What Is Your Take, Mr. Justice Francis Korkpor?

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Reports of Senators leaving the country in droves in the wake of Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment and removal from the Supreme Court Bench as carried in its front page lead story of the April 3, 2019 edition of the Daily Observer has claimed the attention of this newspaper.

According to the story several senators have either left or are leaving the country for a number of purported reasons “ranging from medical to vacation and holiday.  As a result, the story continues, the Senate was unable to convene on Tuesday, owing to the lack of a quorum because those present (about 10 in number) did not constitute a number sufficient enough for a quorum.

This newspaper finds it strange and unusual that after just having returned from recess, senators are leaving the country for rather frivolous reasons when they should be hard at work doing the people’s business. A number of them, having voted against the wishes of their respective parties to have Ja’neh impeached and removed from office in a process marred by fraud and irregularities now appear to be seeking to avoid the spotlight and vigorous public excoriation for their act of betrayal of the Constitution of Liberia.

Not surprisingly the public space is awash with stories of senators having each received their “thirty pieces of silver” loads of cash (allegedly US$50,000 each) in exchange for their questionable “Yes” vote to oust Ja’neh from office. Their rather surreptitious and sudden flight from the country has served to reinforce public impressions that they were handsomely bribed by the Executive to secure the removal of Mr. Justice Ja’neh from the Supreme Court Bench.

At the heart of the issues surrounding the questionable behavior of Senate President Pro Tempore Albert Chie and his visibly corrupt handling of the vote process and vote count is the actual number of votes recorded. At this stage the public has yet to know the actual number of votes recorded on each side. How many senators, for example, voted in favor of Justice Ja’neh’s removal and how many voted against, is yet undetermined.

And this is so principally because the presiding officer, Senator Albert Chie, who illegally took the unsealed ballot box to his home before releasing the purported results of the voting exercise the next day, has since proved uncooperative and unyielding to demands for a recount of the signed ballots. The question is what to do next in view of Senator Albert Chie’s faux pas.

Under the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, Chapter 7 Article 66, “the Supreme Court shall be the final arbiter of constitutional issues and shall exercise final appellate jurisdiction in all cases whether emanating from courts of record, courts not of record, administrative agencies, autonomous agencies or any other authority, both as to law and fact except cases involving ambassadors, ministers, or cases in which a county is a party. In all such cases, the Supreme Court shall exercise originate jurisdiction. The Legislature shall make no law nor create any exceptions as would deprive the Supreme Court of any of the powers granted herein”.

In view of this questions arise whether Chie’s actions (mishandling of the vote process) is a justiciable matter. And in case it is, how can Chie’s non-compliance with demands for proper accountability of the vote process be assured in face of the glaring display of bias by Chief Justice Korkpor beginning from his apparent countenance of the utter disrespect shown to the Court by Representative Acarous Gray and others at the initial stage of the impeachment process who at the initial stage refused to answer to summons from the Court to appear.

Further, to where can senators aggrieved by the actions of Chief Justice Korkpor and Senate President Albert Chie take their case is a question uppermost on the minds of the people. Apparently as if done by the stroke of a pen, Chief Justice Korkpor, by his dismal and disappointing handling of the Ja’neh’s impeachment trial has virtually shot himself or the Court in the leg. His actions, according to legal experts, have only served to undermine public trust and confidence in the Judiciary.

Lest we be remiss, this newspaper must point out that a weak Judiciary undermined by corruption and plagued by a lack of public trust in judicial and criminal justice institutions can be directly linked to the growing incidences of violent mob action occurring around the country almost daily. The situation is further compounded by a seemingly entrenched culture of fear and impunity that virtually pervades the nation.

Perhaps this can explain just why the case of Senator Varney Sherman and other former officials  including former House Speaker Alex Tyler, already indicted on criminal charges of bribery in the Sable Mining brouhaha, may never see the light of day in a court of competent jurisdiction given the apparent current negative disposition of this government towards issues of justice and accountability.

Given all the above and given the available facts, this newspaper holds the view that some members of the Legislature have failed to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the Republic and to faithfully discharge duties of such office. In this regard, they have violated Articles 31, 43 and 66 of the Constitution of Liberia especially Article 31 which imposes, under oath, the duty to uphold and defend the Constitution and laws of the Republic and faithfully discharge duties of said office.

Can it be said therefore, that blatant violations of the law evidenced in the Korkpor-Chie handling of the Ja’neh impeachment case have negative implications for the conduct of future elections in Liberia and for sustained peace and stability in Liberia and the growth of its fragile democracy? To this question, the Daily Observer’s answer is a resounding YES!  What is your take Mr. Justice Francis Korkpor?

14 COMMENTS

  1. This man has no take, the Daily Observer. He was one those who came on the bench and starting harassing and undermining the erudite Liberian Lawyer and Jurist, the late Johnnie N.Lewis, now as Chief Justice, he was trembling before little boys: George M.Weah, Arcious Gray, Mulbah Morlu,etc. Why not we called for his resignation from the Bench? Because he is not competent to handle the affairs of the Judiciary.

