‘Widespread Corruption in Judiciary Due to Delayed Salaries’

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Judge Roosevelt Willie of Criminal Court 'A' feels corruption is overtaking the system due to salaries delayed.

— Judge Roosevelt Willie says

Delays in salaries and other benefits for civil servants, including judicial workers, have now become the talk of the town with judges now openly calling on the government, specifically the Executive Branch to intervene to avoid fueling corruption in the system.

Due to the unfolding economic hardship now reportedly crippling the judiciary, Criminal Court ‘A’ Judge Roosevelt Willie has admitted to corrupt practices in the system, but blamed its “widespread nature” to “constant delays of judges salaries and other benefits.”

Judge Willie’s statement comes a few days after Chief Justice Francis Korkpor reportedly pleaded with judges and other court staffs to exercise restraint, while he works with the government to ensure the payment of their delayed three months’ salaries and other benefits.

Supporting his statement with the 2006 findings of the International Crisis Group (ICG), Judge Willie said the findings pointed out that the judiciary was being interfered with, to the extent that judges and magistrates were not adequately compensated, and constant delay in their salaries and benefits were prompting widespread corruption, and leading to mob-violence in the society.

“It is often said that those who forget their history do repeat the same mistakes, and development eludes them because the world is not waiting for those, who failed to learn their lessons,” Judge Willie said on Monday, August 12, 2019, when he delivered his charge at the opening of the August Term of Criminal Courts, A, B, C, D and E of Montserrado County at the Temple of Justice.

“The question to us as justice actors and all Liberians is, have we learned from our past mistakes, and if so, have we taken any corrective measures,” Willie rhetorically asked his audience, that included Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Gyapay Yuoh, other lower court judges and lawyers.

According to him, he deliberately intended not to provide any answer, “but to leave it with all of us in audience to ponder over it by looking at the realities and be patriotic in providing the answer to my question.”

“We all need to learn from our past mistakes so that development will not elude us, because other nations and organizations will not always be there to help us in our afflictions,” Willie reminded his audience.

Shortly afterwards, he reflected on a presentation he made in 2012 at the annual conference organized by the Liberian Studies Association in the US under the theme, “Building A Capable State; Looking Back, Moving Forward in Liberia.”

For that theme, Willie said he spoke on a sub-theme; “The Rule of Law and The Judicial System of Liberia.”

“The theme was apparently and carefully chosen in view of the many findings made and reported on the causes of the Liberia’s 14 years of civil war, which devastated the very fabric of the Liberian state, and killed over 250,000 people,” he recollected declaring that the war also caused Liberia to be referred to in December 2004 as a “failed state.”

“The sub-theme was specifically predicated on the ICG’s 2006 findings, which found that the justice system, which also includes the judiciary was one of the root causes of the civil war,” Judge Willie claimed, adding, “That report spelled out a lack of support to the judiciary, thereby making it subservient to the other two branches of government to include the executive and the legislature.”

Judge Willie said the report also states that as a result, the judiciary was being interfered with. Judges and Magistrates are not adequately compensated, and constant delay in their salaries and benefits is prompting widespread corruption, and leading to mob-violence in the society.

Subsequent to that theme, Judge Willie said is for Liberians to look back, and learn from their past if they wanted to move forward in the country’s development agenda that has remained elusive.

Immediately after Willie rested, Chief Justice Korkpor told the gathering that if courts do not function properly to provide fair and transparent justice to everybody, the society will stand still and those with vested interests stand to suffer, to the point that citizens’ rights will be trampled upon by the powerful and influential people.

Justice Korkpor then encouraged his judges saying that “No doubt the situation will change,” but did not say when and how the situation would change when salaries and other benefits are delayed.

On the intervention of the government, the Chief Justice said it was now time that those considered as policy makers be able to resolve the problem quickly.

“Policy makers should be able to cater to the judiciary, especially the courts in the way that we will continue to function void of corruption, since we are the wheels that guide the society,” Justice Korkpor reminded the government.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Do the best you can, just kill all cases on the dockets, no exception as usual. If you guys will continue to operate like that, you really do not need to talk about salaries and other benefits at all. Enjoy.

  2. Jim, does this mean you support the unsalaried posture of the judiciary, the third arm of government which is openly due to the ineptness and corrupt nature of both the executive and legislative arms of the same government? Please show respect to the most learned personalities of our society. Your blind support cannot erase their existence. Have a sober-thinking day!

    • I do not know if you are actually updated with history relating to corruptions in Liberia, however, let me respectively remind you that since 1847, the Judiciary has never been able to establish an excellent precedents that you and i can claim to be very proud of. Please name only one corruption case the Judiciary has ever in your life time held a person or persons accountable. What we do know is every corruption case is dead upon arrival in any court in Liberia These corruption cases are certainly not killed by the court freely, you know that. These guys are eating, so since we do not have any precedent on the book for holding anyone accountable for corruption in Liberia, the best we can do is to strongly advise these guys to continue eating to the best of their ability.and worry less about salaries and other benefits. JUST WATCH MY FRIEND.

  3. This other judge must really be hard of hearing. What part of “improvise” as instructed by your Chief Justice, didn’t you understand, judge Roosevelt Willie? Or could you be opposing the Chief Justice with your call for integrity and propriety in the judiciary? You better watch out, Mr. Judge, lest you be transferred too, to some village court, as some of your colleagues have suffered already for provoking the angst of our all powerful Chief Justice. Remember Kabineh Janneh? Just a hint.

    • Yall were getting salaries on a regular basis and yet the whole judicary is a complete mess. Judges are rogues and vast majority of lawyers are unethical. The fact y’all aren’t getting pay is a good thing. Business people and others can’t turn to the courts for resolving dispute … Damnn roques

  4. James Kpadeh, I understand your frustration with the judiciary but do not mislead the public if you are ignorant of certain facts on the history of the Liberian Judiciary. I would advise you to read the Liberian Law Report. These are precedents handed down by the Supreme Count of Liberia. That will answer your question. I am using this as a teachable moment!

    • To cut long matter short, my question is not complicated. Will you please with all your historical knowledge name just only one corruption case and the Ruling in that specific case since 1847 to present established as a precedent by the Judiciary whereby a person or persons was held accountable. Do not rush please, take your time and do a very rigid research.History tells us, Liberia is a country where every corruption case is automatically killed upon arrival in any court. Prove me wrong my friend if you can, otherwise, just WATCH. Good luck in you research, hope to hear from you whenever you are done with your research.
      BYE FOR NOW.

  5. Ler Justice Willie find somewhere and sit down. Whether he and his colleagues takes pay or not, They will still continue with their corrupt attitude. So he should not even try to convey the thought that because of not being paid, they have no choice but to practice their corruption. I will re-echo Brother Snyder thoughts to him that if he does not keep quiet, he will soon find himself in one village as the head honcho there. just saying.

  6. Well said by my fellow concern writers. Your suggestions and recommendations in my view should not be debated when it comes to corruption in our country. To many visitors and Liberians, corruption is the key trajectory of every government and or administrations since 1847. Corruption lived in the brain and flesh of those that control the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. For some observers, to eradicate corruption, Liberia should be run by Stewardship. No but and not and.

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