Liberia News: MORE DRAMA OVER TENURE POSITIONS SAGA

By: R. Joyclyn Wea

Monrovia-March-1-TNR:In light of the absence of the Ministry of Justice, the prosecutorial branch of the executive branch, the Chamber Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia has withheld tenure positions at the Governance Commission (GC), and the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA).

In an attempt to halt President Boakai’s appointee, who they believe to violate the legislation that created the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), five Commissioners of the LTA and Mr. Garrison Yealue, Chairman of the Good Governance Commission, filed a petition for a Writ of Prohibition early this week.

Due to the absence of the newly appointed Minister of Justice, Justice Yussif Kaba withheld the nomination during Thursday’s conference by issuing the Writ of Prohibition as sought.

The case appears to be taking a shift between Cllr. Edward KlaMartin, who served as the executive director of the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), and the Liberian Government relating tenure position had resurfaced, even though the high court justice-in-chamber had not announced a date to hear the matter.

In the most recent Supreme Court precedent case concerning Cllr. Martin’s tenure status, Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuo stated that, except for certain circumstances specified by the constitution, no Liberian is eligible to hold any public office.

She went on to say that no public official, except for those whose positions are expressly protected by the Constitution, has a vested right to hold a public office.

Garrison Yealue, the Chair of the Governance Commission, and Israel Akinsanya, James Gharwen, Zatowon Titus, Osborne Diggs, and Edwina Crump Zackpah, the five commissioners of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority, declared President Boakai’s action to be illegal and in violation of the 2007 Liberia Telecommunications Authority Act.

According to Cllr. Yealue, the prohibition is the proper course of action to prevent the Government of the Republic of Liberia from acting illegally by designating Prof. Alaric Tokpa as Chairman of the Commission while he is still serving out his four-year term as an autonomous agency as stipulated by Article 89 of the Liberian Constitution, which created the Governance Commission.

Simultaneously, the LTA Commissioners sought that Justice In-Chamber would approve the Writ of Prohibition, thereby stopping the Commissioners’ illegitimate dismissal and preserving the legal and fair standards.

They argued that the Liberia Telecommunications Act of 2007 prohibits the removal of a Commissioner or Chairman from office before the conclusion of their term of appointment, absent certain circumstances specified by the act. They should also mention that their term ends in December 2026.

But Article 56(a) of the Liberian Constitution from 1986 states that employees of the Executive arm of government are subject to the President’s whim and discretion.

It says that, “All government officials, both military and civilian, appointed by the President under this Constitution shall hold their offices at the pleasure of the President, including Superintendents of counties, Ambassadors, Ministers, and Consuls, Superintendents of Cabinet, and Deputy and Assistant Cabinet Ministers.”

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