By: R. Joyclyn Wea

Monrovia-Through the Supreme Court of Liberia, the judiciary branch of government has rejected a US$17 million appropriation in the 2024 fiscal budget intended for its operations.

The judiciary views as an imposition by both the legislative and the executive branches of government on a co-equal branch of the government the allocation of $17 million and a one-off contingency amount of $3 million constituting 2.8 percent of this year’s national envelope.

In a communication of June 5, 2024, the high court said it is not prepared to accept such appropriation from the other two branches of government, and therefore called for immediate actions to address this grave issue.

Before now, Chief Justice Sie-a-Nyene Yuoh took a stand not to appear before the national legislature to defend her budget because the legislature and the president cannot justify their budget, and as such the judiciary wouldn’t do so going forward.

To avoid any further obstruction of judicial functions, the judicial branch of government recommends the need to revisit the budget submission presented to the legislature through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning by Chief Justice Yuoh per the financial autonomy act of the new judiciary

While the Supreme Court acknowledges and upholds the power bestowed upon the legislature to make appropriation for the fiscal governance of the republic as enshrined in article 34 (d) of the 1986 Liberian constitution, the court communication said, “This court has also upheld the long-standing principle of constitutional interpretation which states in part the constitution must be interpreted in light of the entire document rather than a sequestrated pronouncement as every provision of the constitution is of equal importance.”

The communication furthers that “None of the provisions of the constitution should be interpreted to nullify or substantially impair the other provisions.

It added: “It is within this legal context that Chapter VII of the Liberian constitution and the supporting statutes within the new judiciary law impose a legal obligation upon the judicial branch to effectively and efficiently manage the Supreme Court of Liberia and all of its administrative units 22 circuit courts across the 15 political subdivisions of this country along with its judges and staff 75 specialized courts across the 15 political subdivisions of this country with their judges and staff as well as 160 magisterial courts also across the 15 political subdivisions of this country with their magistrates and staff to ensure that the rule of law prevails within the borders of our country.”

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