By R. Joyclyn Wea

Monrovia:The Supreme Court of Liberia will tomorrow January 9, 2024, entertain a legal argument into a petition for a Writ of Prohibition prayed for by some executives of the incoming government (Unity Party).

An alternative writ of prohibition was recently granted by Her Honor Jamesetta Howard-Wolokollie, Chamber Justice of the Supreme Court who on 3rd January issued a mandate setting Tuesday as a date to listen to all sides to give their positions on the petition.

Justice Wolokollie further mandated the Liberian Senate to respond on or before Tuesday’s legal argument. The 54th Legislature will conclude official business on Tuesday, the same date scheduled for argument before the high court, which indirectly implies that the august body cannot proceed with Cllr. Dean’s nomination hearing until after the Tuesday appearance at the honorable court.  

It could also mean that the outgoing Justice Minister stands a slim chance of appearing before the Senate for confirmation hearing.

Article 72 (b) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia provides that the Chief Justice, Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, and Judges of subordinate courts of records shall retire at the age of seventy provided that a Justice or Judge who has attained that age may continue in office as long as may be necessary to enable him or her to render judgment or perform any other judiciary duty with proceedings entertained by him or her before he or she obtains that age.”

Associate Justice  Joseph Nagbe on December 21, 2023, communicated with Her Honor Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia requesting an early retirement due to poor health that has impeded his activeness on the full bench of the Liberian Supreme Court.

Early retirement, also according to Article 13 Section 13.4 of the New Judiciary Law, provides that issues growing out of the judiciary are cognizable before the judiciary and not the executive branch.

With that coupled with 26 days to the transition of the government elect, President George Weah nominated Frank Musa Dean, Justice Minister and Attorney General of the Republic of Liberia something many consider a violation and hasty on the part of the outgoing President with many calling on the Senator not to proceed with said nomination hearing.  

Some of those challenging the President’s action on  the legal team of the Unity Party including Cllr. Cooper Kruah, J. Johnny Momoh, Neto Zarzar Lighe, Milton D. Taylor, T. Emmanuel Tomah, Emmanuel A. Tulay, and Moiffie Kanneh.

Party team of lawyers filed before the High Court Chamber Justice a sixteen-count petition seeking to restrain the National Legislature specifically the House of the Liberian Senate from proceeding with the nomination hearing of Frank Musa Dean, Associate Justice designated of the full bench of the nation’s highest court replacing His Honor Joseph Nagbe.

The Unity Party lawyers’ action is against a December 18, 2023 directive issued by President Weah freezing employment, borrowing, and payment of any amount beyond ten thousand United States dollars ($USD10,000.00).

The petitioner noted that while it is true the President has the constitutional mandate contained in article 54 c of the 1986 Constitution to nominate in consonant with the Senate, the communication written to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia does not in itself constitute a vacancy.

They further hold that the communication was not addressed to the President hence, the President cannot respond or take action on the issue.

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