17 January 2013

Liberia: Supreme Court Calls for Negotiation

It appears that verdict in the case Emmanuel Diabolo vs Bong County Legislative Caucus currently before the Supreme Court of Liberia may not see daylight as the highest court has asked the Caucus to negotiate with lawyer representing Mr. Diabolo, complainant in the case.

Emmanuel Diabolo is former comptroller of the Bong County Project Management Committee, who was summarily dismissed last year by the county's Legislative Caucus headed by Representative George S. Mulbah.

But Diabolo has challenged his dismissal, arguing that he did not end his tenure of service, and was forced out of the post. He took his complaint to the Supreme Court, and the court was scheduled to have come up with a ruling on Tuesday, but has instead, called for negotiation between both parties.

The decision from the highest court is being viewed by many in the county as a verdict against members of the Legislative Caucus, who are opting to pay off Mr. Diabolo rather than reinstating him, which they consider as a humiliation.

However, Diabolo's lawyer Counselor Jerome Korkoyah, has argued that his client, who was elected by delegates from all districts in the county, should be reinstated to allow him complete his tenure other than a pay off. The tenure of the current PMC that was elected in 2011 is to expire in 2014 in accordance with the budget law.

If Diabolo were reinstated as his lawyer is demanding, he might not receive full cooperation as members of the Caucus would not want to do financial transaction with him, especially so at the time when the PMC controls over US$2 million received from various sources

Some members of the Caucus had asked for an out of court settlement on grounds that the county's sons should be dragging one another to court. According to report, the court has however said it will give final ruling on 29 January 2013 if both parties do not find a common ground.

In December 2012 the former Project Management Committee Comptroller filed a lawsuit against members of the Bong Legislative Caucus for what he called illegal dismissal. Diabolo fell out of favor with the Caucus after he disclosed that Bong County had over US$100,000 in its account from the previous budgetary year.

Caucus members subsequently asked all elected members of the PMC to reapply as they were about to reshuffle the entire PMC, but Diabolo rejected the request, arguing that he could not reapply on grounds that he has not ended his tenure of service. During the controversial county development sitting, election was expected to be held for delegates to choose new slate of PMC members as per the budget law.

However, Caucus Chairperson Representative George Sylvester Mulbah interrupted the process and instead unveiled a list of new members for the PMC and asked delegates at the sitting from the various districts to clap for the appointed PMC members, excluding Diabolo.

The embattled PMC Comptroller Diabolo, Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson Mappay and Hon. Mulbah wrestled over a microphone during the sitting as the former comptroller took the microphone to express his dissatisfaction over his dismissal.

But the county authorities argued that Diabolo was not allowed to speak at the sitting, asking him to reduce his grievances to writing. Since the dismissal of the comptroller, members of the Caucus, especially Representative Mulbah has received widespread condemnation for contravening the budget law.

Copyright © 2013 The New Dawn. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.