Was Justice Banks’ Order Ignored in Unpaid 7yrs.Wages to Prosecutor?

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The last time senior prosecutor Atty. Sam Solomon went before the Supreme Court was to have the High Court compel the Ministry of Justice to pay him his seven years and four months’ salary arrears totaling US$132,000 and LD$1,012,000.

Based on his complaint, Associate Justice Philip A.Z. Banks, who was then Justice in Chambers in early 2014, mandated the Ministry of Justice to produce all necessary documents relating to a financial settlement with Atty. Solomon to his office within two weeks.

However, Justice Banks did not resolve the matter before he was replaced by Associate Justice Sie-A-Yeaneh Youh due to the rotation of Supreme Court Justices in Chambers.

It appears that the hopes and financial well-being of Atty. Solomon have been dashed because, according to him, Associate Justice Youh is yet to communicate with him on the status of his case. Besides, his lead counsel has been suspended by the Full Bench of the Supreme Court.

The High Court took over the case after lawyers representing Atty. Solomon filed a  petition against  the Ministries of Justice, Finance, Civil Service Agency (CSA) represented by the Acting Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Deputy Ministers, the Solicitor General Betty Larmin Blamo, Minister of Finance Amara Konneh, Deputy Ministers, Directors, Comptroller, Director of the Civil Service Agency and all authorized agents and representatives acting within and under the scope of their authority.

In his complaint, Atty. Solomon alleged that while serving as Senior City Solicitor of the Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice last week he complained to the High Court through a petition for the Writ of Mandamus to order the Ministry of Justice to pay him his seven years and four months, salary arrears because since his appointment to the post he has not been paid.

He said he was employed by the Justice Ministry in a communication dated June 20, 2007 with rights and privileges and assigned to the Monrovia City Court for the last seven years, carrying out and performing his duties, which was never disputed or challenged.

According to the petition, Atty. Solomon stated that all attempts he made to bring the matter to the attention of his bosses at the Montserrado County Attorney's office or the Ministry of Justice fell on deaf ears. He said the blatant denial of his rights has not only exposed him to undue financial hardship, but unnecessary embarrassment.

The Ministry however, contended that during the seven years and four months period, Solomon was serving as a "volunteer."

It based its argument on Section 3,4 of the Civil Service Agency standing order that says, "Selection of successful candidates must be recommended to the CSA by appointing authority to prepare his/her Personal Action Notice (PAN).

The Ministry further argued that Solomon, during his seven years and four months volunteer service as city solicitor, he did not fill in the PAN.

However, a document dated June 20, 2007, addressed to Sam T. Solomon, under the signature of Samuel K. Jacob, then County Attorney for Montserrado County, the Ministry wrote, "In consultation with Cllr. Tiawon S. Gongloe, Solicitor General, Republic of Liberia, and with his consent and approval, you are hereby appointed as City Solicitor and assigned at the Monrovia City Magisterial Court, to augment the prosecutorial strengthen at said court."

MOJ noted further in the document that "This assignment takes immediate effect with the hope that you will certainly justify the confidence reposed in you."

The Ministry, concluding the document, wrote, "Meanwhile, you will proceed to the office of the Solicitor General for details pertinent to your employment process."

Another document dated February 16, 2007, reassigning Solomon from the Brewerville Magisterial Court to the Monrovia City Court was presented. In it, the current County Attorney of Montserrado County, Cllr. Daku Mulbah, wrote, "I am pleased to send you my compliments and to inform you that you have been recalled at the Monrovia City Magisterial Court effective as of the date of the communication. You will serve as senior City Solicitor at said court."

The case continues.

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