The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has for the second time failed to appear for a conference scheduled with the Supreme Court.
The conference was intended to have the Ministry explain its side relating to a claim of seven years and four months totaling US$132,000 and LD$1,012,000 unpaid wages, including benefits.
The said claims were made by the legal team of Atty. Sam T. Solomon, a former Senior City Solicitor.
Initially, the Ministry was due to appear on October 30, but asked for a postponement of the conference to November 4 to enable them to be in the position to adequately respond to the High Court’s order.
Surprisingly, the Ministry has not appeared up to present.
The order was issued by Cllr. Philip A.Z. Banks, Associate Justice presiding in Chamber.
The Justice in Chamber acted on a request from Atty. Solomon’s legal team.
Atty. Solomon’s lawyers sought the court’s approval to issue a writ of mandamus, compelling the Ministry to appear before it.
It is not yet known whether Justice Banks will enforce the request made by Atty. Solomon’s legal team
However, a communication dated October 20, 2014 was allegedly written and signed by the Acting Justice Minister, Cllr. Benedict F. Sannoh, and sent to Atty. Edwin K. Martin.
Atty. Martin is the managing director of Justice and Public Interest Consortium Africa, which represents the legal interest of Atty. Solomon.
Cllr. Sannoh wrote; “We acknowledge receipt of your letter of October 13, 2014, relative to Mr. Sam T. Solomon, it would have been more appropriate had you sought a conference with me on behalf of your client rather than an ultimatum to comply with your demand within 72 hours.”
Cllr. Sannoh continued, “Be that as it may, and consistent with the Ministry’s obligation to protect rights, I will look into the matter personally and revert to you in 30 days.”
Concluding he said, “Atty. Theoway will be the focus person, should you desire to make a follow-up with my office.”
The Ministry is accused of failing to pay Atty. Solomon, after he had worked as City Solicitor for a period of seven years and four months.
Atty. Solomon had been assigned by the Ministry to several Magisterial Courts, including the Brewerville Magisterial Court and the Monrovia City Court, at the Temple of Justice.
However, the Ministry has contended that it is not indebted to Atty. Solomon because it did not employ him as one of its prosecutors.
The Ministry further stated that during the seven years and four months period, Atty. Solomon served as a “volunteer.”
The Ministry based its argument on Section 3.4 of the Civil Service Agency standing order and quoted it as “Selection of successful candidates must be recommended to the CSA by appointing authority to prepare his/her Personal Action Notice (PAN).”
The Ministry further argued that Solomon, during his seven years and four months “volunteer service” as City Solicitor, did not complete a PAN.