-Sen Sherman Makes Passionate For Pres Weah to Intercede
Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney Sherman has submitted that, in the absence of pensions for Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of subordinate courts, they will be susceptible to corruption in order to secure for themselves basic services and decent livelihood after retirement.
Senator Sherman chairs the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petitions on the Retirement Pensions. His comment is contained in the summary of a report from his committee which is expected to be re-submitted to the Senate plenary today.
The President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Albert Chie, on Tuesday sustained a motion calling for the suspension of the reading of the report from the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims &Petitions on the “Retirement Pensions for The Most Senior Officials of the Liberian Government, ” until it was distributed among Senators in accordance with the Senate Rules.
In the summary of the report dated February 2, 2018 and addressed to Pro-temp Chie and Senate plenary, Senator Sherman complaint that: “notwithstanding the existence of law for pensions for retired Justices of the Supreme Court and retired Judges of Circuit Courts, pensions have not been given to former Associate Justice Gladys K. Johnson who honorably retired in 2011 upon attaining 70 years of age as provided by Article 72 (b) of the Constitution of Liberia. ”
Senator Sherman, himself a corporate lawyer, lamented in the communication that Associate Justice Philip Banks retires from the Supreme Court Bench in May 2018, Circuit Judge Amy Musu Jones and Labor Court Judge Comfort Natt will also retire later this year (2018) and that, as was the case of judges who have previously been retired, these retired Justices and Judges will not be receiving retirement pensions, “because there are no budgetary appropriations for their pensions even though the law provides for them.”
According to the submission of the report, Senator Sherman is reported to be relying on the Act to Amend Section 13.4 of the New Judiciary Law; to provide for pensions for Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia, which was enacted in 1989. That section also provides for pensions for judges of Circuit and Magisterial Courts.
Senator Sherman further submitted that “in the absence of pensions for Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of subordinate courts, they will be susceptible to the corruption in order to secure for themselves basic services and decent livelihood after retirement.”
Cllr. Sherman then implored Senate plenary to interpret the term “salary” used in the law for retirement pensions for Justices and Judges to mean all income, salary and benefits received prior to retirement. He asked plenary to apply real economics on the term “salary” when the retirement pension laws were enacted as compared to what salary is today in the depreciation of the Liberian dollar and the percentage of income now paid as benefits, as compared to when these laws were enacted.
The Grand Cape Mount lawmaker concluded with a passionate plea to plenary to intercede with President George Weah so that as “he recast the 2017/2018 National Budget, appropriations would be made for retired Justices of the Supreme Court and retired Judges of subordinate courts. ”
Meanwhile, immediately following Pro-temp’s ruling Senator Sherman entered the Senate Chamber and right away approached the Pro-temp’s seat of authority, in an apparent move to convince him that his committee’s report was circulated in time for yesterday’s proceedings; but he appeared to have seen reason and yielded to wait for today (Thursday).
Meanwhile, in what came as a total surprise to political commentators, the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries on Tuesday recommended to plenary to confirm expelled University of Liberia former student leader Alvin C. Wesseh, as Assistant Minister for Research & Extension-designate at the Ministry of Agriculture.
The committee informed plenary that Mr. Wesseh was qualified for said position nominated, based on his education and job experience.