The suspension of Justice Minister, Cllr. Christiana Tah, may likely be lifted today, Wednesday, July 9, 2014, after serving her six- month punishment from practicing law in the country.
Minister Tah, who is also Dean of the Supreme Court Bar, was suspended on January 10, after she was held in contempt, following her role in granting then jailed FrontPage Africa managing editor, Rodney D. Sieh, ‘compassionate leave.’
At that Contempt hearing, the High Court ruled that “Cllr. Christiana P. Tah, Minister of Justice/Attorney General, is hereby suspended from the practice of law in the Republic of Liberia directly or indirectly, for the period of six (6) months.”
The Court further ruled that “For her role in releasing Rodney D. Sieh from prison, as well as her persistent disrespect to this court, demonstrated in her refusal to reverse the action which formed the basis for the contempt proceedings.”
Cllr. Beyan D. Howard, Sieh’s lawyer, was also suspended by the High Court for a period of three months from the practice of law directly or indirectly.
His suspension had since been lifted by the High Court.
It may be recalled that on Tuesday, October 8, 2013, the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Ministry of Justice, granted Mr. Sieh ‘compassionate’ leave for the period of 30 days effective October 8, 2013.
Minister Tah said this was in keeping with Chapter 34, Section 34.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law, 1LCLR. According to Minister Tah, the government's action was also based on a formal request by Cllr. Howard and Atty. J. Fonati Koffa.
However, Minister Tah advised that Mr. Sieh will not leave the city of Monrovia without first seeking the permission of the Assistant Minister for the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation (BCR).
The FPA publisher was ordered jailed by the Civil Law last August because of his failure to pay the amount of US$1, 534,000.00 and L$10, 500 to the former Agriculture Minister, Dr. Chris Toe for damages in a libel suit. In addition, Mr. Sieh also failed to pay US$90, 000 and L$6, 800 in court costs
Dr. Toe claimed the paper defamed his reputation when it published a series of articles linking him to corruption. According to him, the published articles against him were not based on facts.
FrontPage Africa took an appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberia, but was unable to perfect the appeal bond. Based on the legal proceedings, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's judgment and ordered the bail of Cost on the FPA.