CENTAL Urges Pres. Boakai to reconsider his Decision to Appoint Individuals Whose Appointments to the LTA Sparked Controversy Leading to the Supreme Court’ Ruling.

May 2, 2024 - 13:34
May 2, 2024 - 13:39
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CENTAL Urges Pres. Boakai to reconsider his Decision to Appoint Individuals Whose Appointments to the LTA Sparked Controversy Leading to the Supreme Court’ Ruling.

By: Blamo N. Toe/Contributing Writer

Monrovia: The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia, (CENTAL) has urged President Boakai to reconsider his decision to appoint the very individuals whose appointments to the LTA sparked the controversy leading to the Supreme Court’ ruling.

Recently, President Joseph suspended Garrison Yealue, Chairperson, and Elizabeth Dorkin, Commissioner of the Governance Commission with immediate effect for activities inconsistent with the Act creating the institution.

The Liberian Leader also suspended Edwina Zackpah, Israel Akinsanya, Zotawon Titus, James Gbarwea, and Osborne Diggs, Chairperson and Commissioners respectively of the Liberia Telecommunication Authority for allegations of questionable financial transactions and other malpractices at the Authority and mandated the General Auditing Commission to investigate the named persons.

Addressing a news conference Tuesday, April 30, 2024 in Monrovia, the Executive Director of CENTAL, Anderson D. Miamen said the institution believes that the President’s unlawful decision sends a very wrong signal about his dedication to the rule of law, especially in this instant case.

He called on the Liberian Chief Executive to genuinely accord tenured officials, substantive due process and not a mere procedural one that helps attain his goal of replacing tenured officials, noting that such is important if the Supreme Court’s ruling must be sincerely respected and upheld.

As the office of the Ombudsman was established, Mr. Miamen encouraged the government of Liberia to provide it with the needed financial, logistical and other support to commence full operation.

According to him, this includes alleged violation of the Code of Conduct by the chairperson of the Governance Commission and other similarly-situated tenure officials, especially during the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.

The CENTAL boss recounted that on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, President Joseph N. Boakai nominated several individuals to the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), the Governance Commission (GC), National Lottery Authority (NLA), and the National Identification Registry (NIR), all of which are already occupied by officials protected by tenure.

Following a wave of public backlash over the decision, Cllr. Bushuben Keita, Legal Advisor to President Boakai referenced constitutional powers of the President to appoint and dismiss those in the Executive Branch by “will and pleasure”.

Anderson Miamen recalled that on February 22, 2024, CENTAL voiced disappointment over the action of the President citing disregard for relevant laws.

CENTAL argued that tenure security is a settled matter and that interference with it in the form of appointments to positions of active tenures were unlawful.

“Thankfully, in its April 25, 2024 ruling on the matter, the Supreme Court of Liberia upheld its previous decisions on the matter, noting that President Boakai did not act in line with law,” Mr. Miamen said.

He stressed that barely 24 hours after public acceptance of the Court’s ruling; President Boakai suspended the Chair of the Governance Commission and the entire Board of Commissioners of the LTA.

The Liberian Leader also appointed acting Board of Commissioners Abdullah Kamara, Patrick Honnah, Clarence Massaquoi, Ben Fofana, and Angela Bush, the very individuals earlier nominated against which the court ruled.

“We are deeply concerned over these developments, including suspension of the very officials who won the lawsuit against the government of Liberia,” the CENTAL Executive Director indicated.

He noted that while CENTAL acknowledges the powers of the President to suspend officials of government involved in corruption and other suspicious dealings, it believes such powers must not be exercised as part of a scheme to accomplish an agenda.

The CSO actor further expressed concern over the manner and form audits and investigations are being treated to get rid of those suspected to be political opponents, especially in this instant case.

CENTAL believes that a true fight against corruption should be holistic or dispassionate and not one that sets out to find fault at all costs to settle scores for political and other reasons.

“We are on record calling out the suspended Chairman of the Governance Commission, Atty. Garrison Yealue for his active role played during the 2023 election campaign, whilst still serving at the GC,” he emphasized.

He stressed that even as CENTAL criticized Atty. Yealue’s actions and it does not believe he should continue to head the GC, the institution holds the position that his removal from office must not be arbitrary, but lawful—be in line with established legal procedures, including due process.

“But as with the other affected tenure positions, it appears that audits or investigations commissioned by the President do not seek to accord those investigated substantive due,” Mr. Miamen intimated.

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