As it contends with ‘141 Complaints of Gross Impropriety, Irregularity
Months after one of the three Judges of the Commercial Court, Judge Richard Klah, was forwarded to the Legislature for impeachment over accusation of bribery, the Judiciary Inquiry Commission (JIC) has vowed to ensure a speedy Investigation of the 141 complaints of impropriety and irregularities against several judges that are pending before that committee.
The Judicial Inquiry Commission is an auxiliary established within the Judiciary Branch of Liberia, with the exclusive power and authority to receive and investigate complaints against judges of courts of record and of non-record in the Republic of Liberia for violation of any provision of the Judicial Canons.
Its warning comes following sanctions imposed by the United States Treasury on Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney Sherman for allegedly bribing judges to render judgments in his favor.
The Liberian Judicial System had also received backlashes in recent times in the case of former Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh when he won the case against his impeachment case at the ECOWAS Court of Justice.
Making the disclosure on Wednesday, January 20 during a press briefing, the chairman of the commission, Associate Justice Yussif Kaba, said out of the 141 cases, his commission had already completed the Investigation of nine complaints, which recommendations they will be shortly submitting to the Chief Justice for appropriate actions.
Justice Kaba noted that besides the 141 cases the commission has on hand, it continues to receive complaints of unethical behavior against judges on a daily basis around the country.
“There are some bad judges in the Judiciary and the commission will see to it that those bad ones are rooted out of the system to ensure credibility in the country’s justice system,” he promised.
The JIC chairman acknowledged the sacrifices that judges are making by depriving themselves of doing gainful business; however, he cautioned that they should not see it as an opportunity to engage in corrupt practices.
Justice Kaba emphasized that “the commission would come down hard on corrupt judges, because one rotten apple can spoil the reputation of other good judges.”
Kaba said though there are more complaints against a single judge, it does not mean that the judge is guilty unless he or she has gone through trial and convicted.
“We first need to allow the judge to meet his or her accusers along with witness’ testimonies before we can establish the guilt of that particular judge. This will take time because witnesses have to come from as far as River Gee County where some of the complaints come from,” Justice Kaba noted.
Kaba said the Supreme Court is doing well to improve the justice system, including ensuring that indiscipline judges are punished as means of creating credibility in the dispensary of justice in the country.
In her intervention, a member of the commission, Sister Mary Laurene Brown, said the purpose of the JIC is to help citizens understand that nobody, including judges and lawyers, are above the law.
She said that sometimes people are intimidated by the fact that judges have a certain upper hand when it comes to justice issues.
“So, in the wisdom of Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, he established the commission with the purpose of serving the community, especially those who believe they have been denied justice,” Sister Laurene said.