“Tenure Officials Will Be Removed, Replaced, Compensated..,If” – Boakai’s Legal Advisor Discloses By: Julius Konton

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In the wake of mixed views in the political corridors of the country relative to tenure positions removal, new cabinet officials have authorized President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, in keeping with law to replace tenure officials. The first major decision by the new cabinet was reached following the end of a day long cabinet meet and greet gathering at the grounds of the Executive Mansion on Capitol Hill on Friday, February 23, 2024. Making the disclosure to Executive Mansion reporters, the legal advisor to President Boakai,  Bushuben Keita referenced Article 56a of the Liberian Constitution as their reliance for said decision.  Among other things,  Article 56a of the Liberian Constitution states that everyone who works in the Executive Branch of government serves at the will and pleasure of the President. According to him, and in keeping with the Constitution,  the President, he maintained, will exercise his authority to appoint people to any tenure position especially those tenure positions that were created by statue because he stated that they at the same time violate Article 56a of the Liberian Constitution.  Speaking further, he made mention of the Supreme Court ruling in two major cases to include; Martin S. Kollie vs Executive Branch and the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission case, the constitutionality of Article 16.1 and 2.  In the two cases, he stated that the Supreme Court ruled that tenures are contracts and those contracts must be respected in keeping with Article 25 of the Constitution of Liberia, therefore all tenure positions are considered contracts for a definite period.  Article 25 states that among other things,  the sanity of contracts must be respected and that compensation for contracts is guaranteed for tenure officials.  He stressed that under the law, unexpired portion of contracts, said official shall be compensated for the unexpired tenure. ” So we will treat it as if you serve your tenure but you can’t compel the President to keep you in your position if you do not serve at the will and pleasure of the President because by doing so, you will be in violation of Article 56a,” he explained. The legal advisor to President Boakai argued further that you can’t make a statue that attempts to contradict and or contravene the provision of the Constitution which is the higher organic legal instrument. “All those who have valid tenures and are replaced will be compensated for their unexpired portion of their tenure, “he further assured. However, he made reference to the Code of Conduct article 5.1 which states that all officials appointed by the President shall not (A) engaged into political activities, canvass or contest for any political seat or office. At the same time, they should not use government facilities or resources in support of any political party or activities which ae also forbidden. In such case, Mr. Keita indicated that any tenure official who violates the code of conduct  and abuses the public office for political reasons, he or she will be removed and will not be compensated for their  unexpired tenure. “This decision is not to witch hunt anyone but to ensure that the law is implemented as such, anyone who feels aggrieved should  take the legal means to address their issue,” he noted. Keita, at the same time, disclosed that they have video graphic and photographic evidences to prove that some tenure officials allegedly violated the code of conduct by participating into political activities contrary to the law and such people will be removed and replaced by others and will not be compensated. The decision by the Cabinet, he clarified, does not in any way mean that the government will replace all tenure positions but to say otherwise that the government reserves the right in keeping with the law to replace any tenure position or official.  At the same time, he pointed out that there will be compensation giving to tenure officials who did not violate the Constitution. “A special five- man committee which I will form a part, will be set up on a case by case basis to identify the compensation package for tenure officials based on the entity, including the unexpired tenure,” he disclosed . He said some government agencies and entities who can generate their own funding will be paid for their unexpired tenure especially for those that did not violate the constitution.  However, the government, he said, will source funding from government central revenue to pay for unexpired tenure of officials especially for entities that can’t raise their own funds. Meanwhile, Cllr. Keita said they are also working on modalities to ensure that they rewrite the House of Representatives in order to scratch out tenure positions by statue and not by Constitutional backings. As the legal debates following the disclosure by Keita widens, all eyes will be keenly watching the legal, political and all other interpretations relative to the issue which now appear to be a topical issue in the country.

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