George Boley Sues GoL for Pension Benefits

8
4311
The Plaintiff, former Vice Chairman of the Transitional Legislative Assembly, George Boley

The former Vice Chairman of the Transitional Legislative Assembly Government (TLA), now an elected member of the House of Representatives from Grand Gedeh County, Dr. George S. Boley, has sued the Government of Liberia (GoL) at the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice headquartered in Abuja, Nigeria. According to sources in Abuja, the lawsuit was filed before the ECOWAS Court towards the close of the year 2017.

Further, according to sources, the suit was filed following several alleged futile attempts by the former vice chairman of the TLA to have GoL honor its obligation to pay his pension benefits covering the period served as Vice Chairman of the Transitional Legislative Assembly Government. The lawsuit-SUIT NO: ECW/CCL/APP/46/17 names, in addition to the Republic of Liberia, several institutions as defendants. These include the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), and the Civil Service Agency (CSA) of Liberia.

It has since been pending. However, documents in possession of this newspaper show that GOL, in response to the Boley lawsuit, filed its returns on 26 January 2013, pleading with the Court for an “extension of time to permit the filing of an informed defense on its behalf in the above referenced suit”. The GoL argued that its request for an extension of time was/is pursuant to Article 35(2) of the Rules of Procedure of the ECOWAS Court, which provides that “the time limit laid down in Paragraph 1 of the Article may be extended by the President on reasoned Application by the Defendant”.

According to the GoL response, under the signature of Cllr. Augustine Fayiah, then Assistant Justice Minister for Litigation, “Article 35(2) requires that within one(1) month of service of an application, the Defendant/Respondent shall judge a defense to the Action. The Defendant/Applicant herein is however unable to file its defense within the above time limit made and provided by the Rules and Procedures of this Court due to the reasons stated infra”.

In a three (3) count position, the response in its first count stated that Defendant, the Republic of Liberia, in the said Action was at the time engaged with the electoral and subsequent inaugural activities in which the 4th Defendant, the Ministry of Justice, was engaged in activities aimed at sustaining the Peace which, according to the GOL, had been achieved through sub-regional efforts. The response furthered that a significant number of lawyers representing the Defendant had requested and were granted compulsory leave of three months’ absence to contest electoral posts.

According to the Justice Ministry, such challenges made it difficult to properly file returns; it was therefore obliged to request an extension of time. The Justice Ministry also argued that as a consequence of these developments, the ministry was constrained to assign additional lawyers to review the case file and provide defense thereto. Additionally, the Ministry maintained that such request for an extension of time was done in good faith with what it claimed was the genuine intent to promote “Due Process” of law.

However, former Assistant Justice Minister for Litigation, Augustine Fayiah, in a telephone interview with the Daily Observer, noted that the Plaintiff in this matter, former Vice Chairman of the Transitional Legislative Assembly, George Boley, had raised issues of law in his suit which, in his opinion, are genuine. He added that the Ministry of Justice was at the time drafting appropriate legislation to address this issue of pension benefits for former officials and it was being done under his watch.

He however added that drafting of the legislation was interrupted by the change in government from then President Sirleaf to now President George Weah, which saw the replacement of officials by new appointees. He could not, however, say whether the process was still on course as he was no longer serving at the Justice Ministry. When contacted to provide update on developments in the case, a key staffer at the Ministry confirmed knowledge of the case but said there was a need to refer to the Solicitor-General, who is actually in charge of the matter as the chief prosecutor of the Republic of Liberia.

But observers, commenting on the case, told the Daily Observer that the lawsuit has brought into perspective the issue of pension benefits for former government officials. A well-known lawyer (name withheld) told the Daily Observer that the absence or lack of what he called a National Claims Court, where individuals feeling aggrieved by government can take their case for redress, is one of the main reasons why such cases have gained a broad view. He noted that the Government of Liberia, particularly the past government led by President Sirleaf, was woefully remiss on this issue.

He added that rather than providing attractive salaries for GoL employees within the framework of appropriate legislation, GoL instead provided attractive US dollar benefits, which immediately comes to a halt when an individual leaves government service. In that case, according to the lawyer, the individual has to fall back on a portion of his net salary denominated in Liberian dollars, which is more than inadequate or incomparable to what was received previously in the form of benefits. He cited several cases as examples, including those of retired Justices Phillip Banks and especially Gladys Johnson, who have since retired without pension benefits.

Others, according to him, include former legislators who served under the various transitional governments and other past officials including former Commissioners of the erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Moreover, according to the lawyer, the Boley lawsuit could very well be a precursor to similar suits in the future. According to him, member states are obliged to provide local avenues of redress for people with grievances against the state and their failure to do so may lead to more of such suits, adding that the current lawsuit may just be a dress rehearsal for citizens’ legal action against their government at the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice.

He cited the case of a Nigerian national whose money was seized by officials after it was discovered that he was attempting to smuggle large amounts of undeclared foreign currency, wrapped around his body, into the country. The money was not returned to the individual after investigations showed that the money was legally his. But the individual, now an elected member of parliament in his home country, Nigeria, sued and won judgment requiring the GoL to restitute the money.

A similar case is that of the money seized from some Korean businessmen by agents of the National Security Agency (NSA), who claimed that the businessmen were involved in illegal activities. Investigations however showed that the money was illegally confiscated by NSA agents under the watch of a son of President Sirleaf, although to date, the money has still not been restituted.

Meanwhile, it can be recalled that in the dying moments of her tenure, President Sirleaf, at rather the eleventh hour, submitted to the legislature what was dubbed a pension bill for former government employees. But it was limited to her and a few individuals only. The legislature however did not pass the proposed bill into law, thus leaving former President Sirleaf for once in the cold.

