— National Association of Trial Judges alarms
Just a day after the Supreme Court claimed that there is no sufficient evidence to punish any of those named into the US Treasury Department’s report of corruption against Liberian’s Judges, an umbrella body of judges in the country has seriously frowned on the US government’s action, describing it as a “blanket indictment of Liberian judges.”
The National Association of Trial Judges of Liberia, in a press release issued on Wednesday, January 20, said they are all of the opinion that the statement issued by the US Treasury Department failed the test of balance and some degree of accurate reporting of the efforts by Liberian judges to perform their constitutional duties irrespective of the country’s economic and security conditions.
The Liberian judges further noted that they are appalled and extremely disappointed by the widespread allegations made against its members as contained in the US Treasury Department’s report released on December 9, 2020.
The judges’ association release signed by Attorney L. Ben Barco further noted that the Treasury Department’s report is not only short of certainty, specificity and truth-telling as legally and professionally required under such circumstances, but “fails to offer a scintilla of proof, especially regarding the allegation that Cllr. Varney Sherman offered bribes to multiple judges associated with his trial in 2010 in his favor.”
They further quoted the US Treasury Department’s report, which says, “Sherman has routinely paid judges to decide cases in his favor and that Sherman’s acts of bribery demonstrate a larger pattern of behavior to exercise influence over the Liberian’s Judiciary.”
The trial judges claim that these allegations against Liberia’s Judges are extremely damning and, inter alia, have the proclivity to further derail public confidence and trust in the Liberian Justice System and adversely impact the investment climate.
According to the judges, bribery is a felonious crime, and it is a grave criminal offense under the criminal procedure code of Liberia.
Therefore, the body of judges noted that “They wish to caution readers that the sweeping allegations of bribery of Liberian judges contained in the release should in no form or manner incite public damnation and scorn of Liberian judges.”
They also challenged the US Treasury Department to provide substantial evidentiary proof of its allegations of bribery to Liberian judges, stressing, “Failing which we immediately demand retraction of the said allegations in a similar issued press released.”
Likewise, the Trial Judges Association assured the US government and all of its agencies that it unreservedly avails itself, and would relentlessly lend its cooperation to working with the US Treasury Department, through the US Embassy near Monrovia, in ascertaining the specifics of the allegations contained in the December 9, 2020 press release.
“And if need be, bring the judges involved to face an investigation under the established investigative framework instituted by the Supreme Court of Liberia,” the judges noted.