Ministry of Justice Suffers Crippling Blow, As Justice Minister and Attorney General Resigned, other Deputies Dismissed

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    The Ministry of Justice has responsibility for different parts of the justice system – the courts, prisons and probation services and legal aid. 

    It works in partnership with the other government departments and agencies to reform the criminal justice system, to serve the public and support the victims of crime. 

    It is also responsible for making new laws, strengthening democracy, and safeguarding human rights.

    But, within the past days the Ministry has suffered a crippling blow, which started with President Ellen Johnson  Sirleaf’s dismissal of key deputy ministers, Cllr. Wheatonia Dixon-Barnes, Deputy Minister for Administration, and Public Safety; Ms. Victoria Sherman-Lang, Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs.

    The President also dismissed   Hilary Sirleaf-Siakor, Assistant Minister for Prisons.

    When she dismissed the officials, President Sirleaf contended that she was doing it because of their failure to return home to help in the fight against the Ebola virus disease.

    Her action, she said, was a follow-up to her directive regarding restrictions on travel of government officials, including their return within a week for those who were out of the country without an excuse. 

    According to the Executive Mansion, these government officials “showed insensitivity to our national tragedy and disregard for authority.”

    Unfortunately, Justice Minister and Attorney General Cllr. Christiana Tah resigned her post on Monday, October 6.

    In her resignation statement,  she argued that she was doing it because President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf blocked her investigation into fraud allegations against the country's National Security Agency (NSA), which is headed by the president's son.

    Announcing her resignation in a statement dated Oct. 6, Justice Minister Christiana Tah said she could not remain in office “and not supervise the operations of the security agencies under the Ministry of Justice."  

    "What is the 'rule of law' if the president asserts that she does not trust the Ministry of Justice to independently investigate allegations of fraud against the National Security Agency?" Minister Tah added.

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