By: R. Joyclyn Wea
MONROVIA-Seven indicted executives of the CDC-COP are questioning the legal standing of two government lawyers to prosecute them over their inhuman treatment against members of the Student Unification Party (SUP), a University of Liberia student-based group.
According to the defendant’s lawyer Arthur Johnson, both Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh, Assistant Minister for Litigation and Atty. Dexter Puieyoe, City Solicitor is not licensed, and not in good standing with the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA).
Johnson further pleaded with magistrate Jorma Jallah to throw the two lawyers out as the law in this jurisdiction provides that for one to be fit to practice before the Supreme Court and other courts in Liberia said person must be licensed.
The defendants’ counsel holds that in order for the two government prosecutors to adequately present the case on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, the law says they should present their license for this year.
“There is a famous principle of law that states, one who preaches equity must come with a clean hand; counsel brings to the attention of counsel copy license number 22-0222 official number assigned him authorizing him to practice law before any court in the country,” Johnson Bragged.
In resistance, the government’s lawyers admitted that they are yet to receive their license due to an issue beyond their control.
Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh informed the court that contrary to Arthur Johnson’s assertion of them being in non-compliance, the government in March 2021, paid the license fees of all prosecuting attorneys and lawyers as a result of a tax waiver of license or LRA fees which was waved by the national government.
Wesseh also revealed that the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance had made available the sum of US$18,000.00 dollars into the LNBA’s account settling the due of over 64 government lawyers, but said they are yet to receive their licenses.
He further argued that assuming that was the case, they as Government’s lawyers are not subjected to such, on grounds that government cannot pay taxes to itself.
The Assistant Minister for Litigation pleaded with Magistrate Jorma Jallah to quash and deny submission made by the defendant’s counsel on grounds that were the court to boot the government’s lawyers out as prayed for by the defendants, it is almost equal to denying the defendants fair trial.
This plea of the government’s lawyers was granted by the court, with a promise to check the information provided.