“Every reform program in the judiciary is being marred and over shadowed by talk of corruption, whether real or imagined; therefore, anyone who thinks that it will be business as usual and doubts our renewed resolve should test it,” Chief Justice Korkpor warned.
The ceremony held at the High Court’s Chamber at the Temple of Justice was graced by array of government officials including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the President Pro-Temp of the Liberia Senate, Grand Bassa County Senator Gbezohngar Findley.
According to the Chief Justice, the Judiciary has agreed to not only dismiss people caught in acts of corruption, but to have perpetrators forwarded to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), which has the power to prosecute them.
“Let the words go forth that anyone caught in any act of impropriety or corruption will not only be summarily dismissed, but arrested and turned over to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution,” he declared, emphasizing that “party litigants, jurors and the general public will be no exception.”
Commenting on strategy formulated to tackle acts of impropriety and corruption in the judiciary, the Chief Justice said for the first time in the history of the judicial system, non-lawyers (civil society organizations) have been appointed to two strategic committees — the Judicial Inquiry Commission and the Grievance and Ethics Commission. The strategy is intended to prevent cliques of lawyers from conniving to pervert justice since they will now be required to explain to non-lawyers on their committees every decision they make.
“The appointment will ensure transparency and accountability, thereby increasing public confidence in the dispensation of justice in the country,” Chief Justice Korkpor asserted.
The announcement that the Judicial branch of government now plans to flex its prosecution powers will undoubtedly be welcome news for many. This administration has been heavily criticized for either looking the other way or letting corrupt officials go with a slap on the wrist (forced resignation or reassignment). The news will no doubt put government officials of all branches on notice, especially those who are already on record for corruption with the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).