Gov’t Ignoring Court Order on 7 Years’ Salary Arrears Claim?

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Information obtained by the Daily Observer shows that the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has ignored a crucial Supreme Court’s order to produce supporting documents relating to payment it made to Atty. Sam T. Solomon for seven years and four- month’s salary arrears and benefits  totaling US$132,000 and L$1,012,000.

Atty. Solomon, former City Solicitor, has sought the High Court’s intervention to compel government to pay him for seven years and four months of employment during, which he provided legal services to the country and the Ministry.

Two weeks ago, the Court’s Chamber Justice, Cllr. Philip A.Z. Banks, communicated with the Ministry that documents in its possession be made available to establish whether or not the former state prosecutor was owed salary arrears for such a long time.

The Ministry was further required to produce those instruments by January 20, which the judicial source alleges that the Ministry is yet to do.

Justice Banks warned that if the Ministry failed to meet the January 20 deadline, he would without hesitation compel the government to pay Atty. Solomon the amount he claims.

In spite of the order, the Ministry up to press time yesterday, according to judicial sources, had not submitted the required proof of payment documents to the Chamber Justice.

The judicial source did not say whether or not Justice Banks would enforce his order, or hold the Ministry in contempt of court for ignoring his mandate.

Prior to the lawsuit, Atty. Solomon alleged that in June 2007, he was employed by the Justice Ministry and since then he has never been paid for his services as City Solicitor.

But the Ministry has so far denied the allegations arguing that its senior City Solicitor had been paid for his services. The Ministry contends that Atty. Solomon was not an employee of the Justice Ministry under the Civil Service Agency’s guidelines. They claimed that he was only providing legal voluntary services to the Ministry.

According to a letter dated September 23, 2014 and  signed by the Acting Deputy Minister of Justice for Administration and Public Safety, Atty. Tony Sonkarlay, it is acknowledged that Solomon was employed by the then Solicitor General Cllr. Saye Tiawan Gongloe.

The letter states, “We …. hereby acknowledged receipt of your letter addressed to Cllr. Betty Larmie Blamo, Solicitor General regarding your salary and other benefits.”

Among the documents that Atty. Sonkarlay signed and turned over to the City Solicitor, is one which quoted the CSA’s Standing Orders Section 34.4 stating: “selection of successful candidate must be recommended to CSA by the appointing authority to prepare his/her Personnel Action Notice (PAN) that was never done in your case; therefore, the CSA has informed us that they don’t have any salary for you as claimed.”

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