Judges Disapprove of Weah’s 25% Salary Cut Plan

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President George Weah has not written a Bill to the Legislature in two weeks.

It seems that President George Weah’s recent pronouncement about the reduction of his salary and other benefits by 25 percent has not gone down well with judges throughout the country.

The judges made known their displeasure yesterday at the opening of the February 2018 Term of Criminal Courts, A, B, C, D and E at the Temple of Justice, where they argued that any salary cut must take into consideration Article 72 (a) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.

President Weah, at his inaugural speech, defended his salary reduction plan when he indicated that it was because of the rapidly deteriorating situation of the economy.

Weah by then publicly announced, “I am informing you today, with immediate effect, that I will reduce my salary and benefits by 25 percent.”

The President continued, “Our economy is broken; our government is broke. Our currency is in free fall; inflation is rising; unemployment is at an unprecedented high; and our foreign reserves are at an all-time low.”

Article 72 (a) provides that, “The Justices of the Supreme Court and all other judges shall receive such salaries, allowances and benefits as shall be established by law. Such salaries shall be subject to taxes as defined by law, provided that they shall not otherwise be diminished. Allowances and benefits paid to Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of subordinate courts may by law be increased but may not be diminished except under a national program enacted by the Legislature; nor shall such allowance and benefits be subject to taxation.”

But, delivering his charge at the opening of the criminal courts, Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie of Criminal Court ‘A’ clearly showed their disapproval with these words, “Salary and other benefits for judges and magistrates shall not be diminished without a national program enacted by the Legislature as enshrined in Article 72 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.”

Besides, Willie, also president of the National Association of Trial Judges of Liberia (NATJL), emphasized that for judges and magistrates to be fully independent, it means that their retirement benefits cannot continue to be L$7,500 a month.

Currently, Circuit Court Judges earn US$4,500 per month and magistrates also earn US$1,500 per month.

Judges also receive US$5,000 each as allowance plus unspecified number of scratch cards, gasoline, and medical and housing benefits, while magistrates are likely not benefiting from those allowances.

As for the Associate Justices and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court they make as much as US$9,000 to US$11,000 each per month.

The money excludes allowances, plus unspecified number of scratch cards, gasoline, medical and housing benefit, which judicial experts put the total at over US$25,000 for each of the justices as take home pay and benefits.

Each of the five justices including the Chief Justice now rides a jeep that cost over US$50,000.

The criminal court judge also suggested that judges and magistrates must be provided vehicles and other logistics like any other government official.

In his passionate plea, Willie stressed that “Judges and magistrates must be provided with the necessary logistics particularly vehicles and other items for the smooth operation of their judicial functions,” adding, “because as we deliver this charge, some of our judges have gone home from their respective assignments either using their own vehicles or have taken commercial ones, which poses security risk for them.”

According to Judge Willie, some of his colleagues have faced premature death because, while they earn between US$2,000 to US$4,000 during active service, in retirement they receive L$7,500 with no transportation allowance which, according to him, equates to a “death sentence.”

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16 COMMENTS

  1. The whole thing about gov’t in Africa is about corruption and stealing. How would these guys be making such amounts and other benefits yet frowned at the president of Liberia who wants the ordinary Liberians to benefit from his salary? So sad, very very sad pitiful for us in Africa.

  2. The Government of Liberia must undergo a complete overhaul in order to serve the citizens. The salary of judges is too high for a poor country like Liberia compared to the salary of US$174,000.00 yearly for senators in the United States Congress, where the FY-2018 budget is US$4.1 Trillion dollars. So if the senators in a country with a US$4.1 trillion dollars is making US$174,000.00, and a state senator from New Hampshire is earning only US$200.00 per two year term with no free car, no per diem and no driver, why in the world is
    a lawmaker in the impoverished and Ebola and war ravaged country making US$480,000.00 with free car, free gas? Because every one allowed them. I hope more people can begin to say no to the corrupt system of governance in Liberia that puts politicians above citizens.

  3. Is it a joked or what? Some ordinary Liberia make US50.00 per month while our justices,and judges make all those money and they are still complaining about salary increased. Is time that we all do the sacrifice for our country. We are too old to be where we are. We all need to do something for the country.

  4. these corrupt judges do not know he meaning of justice they sold their souls for money years ago they should go to another African country and talk nonsense and see where they will be they call themselves patriotic we need to start cussing the useless

  5. It’s a shame for these judges to argue about this salary cut. They are making this amount when other professionals like medical doctors are making less than 1000 USD/month in the same country.
    This is why our country has always remain backward despite the vast resources. I think this is the time for the citizens to be proactive and speak out since we have the backing of the president, who feels sorry for the masses.

