Holding Public Office is Not A Privilege

-Supreme Court Tells LACC Boss, Dismisses Appeal

By: R. Joyclyn Wea

MONROVIA-The Supreme Court of Liberia says holding public office is a privilege and not a constitutional right as it disagreed with the LACC boss that Sections 16.1 and 16.2 of the new LACC Act violate his constitutional right.

It can be recalled, Edwin Kla Martin, following the passage of the New LACC act by the National Legislature filed before the Honorable Supreme Court a petition for the writ of prohibition and seeking interpretation of the constitutionality of Sections 16.1 and 16.2 of the act to amend and restate an act to establish the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and to re-establish the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, approved on July 22, 2022, and printed in handbill on July 25, 2022.

Having carefully examined the facts contained in the records, listened to the arguments on both sides, and considered the laws relevant thereto, the high court denied Cllr. Martin’s petition.

Rendering opinion on behalf of the Court, Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh said the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) being a creature of the Legislative Branch of Government, the Legislature has the unquestionable power to amend, modify or abolish the LACC as deemed expedient in the interest of the State; and its action cannot be said to violate the Constitution;

Justice Yuoh noted that Martin and other Commissioners still occupying and maintaining their respective positions and enjoying all of the associated benefits and immunities cannot be said to have been removed from office.

As the transitional tenure provisions of Sections 16.1 and 16.2 are futuristic, Yuoh indicated that the petitioner’s petition is prematurely filed, however, should it become necessary to terminate the services of the petitioner and others similarly situated before the expiration of their contractual rights, the sanctity of contract as enshrined in the Constitution should be given due consideration; and “That no public official has vested right to a public office except for those officers or offices that are clearly and expressly protected by the Constitution, which is not the case in the present petition,” she added.

The Chief Justice further mentioned that it sees no attempt by the Legislature to ascribe to itself executive power rather, it performs constitutional authority vested in it by Article 89.

Assuming without admitting, Justice Yuoh holds that Martin does not have the proper authority to challenge the authority of the Legislature and raise issues on behalf of the Executive.

Meanwhile, the Clerk of that Honorable Court has been ordered to inform the parties in these proceedings of the decision of this Court. Costs are disallowed.

Comments are closed.