Justice Minister and Attorney General Benedict Sannoh and his Solicitor General Cllr. Betty Lamin Blamo have been held in contempt for failing to follow the orders of the Supreme Court.
They were authorized by Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh, presiding in Chambers, to pay their former senior prosecutor, Atty. Sam Solomon, seven years and four months in arrears that they admitted owing, amounting to US$143,905.88 and LD$1,000,000 respectively.
Apart from their admittance, they also met with Justice Ja’neh on two occasions and made commitments that they were going to pay the state lawyer.
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) sacked Atty. Solomon in 2014 without paying him on grounds that he was never an employee of the MOJ, despite pleading several cases, including the late General Charles Julu’s treason trial, for the state.
This is the second contempt charge by Justice Ja’neh against the MOJ officials for their failure to pay Atty. Solomon’s salary. During the first contempt charge, the Minister Sannoh and Cllr. Blamo pleaded for time.
However, a confidential source in the office of Justice Ja’neh told this newspaper that he takes the contempt charge very seriously.
“His Honor has vowed to instruct the Marshall of the Supreme Court to arrest the pair if they refuse again to honor his final order,” the source said, adding “Justice Ja’neh promised not to use officers of the Liberia National Police to affect his order.”
Counselor Sannoh and Solicitor General Counselor Blamo are expected to appear before him on Monday, January 11, at 1:00 p.m.
The court has detailed how the former prosecutor filed a complaint before Associate Justice Philip A.Z. Banks, then Justice presiding in Chamber in 2014.
In his complaint, through a Writ of Mandamus, Atty. Solomon’s legal team pleaded with Justice Banks to compel his employer to pay him his seven years and four months of unpaid salaries because since his appointment to the post of City Solicitor in 2014 he was never paid a monthly wage.
Further to that, the lawyer claimed that their client was a victim of neglect, as he was employed by the MOJ in a letter dated June 20, 2007, assigning him to the Monrovia City Court.
“During which time,” they said, “Atty. Solomon was given the rights and privileges to serve for a period of seven years and four months.”
According to the letter, Atty. Solomon made several attempts to bring the matter to the attention of his bosses at the Montserrado County Attorney’s office or the Ministry of justice, but that did not materialize.
Based on that, they were constrained to appeal to the Supreme Court for justice because the MOJ exposed Atty. Solomon to undue financial hardships and unnecessary embarrassment.
They also stated that Solomon has a right to collect his salary benefits in the amount of US$143,905.88 and LD$1,000,000 respectively.