  6. The money that these three(3) branches of government (The Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary), are making is too much in a very poor Country like Liberia, as many people are saying here. I want to salute the Country giant again for demonstratng his nature talents that he has Country at heart.

    Let the Legislature starts debating the cutting down of their respectives salaries and all other benefits by 25 percent for God sake, as this is an executive order from His Excellency. President George Manneh Weah. The President of the Republic has spoken and so, it should be final and binding on all. This means let the debate start in the legislature with immediate effect!

    The turn of office for both the President and senators are too long. Let debate start now as to regard reducing the Presiedent turn from six(6) years to four(4) years, and that of Senators too from nine(9) years to five(5) consecutive years.
    These are all paramount to Liberia`s development and should be seen as “Pro-Poor agenda”. These are the things the legislature should be debating instead of wasting time and tax payers money debating about 1. Dual citizenship Case., 2. Making non-negro: Whites, Lebanese, Indians, Chinese and others citizens of Liberia. let the ball start rolling. This too is democracy, and change for hope. The Country people and everybody want change, please execute the change now. This is what we voted for.

  7. Oh George Weah. This one paa I really supporting it ooh. Let all the big big people salaries be cut down so that we can increase that of teachers and nurses too naa my people.

  8. Dear All: The late Dr. Harry F. Moniba,Sr. former Vice President of Liberia,said at one of the U.L.Commencement Convocations, that if you think education is expensive try ignorance! Similarly, if you think someone who must acquired two(2) or sometimes(3) academic degrees before working in the Judiciary as Magistrates, Judges and Justices is making too much money, then call any “Joe Blow” from waterside and give them those appointments to serve as Magistrates, Judges and Justices. Comparatively, the other branches of government and their appointees do not have to meet those standards, they make more money,get better incentives than those judges. example, a representative or senator, does not have to graduate from High school to vie for such office, and yet make more salary and incentives than Judges, Magistrates and Justices.
    For the Executive, even low ranking staff, such as Director ride the latest model of vehicle,travel extensively and at time get more pay than a Magistrate, who has acquired at least two(2) academic degrees, etc. Representatives,Senators, Ministers and Directors are permitted in addition to their government employment can engaged in any other economic venture and get profit in addition with their gov’t. salaries and allowances.On the contrary, Magistrates, Judges and Justices, are not allowed to engage in any other business venture while employed with government; not even their profession, as Lawyers. They are not permitted to open any Law firm as proprietor or partners or as an employee. So who are those making more from government?
    If President Weah thinks, these Judges are demanding too much, they can be impeached for demanding too much and not permitting him to reduce their salaries, and let see where our much heralded “Let Justice Be done to All”; that is being preached both by Liberians and the international community will go.
    Abednego Davies, needs to do better writing than the trash that was written.
    Thanks.

    • My bro. no one is against paying these judges or any other government officials good livable salary, but what is the revenue base upon which you can justify paying this huge amount? The president just told the nation that Liberia is broke and so then how do you sustain such pay scale? It is almost like hiring a house keeper but pay him/her 80 percent of your income. How do you expect survive? It just not sustainable and you know that…

  9. I have never understood the basis for the high salary structure that was setup for the three branches of government in Liberia to begin with. A country just coming from war with vast institutions and infrastructure deficit but with very little budget to support such needs, just cannot justify such salary scale.

    There’s nothing wrong with paying these government officials such high salaries but there must be a corresponding increase in the revenue base to support such increase, and I don’t see that. So then, what’s the justification for this high salary scale that comes at the detriment of tangible development?

    An underdeveloped country like Liberia where about 80 percent of its budget goes toward servicing salaries has very little or no hope of tangible development. And this is the reason why development is at a snail pace like molasses. The reverse should be the option if we want to see some tangible progress…20 percent toward salaries and the remaining toward development.

    I do agree with Bro. Torli that government must undergo a complete overhaul…but the fact that these judges are complaining about a mere 25 percent cut when they know that the country is broke as the president stated in his state of the nation address makes me sake to the stomach. It tells me they are heartless with no conscience whatsoever. I would even go further to 50 percent if I were the president and I think citizens should push there lawmakers to go a step further.

    It is comical how some of these government officials are quick to site passage in the constitution when it’s convenient. Never mind what article 72a states, as it only becomes relevant if the budget is there to support such high salaries and benefits. The government cannot give you what it doesn’t have period! If you guys are really serious about maintaining the huge salary scales than do something to increase the current revenue base to support such salaries…increase it where our budget will be in the hundreds of billion…

    What is the logic in making a huge salary but no fitting hospital to rush to in case of emergency? You may have all the money but what good is it if you get a heart attack and you cannot make it to a well-equipped hospital?

