Monrovia-April-30-2024-TNR:Liberia’s former Solicitor-General, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus has predicting a looming constitutional crisis between the Liberian judiciary and the executive branch over recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Liberia.

The former Solicitor General at the Ministry of Justice has cited the violation of the Constitution by President Joseph NyumaBoakai saying this cold likely lead to a constitutional crisis.

According to the renowned legal scholar, recent arbitrarily suspension of tenured officials of the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) and appointing the very people whose nominations sparked series of legal challenges to which the government lost to the affected LTA official are some reasons for the looming constitutional crisis.

“This is an open challenge to the rule of law and on the integrity and independence of the Liberian judiciary, Cllr. Cephus said.

“We see a gradual slide or retreat from judicial sanity to chaos and there seems quite an emboldened resolved by the executive to muzzle the Liberian judiciary and render  its judgments meaningless, he noted.

Cephus added that tThe Supreme court having declared unconstitutional the removal of tenure officials with the argument that they can only be removed for ”cause,” the executive has no other alternative but to honor the judgments of the court. To summarily suspend tenure officials and then appoint the same people whose nominations triggered the legal challenges is counterproductive and undermines the principle of coordination that ought to subsist between and amongst the three branches of the government.

He added, “I am afraid the tenure officials will run back to the Supreme Court and this is where a constitutional standoff may commence.”

Last week, following a ruling by the Supreme Court of Liberia striking President Joseph Boakai over his appointment to tenure positions in early January 2024, by ordering the withdrawal of all nominees made to positions of tenured, citing serious violation of the law of Liberia on tenure position thereby revoking the President’s nominations for tenure positions in four key agencies on account of ‘law violation and denial of due process.

The Supreme Court ruling further mandated that the heads of the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA), Governance Commission, the Liberia Lottery and the Liberia Identification Registry will retain their respective positions.

The government swiftly responded by welcoming the Supreme Court’s ruling and satisfied its fullest adherence.

The President reaffirmed his commitment to upholding the rule of law and will, therefore, honor the rulings of the High Court.  President Boakai believes that strict adherence to the rule of law is fundamental to strengthening institutions and building a vibrant democracy.

This principle, he noted, is at the core of the government’s ARREST AGENDA that focuses on Agriculture, Roads, Rule of Law, Education, Sanitation, and Tourism.

The President pointed out that the rulings of the Supreme Court also set a significant benchmark for administrative actions and the procedures leading thereto.  That benchmark, President Boakai said, will have significant implications for all government agencies and the country as a whole.

However, within less then 24hrs, President Joseph N. Boakai, suspended the entire board of commissioners at the Liberia Telecommunications Authority, in what political pundits say is a procedural precedence set by former Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2009 and George Weah in 2020.

The Liberian leader suspended the board of commissioners at the Liberia Telecommunications Authority with immediate effect and ordered the General Auditing Commission to conduct a comprehensive audit of the entity.

In a communication to the commissioners, President Boakai highlighted “questionable” financial dealings and the controversy surrounding the over 4.6 million U.S dollars headquarter project in which over 2 million was spent since last year with little to show for it.

President Boakai’s decision comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling nullifying Boakai’s appointments to tenured positions citing procedural errors.

Meanwhile, President Boakai has appointed an Acting Board of Commissioners at the LTA while the suspended commissioners undergo investigations.

Those appointed are Abdullah Kamara, Chair, Patrick Honnah, Clarence Massaquoi, Angela Bush and Ben Fofana, those of whom appointment sparked the controversy leading to the Supreme court’s ruling.

It can be recalled that former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2009, asked the LTA board of commissioners to resign or get dismissed for their contribution to the 2008/2009 budget shortfall. President Sirleaf later suspended the entire board and subjected them to investigation.

Similarly, in June 2020, former President George Weah suspended the then Chairperson of LTA Ivan Brown for “administrative reasons” among other things and asked him to turn over the entity’s assets in his possession.

In both cases, none of those suspended Commissioners in 2009 and 2020 returned following their separate investigations.

The recent argument by the new Justice Minister Oswald Tweh at the Supreme Court appears to have given a new version President Boakai’s legal advisor, Cllr. Bushuben Keita, regarding the President’s appointment and removal of tenure position holders.

While arguing before the full Bench on some of those removed by President Boakai from their tenure position as such; Minister Tweh argued that the petition was prematurely filed.

He also argued that all those tenure holders are contractors and as such if any parties who breach the agreement under the law should settle the other parties.

Justice Minister Tweh further argued before the Supreme Court that all those holding public offices is a privilege and not a right.

