‘Bus’ Stops At Judiciary

By: R. Joyclyn Wea

MONROVIA-The Government of Liberia is expected to remove harmonization weight on judges and magistrates across the 15 counties; this means that judges and magistrates will no longer be affected by the government’s salary cut or harmonization exercise.

The process, according to Eva Morgan Mappy, outgoing president of the National Association of Trial Judges in Liberia, will take effect this new budget year.

Judge Mappy made the disclosure at the 9th National Conference of the National Association of Trial Judges (NATJ L) of Liberia which climaxes with the election and subsequent installation of new corps of officers to run the affairs of the association for the next two years.

The NATJL is a corporate entity composed of all judges and Magistrates within the Judiciary Branch of Government.

Delivering her final message as outgoing President of the NATJL over the weekend, Judge Mappy stressed the need for judges and magistrates to be granted duty-free privileges, housing, and other benefits similar to privileges enjoyed by the other branches of government.

Judge Mappy lauded the Supreme Court, the Executive and Legislature Branches of Government for their roles in helping to resolve the significance of the harmonization issue which according to her, affected members of the organization.

“Under our leadership guidance, we endeavored to approach the issue of salary harmonization without disruption to the rule of law”. She continues, “we sustained, a targeted and disciplined methodology on the harmonization of their salaries as it has been reflected in the national budget of 2022.”

It was once reported by this institution that members of NATJL were angry over the harmonization exercise conducted by the national government through the Ministry of finance and development Planning, something that was kept under the carpet by Morgan’s leadership.

Article 72 (a) of the 1986 Constitution declares as separate and distinct the salary, allowances, and benefits of judges. The Constitution further revealed that allowances and benefits paid to Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of the subordinate courts may by law be increased, but may not be diminished except by a national law enacted by the national legislature, not shall such allowances and benefits be subjected to taxation.

She revealed that in a meeting hosted on June 12, 2021, it was disclosed that judges staged a “go-slow actions” in regards to the harmonization of their salaries and benefits.

According to her, following pause of a conceivable “go-slow actions”, her leadership engaged all relevant stakeholders and appropriate authority to ensure just recompense of their members.

Speaking further, Mappy noted that the lack of resources to satisfactorily perform their Constitutional duties, members of the “NATJL” have been collectively accused of being bribed by lawyers.

Judge Morgen, wants those involved to do due diligence before casting a wide- net of corruption allegations over all members of the NATJL in particularly the judiciary.

Judge Mappy maintains that during her presidency, the judiciary inquiry commission (JIC) in its first report, found her liable of gross ethical violations.

The association 9th conference which was climaxed with an election process brought to power Judge Nancy Finda Sammy, Resident Circuit Judge of Lofa County; Judge A .Blamo Dixon, Vice President for Judges Affairs and Resident Circuit Judge Criminal Court C, Montserrado County; Judge Kiasua Zubah, Vice President for Magistrates Affairs also Traffic Court Judge and Magistrates; Ben Barco as general secretary of the association with the host of many others.

The conference was held under the theme: “Judicial Independence, Ethics and Security, key To Stability Of The Investment Climate”.

 

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