-Chief Justice Alarms
By Esau J. Farr
Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor has described as an ‘attack on justice’ in Liberia, reported plan by members of the National Legislature to establish a legislative committee that will have direct oversight of the Judiciary of the country.
Cllr. Francis Saye Korkpor
Cllr. Korkpor spoke Monday October 8, 2018 when he officially declared the October 2018 Term of Court of the Supreme Court of Liberia opened.
“We have heard a call or proposal for the establishment of a Judicial Oversight Committee within the Legislature. What surprises me is that the call is being made from an unlikely source. We shall say more on this at the appropriate time not in the too distant future,”.
He however urged party litigants not to have any fear in dispensing justice as long it is in line with the laws of Liberia.
The Oversight Committee, when established will give lawmakers some responsibility over the country’s judicial system
According to the Chief Justice, when established, such committee will directly be an assail (attack) on the doctrine of the Separation of Power as enshrined in the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
Interestingly though, the Chief Justice’s statement was delivered in the full glare of President George Manneh Weah, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Senator Albert Chie and House Speaker, Dr. Bhofal Chambers, all of whom were in attendance for the official opening ceremony of court matters for the October Term of Court in Liberia under the CDC led government.
The full presence of officials of other branches of government, prompted the Chief Justice to term it as “strange and the first of its kind in the history of the Judiciary.”
Despite the statement from the Chief Justice of the land that left many murmuring and whispering in the ears of each other, neither the President nor any of his subordinates made any formal statement at the occasion, which was also witnessed by the admission of former Sinoe County Senator, Cllr. Joseph Nagbe as the newest member on the Supreme Court Bench as Associate Justice, who replaced retired Associate Justice Philip A.Z. Banks.
Retired Justice Banks was appointed to the Supreme Court Bench in 2010 by the former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He retired on August 7, 2018 after reaching the age of 70.
Several legal luminaries commenting on the retirement of Justice Banks stated he is one of the country’s outstanding legal scholars, who had contributed immensely to the country’s legal system.
For Banks, he stated prior to his retirement that though he will be retiring, he would still remain active in the legal profession.
Article 72 (b) of the 1986 Constitution provides that Chief Justice, Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of subordinate courts of records should retire after reaching the age of 70.
The Chief Justice congratulated Associate Justice Nagbe for his appointment and welcomed him to the ranks and files of the high court of the land saying, the former Sinoe County Senator is a Counselor, who has practiced law for many years and that he was coming to the Supreme Court with a wealth of experience from the Legislature where he also served for many years.
The former Sinoe County Senator before becoming a member of the Liberian Senate served at the House of Representatives where represented his district in Sino.