He added the president only nominated individuals who hasn’t been confirmed by the senate neither commissioned by the President and therefore it didn’t cause those petitioners any injuries.

“If you think government has breached your contract right, what you do is to request for your benefits and not running to court, “Justice Minister justified.

Minister Tweh was arguing on behalf of the government of Liberia in the tenured position cases– Liberia Telecommunications Authority, National Identification Registry, Liberia Lottery Authority and Governance Commission (GC)

The new Justice Minister argued that no law has been violated and he maintained that their positions that holding public office is not a right but privilege and prayed the Supreme Court to deny, dismiss and quash the peremptory Writ.

In his earlier comments, President Joseph Nyuma Boakai’sLegal Advisor, Cllr. Bushuben Keita, revealed over the weekend that the cabinet has authorized the President to scrap all tenured officials except those protected by the constitution—urging him to appoint his trusted lieutenants in those positions.

Cllr. Keita said that the decision was reached by the cabinet at its first cabinet meeting held on Friday, February 23, 2024.

“The cabinet has authorized the president, and it has been concluded as government policy that all of those tenure positions that the president will exercise his authority to appoint people in any position in the executive whether the person has tenure or not except those positions that are protected by the Constitution of Liberia,” he said.

“If the tenure was created by statute, it is a position of the government that violates article 56a,” Keita said. Keita said the cabinet has decided that those tenure positions violate Article 56a, which states:

“All cabinet ministers, deputy and assistant cabinet ministers, ambassadors, ministers and consuls, superintendents of counties and other government officials, both military and civilian, appointed by the President pursuant to this Constitution shall hold their offices at the pleasure of the President.”

He referenced two precedence cases that the Supreme Court ruled in, Martin Sallie Kollie versus Executive Branch of Government, and the LACC case filed by Edward Kla Martin on the constitutionality of articles 16.1 and 16.2 versus the new LACC Act. Citing the Supreme Court’s decision in the Edward Kla Martin, former Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission Chairperson’s case, Keita said the court ruled that tenured positions are “contracts” and as such officials holding such positions “should be paid for their unexpired terms on a case- by-case basis.”

“For example, if you went there in 2022 you have four years in 2024, and you still have another two years to go, you are terminated today, and the government owes you your two years’ pay so we will treat it as if you are serving out your term.”

“That those contracts must be respected in keeping with Article 25 of the Constitution. Therefore, for all of those tenured positions, they are considered contracts for a definite period and in all of such instances where there is employer and employee relationship established and there is an unexpired portion of the contracts the supreme court has held and we agreed that those holding tenured positions should be compensated for the unexpired term.”

The Supreme Court, he said, indicated that the tenures are contracts and those contracts must be respected in keeping with Article 25 of the Constitution. The president’s legal adviser’s comment comes after President Boakai made several appointments of officials to tenured positions where the tenures of the current officers in charge have not ended.

However, lawyers representing the petitioners said the government of President Boakai has grossly violated the rights of those occupying tenure positions.

Their respective lawyers argued those acts that established the LTA, NIR, Liberia Lottery Authority and Governance Commission were violated by President Boakai and as such the President actions should be prohibited.

  1. acheteriptvabonnement says

    I do not even know how I ended up here but I thought this post was great I do not know who you are but certainly youre going to a famous blogger if you are not already Cheers

  2. Shape Kapseln Erfahrung says

    I simply could not leave your site prior to suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard
    info a person provide on your visitors? Is going to be
    again often in order to check up on new posts

  3. erec prime says

    I was excited to discover this website. I need to to thank you for ones time for
    this fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and
    i also have you saved to fav to see new things in your site.

  4. lawnstarter amazon says

    I every time used to study article in news papers but now as I am a user of internet so from now I am using net for articles or reviews,
    thanks to web.

  5. Fitspresso Reviews says

    I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of
    your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people
    could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  6. Amazon says

    Thanks for finally writing about > Liberia News: FORMER SOLICITOR GENERAL FORESEES CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS –
    Liberia News | Stay Informed with the Latest Liberian News Today | New Republic Liberia < Loved it!

  7. brazilian wood pills says

    Your method of telling the whole thing in this post
    is genuinely pleasant, all can easily be aware of it, Thanks a lot.

    Loook into my web site :: brazilian wood pills

  8. lawnlove amazon says

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;
    ) Cheers!

  9. sight care reviews says

    Appreciate this post. Let me try it out.

  10. puravive pills says

    Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is fantastic, let alone the content!

  11. pilllow says

    Wow wonderful blog layout How long have you been blogging for you make blogging look easy The overall look of your site is great as well as the content

Comments are closed.