8 COMMENTS

  1. This fool should be in prison eating some gari for the crimes he committed during the war in Liberia. He’s a war criminal…..but then again, it’s only in Liberia where such charlatans are elected to office.

  2. @Christopher Luke, I agree with you 100%. This destructive spawn of hell, Boley should be resting in his most deserved home, prison. But soon, all those elements of evil would be incarcerated and their bases of neophytes would have no war criminal to parade as leaders. He ought to be ashamed of himself suing for benefits after advancing the destruction of the country.
    Big SHAME on Boley along with the rest of the other fools that put him in power. The is no level of power that can shield him from the pending prosecution for war crime that looms over the heads of all the war criminals.

  3. This useless man was in New york running from tree to tree asking for job. deportation was the best thing that happen to him. But the stupid people in Grand Gedeh voted him in office. I don’t blame him, I blame the lazy Liberian people. They should grab him one night and give him his pension right in his butt. liberians should be ashamed of themselves. This piece of garbage wants his pension? he call himself man, let him go ask the relatives of the people he killed. he and prince Johnson better not travel to the West. Pieces of dirt.

  4. The response to Boley et el, regarding this and any future pension claims is simply: War crimes court or pension? The nerve this guy has as one of the butchers of our people and come asking thereafter for compensation! We have heard the adage, adding insult to injury, but never thought it could be this personal. The nerve!

  5. Instead of resorting to futile arguments ad hominem, we should reserve judgment and properly review Daily Observer’s reporting on the story. First, no indication that the author believes the lawsuit sounds frivolous; second, he quoted former Assistant Justice Minister for Litigation, Augustine Fayiah, as saying Dr. Boley had “raised issues of law in his suit which, in his opinion, are genuine; and third, one man’s war crimes’ suspect is another’s freedom fighter or heroic protector. Apparently, constituents believe Boley is the latter, hence his presence in the Legislature.

    What pisses many average Joes off about some of our bigoted elites is the presumption that their ‘no’ should be everybody’s and their ‘yes’ also, otherwise they will, like gun-happy cowboys, burn Dodge City down to the ground. Just the other day, they were loud about “rule of law” for Counselor Brumskine’s suit to the Supreme Court, but abusing Dr. Boley who had filed his lawsuit about five years ago.

    One more thing, it is an open secret that the belated frenetic cry for war crimes court in our fragile state is a ruse by few Machiavellian elites to divide the CDC Coalition of warring factions-turned political parties, ironically, on the advice of UN -sponsored ECOWAS actors for a negotiated settlement to end our genocidal Civil War. What’s afoot has the potential for another upheaval, and we hope politicians in the US and Europe – won over by proponents – are ready to provide the necessary werewital to prevent chaos while simultaneously reducing pervasive poverty of the nearly seventy-five percent of the population. This time let them put their money where their mouths are, and, for God’s sake, don’t start something they won’t finish: Liberian lives count, too!

    • And what makes your argument in this matter any cogent and others’ “futile?” Must be in recognition and appreciation for the bloody bond between you and the man as comrades in that erstwhile cold-blooded hellish Doe regime. An don’t consider yourself exonerated from culpability of that war just yet either. Considering the critical role played as one of the chief architects of some of the factors that led to the war. So better you begin consolidating whatever the alibi for future self-defense, than running your mouth so provocatively.

  6. We have a law and by our law, those who bear the greatest responsibility for crimes against humanity must be brought to justice and account for their doings. This way, their present admirers, some of whom are young will get to know that those who violate the law by taken innocent lives must bear the full weight of the law. We call on the United States, Great Britain, France, the United Nations and all civilized nations around the world to join hands in establishing a World Court to bring all those who brought war to our country that killed 250,000 civilians and sent 1,000,000(one million) of our citizenry into compulsory exile, be brought justice. We pray that our innocent people who were innocently killed will not die in vain.

  7. Hilary Snyder,

    Many of your kind seem to shed crocodile tears, but don’t give a rat’s ass about justice for the quarter million dead. Because if you did, the same intensity utilized at home and abroad today would’ve been mobilized and galvanized for full execution of the TRC recommendations long time ago. Obviously, the main reason for the belated frenzy is simply to divide a ruling coalition of CDC and warring factions turned-political parties, most likely, elitist condescension drove detractors to dislike. Of course, what happens to the seventy-five percent Country-Congua poor, should there be commotion isn’t your business, after all.

    As for silly sneaky attempts at silencing contrarian voices with boneheaded accusations, in me you guys have found a confident, frank, and well-trained national security analyst, probably, the likes of whom you never met. Apparently, no one told politically-motivated smear campaigners that concerned foreign institutions were interested in Human Rights abuses at home before they made it a cause celebre. Go read the 1987 book entitled “Promise Beyrayed”, a report of on-the-grounds investigations conducted by American Lawyers for Human Rights following the Qwinwonkpa coup attempt, and after my 1986 July dismissal from NSA. Not only did they laud me for being “low profile”, NSA was commended for “professionalism”. After that I didn’t appear on the Security Sector radar until Hon Patrick Mininikon died in mid-1989 and was appointed to replace him as Minister of National Security. By then you guys have collected money and NPFL was in Burkina Faso waiting for arms and ammunition. My next appearance came about through Interim President Dr. Amos Sawyer in 1991, when made National Security Advisor, a job held until June 1994

    Hilary Snyder, when you guys totally destroyed Liberia because your position atop the pyramid of political and economic power was threatened, Sylvester Moses helped in the process of creating order out of that chaos. This “low profile” security professional isn’t complaining, though, that was why he went home in September 1980 to work with the PRC government. It is always revealing when rascality resorts to putting truth on the defensive: On the ropes.

Leave a Reply to Nah Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here