of Manubah’s irregular conduct of LEAD MFA’s affairs and interactions with third parties, including students and staff. Manubah rejected all of the accusations made against him, but the board nonetheless retained the services of an impartial attorney, Attorney Tonia A. Gibson, who conducted the inquiry from August 15 to August 26, 2022, with at least 19 people being interviewed.

According to Judge Feika, LEAD MFA is a not-for-profit corporation that may be established by three or more people for any legitimate purposes including those that are religious, patriotic, professional, scientific, charitable, social, educational, athletic, or cultural, and that clearly state that they do not contemplate the distribution of gains, profits, or dividends to their members.

He argued that as the properties were not bought for the benefit of the members and could never be transferred in the event of a removal or dissolution, Manubah’s allegations that the properties and assets obtained by LEAD MFA should be dispersed were illegal. Judge Feika reminded Manubah’s attorneys, citing Associations Law of Liberia Chapter Six, that all corporate powers must be exercised by, or under the supervision of, and that every corporation’s business and affairs must be managed by a board of directors. If the articles of incorporation or bylaws so provide, any or all of the directors may be removed without cause by a vote of the shareholders.

Directors may be dismissed with or without cause by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the directors currently in office at any regular or extraordinary meeting at which a quorum, as defined in these bylaws and constitution, is present, according to Section 2.9 of LEAD MFA’s bylaws and constitution. Judge Feika denied and completely dismissed Manubah’s request for a declaratory judgment on the grounds that the Ministry of Labor is the appropriate forum with the legal authority to exercise such jurisdiction, and that Manubah’s removal as a board member was done in accordance with the Associations Law and LEAD MFA’s bylaws and constitution.

In 2015, the Liberian nonprofit LEAD MFA was established. The goal of LEAD MFA is to develop future leaders in Liberia by providing top-notch instruction and professional soccer coaching. The organization is totally managed by Liberians, Eight people from Liberia and the US make up the board of directors of LEAD MFA, including social entrepreneurs, celebrities, academics, and donors.

LEAD MFA will have 155 full-time student-athletes from grades 3 through 11 in the 2022–23 school year. These athletes range in age from 8 to 18. LEAD MFA will operate from its 10-acre residential campus in Careysburg, Liberia.

Reported by: Sylvester Tamba

Contact: +231776687195

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