Boakai’s Statement Of Corruption At Judiciary Places Legal Actors On Edge By: Yassah J. Wright

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During the opening of Civil Law Courts of Liberia, the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) Secretary General, Cllr. Bornor Varmah, making special reference to recent statement by President Joseph Boakai said the President accused the Judiciary of being corrupt. Varmah said when the statement was released, Chief Justice Sie-A-NyeneYuoh and other Judicial actors were unease about the statement.  “But, we must take that statement in good faith and work to address the issue of corruption in the Judiciary,” Cllr. Varmah noted. The LNBA SG said besides Pres. Boakai raising the issue, “If we were to read various assessments reports from international organizations, they all point to massive corruption in the Liberian Judiciary.” Cllr. Varmah indicated that corruption is becoming problematic, and they are actors in the justice system must work together to resolve the issues. Cllr. Varmah emphasized that corruption in the judiciary is becoming a peril issue nothing that the only way to address the matter is to continue with the conversation between the Bar, the Supreme Court Bench and maybe the Executive to see what needs to be done. LNBA National Secretary General has observed that the practices of the rule of law in the country is drastically declining and much more needs to be done in addressing the issues. Cllr. Varmah stated that to resolve the matter, it will take the collective obligation of all stakeholders in finding a proper solution to the problem. “In the wisdom of the Bar, it will take the obligation of all actors whether the Supreme Court, that is responsible for the 1986 constitution, which run down to your authority as Circuit Judges, whether the Bar, the Executive and the Legislature, we are all responsible and I think we all can do better,” Cllr. Varmah suggested. He, however, said if the judiciary is not adequately financed then the situation will continue to exist.  “If the work of the Judiciary is not supported, your work will not be enhanced,” The Bar Secretary told judges. He added,” So; the Bar is encouraging National government to do the needful to ensure that there is productivity and efficiency on the part of the Judiciary.” LNBA Secretary General stated. Cllr. Varmah praised Judges of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Civil Law Court for Montserrado County for been very efficient and productive in dispensing the law without fear or favor within the Judiciary. Judge Golda A. Bonah Elliott of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Civil Law Court for Montserrado County, delivering her opening address for the March A. D. 2024 Term, said during December A. D. 2023 Term, there were three hundred and fifty (350) hearings in matters pending before the court. According to her, most of these hearings centered upon the disposition of law issues, motion for investigative survey, and Divorce and its related matters, child custody and Summary Proceedings against Magistrates. Judge Elliott admonished lawyers to file their legal memorandum for the disposition of law issues and do the filing before the date of the hearing.  She noted that this will enables the court to make determination on the law issues on the day of the hearing instead of postponing any ruling for a subsequent date. The Judge recounted that at the opening of the December A. D. 2023 Term of the court, she promised to dispense justice in an expeditious and fair manner, in ensuring that the rights are timely adjudicated, as required by the Constitution. “We must all work together in ensuring that the perception of a corrupt Judiciary is simply a mere fallacy, together and with cooperation, we can achieve so much during this term of court. May God grant us the serenity to the things we cannot changes; the courage to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference,” Judge Elliott noted.

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