Who Goes to Justice Ministry?

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Following the resignation on Monday, October 6, of former Justice Minister Cllr. Christiana P. Tah, rumors are now flying around Monrovia as to who will succeed the former Justice Minister.

Liberia’s former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, resigned her post for what she termed among other things, “collapse of rule of law” within the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration.

Already, familiar names have been thrown from corner to corner, even within the corridors of power. Among the possible candidates are former Justice Minister under Liberia’s ex-President Charles Taylor, Cllr. Lavela Supuwood, the managing partner for the TIAWA Law and Associate, Cllr. Yarmie-Quiqui Gbeisay, Sr.,  President Sirleaf’s private lawyer, Cllr. Roland Dahn, as well as Cllr. Michael Jones, among others.

But though Cllr. Jones’ name surfaced, his chances are infinitely remote since, regardless of his highly reputed knowledge of the law, the Supreme Court suspended him from practicing law for five consecutive years since 2012.

Yet, to even drop his name in the bucket-list suggests that the President’s options may be assumed severely limited.  The Justice Ministry’s portfolio requires someone at the helm who is morally strong and knowledgeable enough to manage the nation’s security forces, on the one hand; and who can be the “lynch-pin” in the relationship between the Executive branch of Government and the Judiciary, on the other; and everything in between.

 Other names being mentioned within the public domain are the present Solicitor-General, Cllr. Betty Larmie Blamo (whose name came first on the list), as well as former Solicitor-General, Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, and Cllr. Winston Tubman, among others. Cllr. Tubman in 2011, contested for the Liberian Presidency on the ticket of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) against the incumbent President Sirleaf, but lost the vote. Tubman, who now runs a law practice in Monrovia, also served as Minister of Justice under the late President Samuel K. Doe in the early 1980s. 

 These names are being especially speculated among top-notch lawyers in the corridors of the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.

 Meanwhile, it is reliably learnt that following the resignation of Cllr. Tah, official activities at the Ministry of Justice are being paralyzed owing to recent decision by President Sirleaf to dismiss several highly placed officials of the MOJ.

Without the prosecuting arm of the government in the face of Minister Tah’s resignation, security apparatuses, including the National Security Agency (NSA), the Liberian National Police (LNP), the Bureau of Immigration for Naturalization (BIN) and other smaller units are doomed to go-slow on operations, pending the appointment of their new boss by the President.

 The public is, therefore, hoping that President Sirleaf will appoint a candidate with strong moral character and a wealth of experience in the legal profession, particularly dealing with the public in the face of the country’s present day reality.

  “This is to avoid any incident of regret in the wake of the resignation of Cllr. Tah,” one eminent lawyer hinted the Daily Observer Tuesday during a mobile phone conversation.

 Also, several other persons who spoke to the Daily Observer late yesterday expressed regret for Cllr. Tah’s resignation, indicating that her decision was a “great setback to the justice system since she was one of such persons with level-headed administrative qualifications.”

 On Monday, Cllr. Tah resigned her post when noted that “I cannot be the Minister of Justice and not supervise the operations of the security agencies under the Ministry of Justice, for example; or 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? What is ‘the rule of law’ if a duly appointed Minister of Justice with oversight for security has grave concerns about what her volitional resignation will mean for her own personal security and freedom as a Liberian citizen?”

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