“President Boakai Is In Serious Error” -Chief Justice Yuoh Says Tenures Rights Violated -By: Yassah J. Wright

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The Supreme Court of  Liberia in its ruling on the tenure saga said the tenure positions that Garrison Doldeh Yealue, Chairman Governance Commission, Andrew Peter, Executive Director, National Identification Registry, Edwina Crump Zackpah, Chairperson , Israel Akinsanya, James Gbarwea, Zatowon Titus and Osborn Diggs, Commissioners, Liberia Telecommunications Authority and Reginald Kpan Nagbe, Director General, Liberia National Lottery Authority their rights to due process was violated. Delivering the ruling, Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh, said the alternative writ of Prohibition issued by Justice in Chambers, Yussif D.Kaba, is hereby affirmed and the peremptory writ prayed for by the tenure groups is granted. Chief Justice Yuoh, stated that the nominations the President of the Republic of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai, giving rise to these petitions are hereby ordered revoked. She further ordered the clerk of the Supreme Court to inform all the parties about the court mandate accordingly. The Chief Justice noted that there being no showing of the existence of any of the condition for the tenure who is the petitioner removal from office as stipulated in the acts creating the respective entities to which the tenure are appointed. “Their said removal from office prior to the expiry of their tenure without due process is ultra vires,” Chief Justice Yuoh stressed. She said the Supreme Court has held that Article 89 of the constitution of Liberia (1986), which gives Legislature the authority to create autonomous agencies does not contravene Article 56 the constitution. She revealed that the act by President Boakai, in nominating persons to tenure position who are the petitioners to the positions while their tenures are still in force and unexpired is tantamount their removal from office. When the case was called for hearing, Counselors James N. Kumeh, Arthur T. Johnson, Samuel Y. Zazay, Alexander B. Zoe and Fredrick L. Gbemie, appeared for the tenures while Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Liberia, N. Oswald Tweh, J. Adolphus Karnuah was represented by the government of Liberia. It can be re-called that Governmental institutions at the center of this controversy are the Governance Commission (GC), National Identification Registry (NIR), Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), Liberia Lottery Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The highest court in the country heard arguments from both government lawyers and the petitioner lawyers on March 28, 2024. The pending opinions have sparked out debate among some lawyers with some saying prohibitions will hold which means those who petitioned the high court will be right while others are saying that the President didn’t commit any wrong by appointing people in those tenure positions. Justice Minister Tweh further argued before the Supreme Court that all those holding public offices is a privilege and not a right. He added the president only nominated individuals who hasn’tbeen confirmed by the senate neither commissioned by the President and therefore it didn’t cause those petitioners any injuries. “If you think government has breached your contract right, what you do is to request for your benefits and not running to court, “Justice Minister justified. Minister Tweh was arguing on behalf of the government of Liberia in the tenured position cases- Liberia Telecommunications Authority, National Identification Registry, Liberia Lottery Authority and Governance Commission (GC)

The new Justice Minister argued that no law has been violated and he maintained that their positions that holding public office is not a right but privilege and prayed the Supreme Court to deny, dismiss and quash the peremptory Writ. In his earlier comments, President Joseph Nyuma Boakai’s Legal Advisor, Cllr. Bushuben Keita, revealed over the weekend that the cabinet has authorized the President to scrap all tenured officials except those protected by the constitution–urging him to appoint his trusted lieutenants in those positions. Cllr. Keita said that the decision was reached by the cabinet at its first cabinet meeting held on Friday, February 23, 2024. “The cabinet has authorized the president, and it has been concluded as government policy that all of those tenure positions that the president will exercise his authority to appoint people in any position in the executive whether the person has tenure or not except those positions that are protected by the Constitution of Liberia,” he said.

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