The Sarpo ethnic group, which is accounting for 1.3 percent of the 5.2 million of the country’s population from recently held National Population and Housing Census (NPHC), has sued the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), in the Civil Law Court for “Declaration Judgment.”

The lawsuit against the bank was a result of the bank’s failure to insert the cultural masks representing the tribe on the specimen of the 1000 Liberian dollar bank note.

The Sarpo tribal group is the second largest tribe next to the Kru tribe covering over six sections in Sinoe County.

The bank did not insert the cultural masks that represent the tribe on the L$1000 as was done with other tribes of Liberia.

According to the Sarpo people, the bank allegedly failed to recognize the tribe among the 16 tribes that are recognized and their cultural masks are adorned on the Liberian Dollar bank notes but with that has not being the case with the Sarpos.

Because of this, Civil Law Court’s Resident Judge, Kennedy Peabody, has summoned the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL’s) Governor, Aloysius Tarlue, to appear before it on or before this Saturday, September 2nd, 2023.

In the writ issued by the court, it commanded the sheriff for Montserrado County, “You are hereby commanded to summons the above named defendant(s) or respondent(s) in the above captioned case to appear before the  Sixth Judicial  Circuit, Civil Law Court for Montserrado County, sitting in its June term A.D 2023, on the third Monday in June, A.D 2023, at the hour of 10: A.M., to answer to the complaint or petition of  the above named plaintiff (s) or petitioner (s); that upon his, her or their failure, judgment by default will be rendered against him, her or them.”

It continued: “You are further commanded to notify the said defendant(s) or respondent(s) to file his, her or their formal appearance and or answer in my office on or before the second day of September, A.D. 2023.”

The writ was received and signed by Doris M. Dweh, Executive Secretary to the governor on Wednesday, August 23.

The writ derived from 12 counts brought against the bank by the petitioners through their legal interest the Gongloe and Associates Incorporated in Monrovia.

In their petition, the Sarpo tribe, which is the second largest next to the Kru tribe in Sinoe County, said that the bank was fully aware and had reason to know that the Sarpo tribe is one of the 17 tribes in Liberia prior to the printing of the new L$1000 bank note.

Quoting the 2008 Population Census, Liberia has 17 tribes and Sarpo constitutes 1.2 percent of the population, which is the latest tribe that has been added in acknowledgement of the fact.

Furthermore, government through the Ministry of Education has revised and updated its history and civic curriculum with the Sarpo tribe now added as one of the 17 tribes of Liberia.

Historicizing, the petitioners say three separate maps of Liberia drawn in 1937, 1849 and 1862 recorded the Sarpo as a tribe in Liberia.

Additionally, Professor Willie Shultz, author of The New Geography of Liberia published in 1973 and approved to be taught in all Liberian schools, also mentioned in his book that Krah, Grebo and Sarpo tribes crossed the Sassandra River in Ivory Coast to settle in present day Liberia.

As such, the petitioners request the court to ruled and declared that they as citizens or a tribal group of Liberia have the rights to be recognized just as other sixteen tribes are recognized and their cultural masks are adorned on the L$1000 bank note.

The tribal people petition is been supported or backed by a resolution from signatories of the submitting Chairperson, Kpanyoun Philip Wakocco, and General Secretary, Siah C. Chen respectively.

Others were Joe S. Nyenpan, Chairman of Wedjah; Polaty Polson as Chairman of Juarzon; Philip S. Doe as Chairman of Seekon; Milton Jargbah as Chairman of Putu; Robert Kumorteh as Chairman of Numopoh; and Quiah S. Wylie as Chairman of Carbadae all for the Monrovia based community.

While for the Sarpo youth based in Monrovia and its surroundings or environs, those who were Robert C. Toteh of Seekon; Linda Quiah of Numopoh; Emmanuel Tugbah of Juarzon; Prince Teiah of Wedjah; Emmerson Saydee of Carbadae; and Darius Lewis.

Most importantly, the petition was approved by the Sarpo Appoliebo Development Organization (SADO) of Liberia, and by extension in the Diaspora National Chairman, George Garteh, and Tribal Governor, Theresa Wylie respectively.

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