Liberia News: Rule of Law under Attack

…As Boakai Disrespects S/Court Ruling

Monrovia-April-29-2024-TNR: Barely seventy-two hours after the Supreme Court ruling ordering President Joseph Nyumah Boakai to withdraw his nominees to Tenure positions where they were earlier nominated, but the Liberian leader decided to disrespect the High Court ruling and downplay the rule of law despite welcoming their opinions.

In a press release issued on April 26, 2024, President Boakai suspended with immediate effect, Madam Edwina C. Zackpah, Mr. Israel Akinsanya, Mr. Zotawon D. Titus, Mr. James Gbarwea, and Mr. Osborne K. Diggs, Chairperson and Commissioners respectively of the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) for allegations of questionable financial transactions and other malpractices at the Authority.

The President has requested a comprehensive audit of the LTA by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to investigate the allegations at the Authority.  He urged the suspended officials to cooperate fully with the GAC as they undertake the investigation.

The Liberian leader expressed confidence that the investigation would reveal any financial impropriety and help identify corrective measures to prevent such occurrences in the future. The LTA is a critical institution responsible for regulating the telecommunications sector in the country and the institution should uphold high standards of integrity and accountability in carrying out its mandate.

Political pundits say the suspension of the Chairperson and Commissioners is a clear indication of the President’s confidence in his Administration’s commitment to ensuring that the LTA operates in the best interest of the Liberian people.

The President has emphasized that the Government is committed to promoting transparency and accountability in all sectors and urged all public officials to uphold the highest standards of integrity and accountability in carrying out their duties to the Liberian people.

At the same time, President Boakai has also suspended with immediate effect the Chairperson of the Governance Commission Garrison Yealue for being in violation of the Governance Commission Act pending the conclusion of the investigation. President Boakai has at the same time set up a committee to investigate the matter.

President Boakai came to power on the ARREST Agenda which stands for Agricultural, Road, Rule of Law and Tourism. With his ARREST Agenda in which he clearly highlighted the rule of law as being one of his pillars of his government, critics say the rule of law has been buried without regard.

The Supreme Court of Liberia has earlier ordered President Joseph Nyumah Boakai to withdraw his nomination made to four of the five controversial tenure positions on Wednesday April 24,2024 ruling.

However, the public has raised serious concerns as to why Commissioners of the LTA should be suspended during the conduct of the General Audit Commission when audit is a usual procedure that is always done. Some members of the public said it’s a witch hunt by President Boakai to heads of the LTA and Governance Commission be removed. Why some members of the said, the action by President Boakai is not different from others past leaders even though he came to rescue.

When President Boakai took office in January 2024, he relied on Article 56 of the Liberian Constitution to remove the heads of four autonomous agencies who the Legislature has granted tenure authorities. Governmental institutions in the controversy are Governance Commission (GC), National Identification Registry (NIR), Liberia Lottery Authority (LLA), Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to President Boakai, those tenure officials are members of the Executive Branch of Government and therefore serve at the will and pleasure of the President. Article 56 (a) says, “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.”

However, the Justices in a unanimous decision, ruled that Article 89 of the Liberian Constitution authorized the Legislature to create other agencies as may be necessary for the effective operations of government and enact laws for their governance.

“The Legislature acted within the scope of its authority in enacting laws for its governance including the provisions of tenure,” the Court further ruled.

According to the Judgment, an Act passed by the Legislature is presumed to be constitutional unless the contrary is clearly shown; that is presumed to have acted constitutionally in passing a statute and that courts must start out with the presumption that is constitutional and valid and that every intendment is in favor of the validity of the statute; in addition to the conferred constitutional power to enact laws for the government of the autonomous commissions named under the Constitution, the Legislature was given additional power to create other agencies may be necessary for the effective operation of government.

The ruling further that at the time of establishing the three autonomous commissions in 1986, the framers of the Constitution did not and could not have thought of all the relevant autonomous commissions for the effective operations of government, so they empowered the Legislature to act when the need arises to create additional autonomous commissions.


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