15 January 2013

Liberia: Supreme Court Rules in Bong PMC Case

The Supreme Court of Liberia is expected today (Tuesday) hand down final verdict in the Emmanuel Diabolo vs Bong County Legislative Caucus case.

Last December, former Bong County Project Management Committee (PMC) Comptroller, Emmanuel Diabolo, filed a law suit against members of the Bong County Legislative Caucus for what he called illegal dismissal.

Diabolo, who was elected in 2011 by delegates from various districts in Bong County as per the budget law, was dismissed by Caucus for what has been termed disclosing sensitive financial information.

Ahead of tomorrow's verdict, this paper has reliably gathered that members of the Caucus have starting negotiating with Diabolo to pay him off rather than have him reinstated, but the former comptroller through his legal Counselor Jerome Korkoyah, has insisted that he be reinstated, and not paid off.

Caucus members are said to be arguing that it will be humiliating to them if Diabolo is reinstated as per the mandate of the Supreme Court.

They are said to be viewing the reinstatement of the former comptroller to the county PMC as a defeat, especially after Diabolo has said he will not accept his dismissal, challenging its legality.

The former comptroller fell out of favor with Bong County lawmakers when he disclosed that the county had more than hundred thousand in its account from the previous budget year.

The lawmakers told all elected members of the PMC to re-apply as they were about to carry out major reshuffle in the PMC. But Emmanuel Diabolo insisted that he could not apply on grounds that his tenure has not expired.

During the controversial county development sitting, election was expected to be held by delegates to choose new PMC members as per the budget, but Bong County Legislative Caucus Chair George Sylvester Mulbah, came on stage and called a list of new members, asking delegates from the various districts to clap for the appointed PMC members, leaving Mr. Diabolo out.

Diabolo, Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson Mappay and Caucus Chair Mulbah wrestled over microphone during the sitting as the former comptroller took the microphone to express dissatisfaction over his dismissal. The authorities argued that Diabolo was not allowed to make statement at the county sitting, asking him to reduce his grievances into writing.

Since the dismissal of the comptroller, members of the Caucus, especially Representative George Sylvester Mulbah has received widespread condemnation for contravening the budget law. The present PMC that was elected in 2011, was to expire in 2014 as per the budget law.

If Diabolo is ordered reinstated by the highest court, , he might not receive cooperation from Caucus members, who may not want to do financial transaction with him as the PMC is now controlling over US$2 million the county is receiving from various concession companies operating in the county. A lot of citizens in Bong are said to be breathless as they anxiously await the court's verdict.

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