  2. Although Daily Observer since 1982 didn’t pretend to be impartial in whatever the reporting was, it never descended to the level of malice-motivated muckraking few commenters have noticed in recent opinion cum reporting. And, thankfully, the new proprietor and his wife are lawyers therefore will keep eyes on the assembly line of cranky misleading editorializing.

    This is to say (though a layman) the last time I checked, “an opinion may be considered defamatory if it implies that the opinion is based on defamatory facts that have not been disclosed”. I’m not going to cite case law where that point is made. But the sleight of hand about “public space awash with stories of senators having received their (allegedly US $50, 000 each)” won’t be much of a defense to defamation in the absence of evidence of “public space awash with stories…” bla, bla, bla.

    What amazes me about ideological zealots is that regardless of danger to others, it has to be their way, or no way. They share this singlemindedness of purpose with terrorists never mind their weapons of choice are half-truth, rabble-rousing and hate speech. What an irony that many of them believe it is all done for the “common good”; little wonder, then, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

  3. George Weah now has total control of the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Executive…that’s the definition of Dictatorship. We no longer have equal and separate branches of government. God help us….

    • George Weah will never relinquish the presidency, in time to come, Weah will ask the Legislature to pass a law to remove term limit and the courts with all his appointed justices will concur…this is the ground work we are witnessing for the eventual Weah for life presidency.

  4. It is the type of speculatory tomfoolery that tempts disgruntled politicians, partisan journalists and their echo chambers to engage in relentless rabble-rousing. Many of our elites talk democracy, yet, understandably, petrified by one man, one vote, because regaining trust of a long-suffering abandoned vast majority seems a uphill task. Most likely, though, if those with such defeatist attitude embrace GMW’s development agenda in empowering the downtrodden, they will win hearts and minds too.

    Let’s stop the Us vs.Them nonsense, folks, voters are a lot smarter than many give them credit for. Our people saw through the bullish destroy and build bluff, they won’t buy chaos again.

  5. Us vs Them is live and well in the political makeup of the CDC government….it’s their currency.

    The only GMW’s so-called development agenda is building himself mansions and buying his private plane…he was after this presidency for over 12 years, can you tell us of any major development project going on right that will help so-called downtrodden…a slogan ” pro-poor” is just a slogan not a plan for development as the country economic indicators are all falling apart…inflation has gone up over 100% since Mr. Pro-Poor took office and you know who’s being affected the most, so-called downtrodden.

  6. It tomfoolery to not recognize a dictator in the making as you will contend that your former boss Samuel Doe was never a dictator…so I’m not surprise that you are dismissive of a looming and clear dictator in the making.

  7. When one writes a defamatory piece and seeks cover to rationalize malicious intent, it speaks volumes. If we expect essays of high school seniors to support assumptions and anticipate objections of classmates, it beats the bitters that a journalist will habitually defend his opinions through a pseudonym. Not to mention that a guy who talks of dictatorship, yet goes loco anytime he is held accountable has serious issues.

    One last thing, I’ve served other heads of state apart from SKD, and falsehood about any gets a firm rebuttal from me. You are more of a propagandist than a journalist; why convey the false impression that no one worked for his government except me. God knows it can be a bore engaging in these dialogues, but some of us have to hold zealots’ feet to the fire before they drag us over the cliff again.

    • Sylvester Baghdad-bob Moses, no job for you here in Liberia. Sit down in Philly until you are arrested for your murderous handling of the NSA during Doe’s time when you became pisty drunk and pepe on yourself in front of SKD, which led to your dismissal. I noticed you no longer go on FPA anymore – we’re coming to run you out of here as well.

  8. Wow, changed like a chameleon from Flomo Smith to Eddie Jones, oh well, you’re “proud-to-be anonymous”. By the way, SKD was misled by you guys’ contacts near him. When he rehired me as Minister of National Security in July 1989, the military unpreparedness left a gaping hole through which NPFL’s blitz passed undisputed a year later.

    No surprise that argument ad hominem has kicked in; I was waiting to see how long that would take. And just like you, the other guy playing investigating journalist at FPA got cold feet, and after getting tired of abusing me, blocked my account. Mr. Anonymous, It doesn’t take much to be an effective journalist, but you guys don’t give a damn about standards of the craft. Journalism is about 40% communication skills and 60% interpersonal skills; go figure, and be a top-notch in your own field too.

    • Getting paranoid…seeing me in every profession or person posting on here…I’m not a journalist nor do I know anything about you personally…I only know that you worked in Doe notorious NSA.

      • Sylvester Baghdad-bob Moses, you must be zany to think I would hide behind pseudonyms. Why would I resort to ad hominem over what is an obvious truth, Baghdad-bob Moses? You are one incompetent brute who trying to get into the good graces of Weah and I’m not sure whether your platitudes are reaching him – are they?

  9. The chief justice should resign with immediate effect. This is important in order to restore confidence in our justice system.

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