  10. Dear Gbada J.Harris,

    Thanks for a decent contribution. Anyway, it isn’t about what “President Weah thinks”, but that bonanza compensations for the power structures consume a third of annual budget, thereby denying extra needed funds for workforce development, public school education, libraries, effective health delivery, sanitation, public safety equipment, and so on. Furthermore, Liberia needs trained forensic specialists, so that LNP will get the necessary support to confidently investigate homicides, rapes, etc., instead of government contracting Nigerian, Ghanaian, and American pathologists as seen in the drowning death investigations of Counselor Allison and entrepreneur Harry Greaves.

    Not to mention that some of the yearly compensations of officials in Liberia, where Justice Minister Sarnoh said poverty is the greatest threat to national security, are higher than their counterparts in the US, the richest nation on earth. Gbada, how do you feel witnessing the hopelessness and helplessness of restless young adults, and knowing that the ‘Leader’ of Liberia has been earning more than the American president?

    For instance, how can other residents in the Capital city be truly safe, even with their high concrete fences and security guards, when those in poor communities are desperate for money just to survive? Do you know that lack of eight hours of undisturbed night sleep often leads to diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, the main causes of death among Liberians between 50 and 70 years’ old? And how can a law-abiding person sleep soundly when hungry prople roam at night for stuff to sell? Well, Gbada, if this government doesn’t tackle pervasive hardships quickly, you may need a gun, if you don’t already have one.

    When President Sirleaf was asked during a visit to the US why the ludicrous salaries and allowances of officials in a Liberia where about 80% of the population live below US $1.50 a day, she honestly said that the Legislature compelled her to do that by refusing to pass that year’s budget. In other words, those the people sent to represent them put their financial interests above the welfare of struggling constituents. This means that your anecdote about Vice President Moniba doesn’t wash: No one is arguing that compensation shouldn’t be commensurable to skills and service to society.

    The fact of the matter is that the Legislature which hiked those compensations would’ve to bring them down. They’re simply not sustainable. Moreover, Liberians everywhere want the Weah administration to succeed, because they want stability and lasting peace at home.

    In conclusion, Dear Gbada J. Harris, sometimes we seem to forget our own history. Elected endearing Tubman smoked cigars and traveled the world on a luxury yacht, while development-oriented Tolbert became target of the wrath of disappointed, disaffected, and discontented masses. Although some blamed Bacchus Matthews and Progressives, it is the apathy, unaccountability, and despotism of his preceedor which sowed the seeds. The same applies to Siaka Stevens; thus, Joseph Mommoh became the victim of the former’s mistakes and missteps. President Weah should add to EJS’s successes, not repeat her mistakes – that’s transformational change, by the way.

  11. Many economics experts and business professionals have offered president Weah’s government advised in order to sustain the financial difficulties inherited by this government due to previous government corruptions, must reduce salaries and allowances of the three branches of the government including the cabinet ministers excluding education,health and the security sectors. Let learned from Ghana and Rwanda passed experienced was not a miracle.The austerity plans must be forceful in place deep cut by 50% not 25% if the government desires to tackle broken financial problems or else the country will continue to experience difficulties meeting its obligations (salaries payment on time).

  12. Of course they disapprove. These parasites will squeeze every cent from the country. Poor Weah, he thought that he was dealing with patriots. Forget that, these are blood suckers who call themselves patriots. Take it to referendum and let us vote their salary. Let us also vote that we do not need a senate. These people need a strong man to put them in their places.

  13. The constituents of the Seventy-three (73) electoral districts of Liberia will ensure that salaries and benefits are cut across the spectrum of the Liberian Government. In the coming weeks, the constituents will petition the Legislature to enact into law a reduction in salaries and benefits scheme across the board of people employed by the Government of Liberia. This proposed National Reduction in Salaries and Benefits Legislation should fulfill Article 72. The Judicial branch of the Liberian Government then will not be exempted from these cuts when passed into law.

  14. Mr. Emmanuel-Wru-Cooper, in order to make the salary reduction across the board,
    the Preaident must first declare an austerity. Under this condition no one will be
    exempted; except it is categorized, for example, those earning $2,999.00 down
    should be exempted. Whereas, the deduction, to comply with the declaration of
    austerity, should be from $3,000.00 up. I published the salary reduction proposal
    but I do not know when Daily Observer will publish it.

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