CLLR. MARTIN IN UPHILL LEGAL FRAY

…. -As Justice KabaDeclined Issuance Of Alternative Writ Of Prohibition

By: R. Joyclyn Wea

MONROVIA-Supreme Court Chamber Justice Yussif B. Kaba is said to have declined the issuance of the alternative writ of prohibition as prayed for by former Anti-Corruption Corruption Executive Director Edwin Kla Martin.

This follows a conference held with all parties on Monday, October 17, 2022.

This latest decision by the Supreme Court’s Justice-In-Chamber has allegedly given rise to another writ, this time before the full bench of that honorable court.

On October 13, 2022, Cllr. Martin filed before the High Court Chamber Justice a 28-count petition to challenge the provisions of the recent amendment of the LACC.

Martins prays the honorable court to order the issuance of an alternative writ of prohibition, restraining and enjoining the Executive Branch of Government from enforcing sections 16.1 and 16.2 of the act to amend and reinstate an act to establish and re-establish the LACC, approved on July 22, 2022 and printed into handbill on July 25, 2022 thereby upholding the approved Act of August 2008 and the provisions contained therein pursuant to which he was nominated, confirmed, appointed and commissioned as Executive Chairperson of the LACC.

The National Legislature of Liberia passed into law “An Act to Amend and Restate and Act to Establish the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and to Re-Establish the LACC” which was approved on July 22, 2022 and printed in handbill July 25, 2022.

The act at sections 3.1 and 3.2 abolished the act which established the LACC in 2008 and in its stead, established a new independent and autonomous commission in the government known as the LACC as a successor to the LACC establishment in 2008.

He holds that the amended act is a gross violation of articles 20 and 21 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia and that only the Supreme Court is empowered by law to declare said act unconstitutional.

Under the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, the power to appoint and to dismiss officials within the Executive Branch of Government is vested in the President of the Republic of Liberia and which authority must be exercised consistent and in keeping with the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia and agencies created and established by the legislature pursuant to the said constitution.

“Accordingly, the provision of section 6.10 of An Act to Amend and Restate an Act to establish the LACC and to re-establish the LACC, is a usurpation by the Liberian Legislature of the authority vested in the President of the Republic,” Cllr. Martin.

Article 20 of the 1986 Constitution provides that: “no person is to be deprived of life, liberty, security of the person, property, privilege or any other right except as the outcome of a hearing judgment as laid down in the Constitution and due process of law.”

Petitioner Martins submits that “he was nominated by the President as Executive Chairperson of the LACC to serve for a period of six years, except as otherwise provided for in the act to establish the LACC was approved August 21, 2008 and printed in handbill on August 28, 2008, specifically section 6.8.

Cllr. Martin says, he was nominated, confirmed, and appointed as Executive Chairperson of the LACC by the President in keeping with the Act to establish the LACC which was approved and printed in the handbill August 2008, therefore, can only be dismissed, considered dismissed in keeping with the provision if the herein mentioned act.

The LACC boss maintained that his July 15, 2021 tenure as Chairperson of the LACC runs up to and including July 14, 2026, consistent with the 2008 act creating the LACC.

He informed the High Court that co-respondent, the Ad Hoc Committee setup by the President, published a vacancy announcement in the FrontPage Africa Newspaper vol. 16 No. 187, Friday, September 30, 2022, announcing vacancies for the positions of the executive chairperson or Chief Executive, Executive Vice Chairperson and commissioners for the LACC.

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