Former LISGIS Deputy Smith Files For: DECLARATORY JUDGEMENT By Yassah J Wright

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The former Deputy Director General for Information Coordination at the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Service (LISGIS), Wilmot Smith has filed a petition for declaratory judgement against the government of Liberia, challenging his dismissal from by former President George M. Weah. Smith said he is an eminent citizen who has served in several positions of high trust and continues to serve in the Republic of Liberia based on the reputation he had built for himself. Smith’s lawyer, Arthur T. Johnson, revealed that his client was illegally dismissal by the then President of Liberia, George M. Weah, and established credentials that are evident in his resume herein attached to form an influential part of the complaint. Smith by and through his undersigned counsel, brings this action against the government of Liberia seeking a Declaratory Judgement regarding both the constitution and statutory authorities of the President of Liberia to dismiss him (Smith) as Deputy Director of LISGIS. Smith says he was appointed by the board of directors of LISGIS, an authority delegated by their act, on June 4, 2018. Cllr. Johnson stated that the act of former President Weah, is un-statutory and unconditional. He furthered said that Weah’s action violated the act establishing LISGIS and article 89 of the Liberian constitution, which delegates authority to the National Legislature to establish autonomous agencies and thereby create autonomy. “To dismiss the one who occupies a position, it must be for cause but the act of LISGIS does not grant power to the President of Liberia to dismiss Smith as Deputy Director but rather it is the board of LISGIS” Cllr. Johnson noted. He said the act creating LISGIS is in line with article 89 of constitution of Liberia and this makes the act constitutional and autonomy constitutional under Liberian law and for the President to claim dismissal of the Deputy Director of LISGIS Smith, for cause in the absence of the due process of law is a violation of chapter 3, article 20, of the constitution of Liberia. Cllr. Johnson noted that by the standard of the provision of the constitution, institutions or agencies created by the Legislature and given tenure status are constitutional and removal of any official from any of these positions must be for cause consistent with due process or removal after the tenure period expires is the only constitutional and legal means. Smith’s lawyer further said in the instant case, the facts revealed that the government of Liberia strictly violated the constitution and the act creating LISGIS to dismiss the Deputy Director. Cllr. Johnson noted that the act of the former President Weah to dismiss Smith claiming his action was for cause in which he (Smith) was never accorded due process of law is a violation of section 50A.4(1) and (2) of the act of LISGIS. The lawyer representing the former Deputy Director of LISGIS furthered that the provision only gives the President of Liberia, which includes the former President Weah, the authority to initially appoint both members of the board of LISGIS and the director general from the date that LISGIS act was passed and creating the said institutions in 2004. Cllr. Johnson revealed that all subsequent appointments of the members of the board and director general and deputy director general are vested in the power of the board of directors of LISGIS. He stated that after the passage of LISGIS act, it was the previous President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who made such an appointment and since that requirement of the statute of LISGIS was met, no subsequent President of Liberia has that authority to remove or dismiss the director general, deputy director and including members of the board of directors of LISGIS, for this gross violation of the statue. “The right of the Deputy Director (Smith) has been violated and he continues to suffer from the said illegal and wrongful dismissal or removal by former President Weah” Cllr. Johnson stated. He narrated that the statute cited by former President Weah to dismiss the Deputy Director of LISGIS is unconditionally vague and cannot provide a valid basis for dismissal, adding that the principles of justice and fairness required that Smith’s wrongful dismissal be rectified. Cllr. Johnson argued on the petition that it is the right of Smith to file a petition before a court of records, to request the court to declare his client the right under the statute which states that “it is the petitioner’s right of this court to prohibit the government of Liberia from proceedings, which is cited in the Liberian code of law revised, volume 1, title 1, of the civil procedure law of Liberia, chapter 43, section 43.1”. Cllr. Johnson prayed the court that for this violation of the law by the government of Liberia, the court is most respectfully requested to declare the right of the Deputy Director of LISGIS (Smith), on the action of the government of Liberia, declare the rights of his client and return to status quo ante and rule on the Declaratory Judgement in their favor against the government. However, the Civil Law Court Judge Golda Bonah Elliott, summoned the government of Liberia, on June 29, 2024, for hearing into this matter. Judge Elliott further said that failure for the government of Liberia to attend this summons, default judgment will be rendered against them.

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