The Criminal Court ‘B’ Judge has disclosed that for the Judiciary to be independent and corruption free, it needs adequate budgetary allocation.
“We note with concern that even though numerous calls are being made for the Judiciary to be independent and corruption free, notwithstanding the Legislative and the Executive Branches of Government have failed to increase the budget for the Judiciary,” Judge Nancy F. Sammy of Criminal Court ‘B’ added, “at the time when the it needs adequate budgetary appropriate in undertaking measures for judicial reforms.”
She made the assertion Monday, May 12, when she presided over the joint opening of the May 2014 Term of Criminal Courts, A, B. C and D, at the Temple of Justice.
According to the Criminal Court Judge, for the Judiciary Sector to be totally independent, it needs adequate budgetary appropriation to enhance its work.
“Increase the budget of the Judiciary, improve and increase the salaries of judges, provide better retirement packages for judges,” adding, “construct modern court facilities, throughout the country and judicial residential quarters especially for judges that will be assigned outside of Monrovia.”
She further explained that “as judges, we are government’s officials and we are therefore, paid by the government.”
But, the Judicial Canon six under rules of courts “forbids judges to engage in any business for economic gain. This means it is the obligation and the responsibility of the government to provide all basic needs of judges throughout the country, so that we may live decently.”
“Regrettably,” Judge Sammy said, “we note with concern that the Financial Act which gives autonomy to the Judiciary is being circumvented by the reduction of the proposed budget by the Executive.”
The Act, she said, mandates the Executive to only place notation on a transmitted slip and attached it to the budget of the judiciary without any deduction.
“But, this act is currently being circumvented by the Executive to the extent that the Minister of Finance was recently cited by the Supreme Court to provide information on why the budgetary appropriation of the Judiciary was drastically reduced,” she noted.
“With these how can we achieve judicial reform, or how can we have a strong and independent judiciary,” she wondered, “Then, when we do not have adequate and sufficient budgetary support to effectively enhance judicial reform, we must take into account that judicial reform is so expensive that it requires sufficient and adequate budgetary appropriation,”