President Weah is yet to appoint solicitor general, deputy minister for administration and assistant minister for litigation.
Since taking over the helm of the country, President George Weah has not been able to name individuals to fill several positions at the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), making it difficult for the ministry to prosecute cases especially those related to corruption.
MOJ is the prosecutorial arm of the government that would support the president’s pro-poor government agenda, especially in tackling corruption.
The solicitor-general and the assistant minister for litigation are all positions that are responsible to prosecute both commercial and criminal cases in the country, which up to present is being blamed for delay.
Besides, President Weah has only managed to appoint Justice Minister Musa Dean who has been confirmed by the Legislature and is believed to be the only senior lawyer for now at the ministry.
The delay has left most courtrooms virtually empty particularly at the Temple of Justice that houses several criminal courts, like the Criminal Courts, A, B, C, D and E.
When contacted yesterday via mobile phone, Justice Minister Musa Dean said the ministry was not fully functioning especially in the absence of a solicitor general, deputy justice minister for administration and assistant minister for litigation.
“The ministry cannot continue with the prosecution of cases, including criminal, where there is no solicitor-general, assistant minister for litigation and deputy minister for administration,” Cllr Dean told the Daily Observer in a phone interview.
“This ministry is not fully functioning because some of those major positions have not been completely filled with appointments,” Cllr. Dean maintained, though he did not explain when President Weah will make the appointment in those very sensitive legal areas.
Pending Criminal Cases
On the issue of cases including the Sable Mining bribery case and that of the Former Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA) Madam Matilda Parker, that were pending before Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice, prior to his appointment as justice minister, Minister Dean categorically said, he will not continue with those cases.
“This is against the law for me to be a part of them anymore, because I represented the accused against the government and now this position restricts me from pleading on my clients behalf,” Dean explained.
As for Judge Blamo Dixon, who presides over Criminal Court ‘C,: when contacted yesterday in his Chambers at the Temple of Justice, said, he was waiting for party litigants to come and ask for assignment.
“I am waiting for the MOJ to ask for an assignment so that we can commence with their cases for this February Term of Court, Dixon said,” But for now they have come to ask for it, so I wait to see. Maybe, they will ask for assignment,” the criminal court judge noted.
At the premises of the Temple of Justice, several lawyers who spoke with the Daily Observer on condition of anonymity expressed regret for the prolonged delay on the part of President Weah to complete the appointment at the MOJ.
A lawyer accused the Weah led government of failing in its obligation to ensure speedy trial of the accused as provided under the constitution. “This is not justice, because people who are accused of corruption by the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led government want to prove their innocence, but that cannot happen now, because of the president’s failure to make appointments at the MOJ,” the lawyer indicated.
Another lawyer recommended for President Weah to respond to his government’s responsibility to fill the vacancies in a timely fashion, which thus far he has failed to do.