Ex-President Charles Taylor has threatened to take the Government of Liberia to court if the Liberian Senate failed to amicably address his request for amenities, including financial benefits as a former Head of State.
An aide to the convicted ex-president told this paper Wednesday evening that two of his (Taylor) local lawyers are considering the legal option should the political negotiation fail. Charles Taylor's local legal team is being headed by Cllr. Lavala Supuwood and Cllr. Syrenius Cephas.
The Secretary-General of Taylor's National Patriotic Party (NPP) Senator John Francis Whitefield told journalists here Wednesday that the legal defense consul of the former Liberian leader are currently in the country, considering legal action against the Government should the Upper House unsuccessfully address the concern.
Mr. Taylor had written a three-page communication to the Liberian Senate, dated 3 September 2012, requesting for benefits, including cash, diplomatic protection, and diplomatic passports for his family members as well as support staff.
The letter was read in Plenary on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, sparking serious uproar among members of the Senate, who have set next Tuesday to debate the matter.
However, speaking to Legislative reporters at the Capitol, the Grand Bassa County Senator indicated that the government's attitude to have denied Taylor and other past presidents their just benefits is unacceptable and harmful to those who are victims of the circumstances.
According to the communication sent to the Senate, the 51st Liberian Legislature enacted a law in 2003, which was subsequently signed by former President Taylor that "a former President of the Republic, who has honorably retired to private life, and who is not in any way gainfully employed by government, shall receive from government a pension equal to 50 percent of the salary of the incumbent President annually.
In addition, a former President shall be provided a personal staff and facilities for the remainder of his /her life. The amount allowed for this shall not be less than US$25, 000," the communication read.
But Taylor notes: "Sadly, I am without notice as to why finance ministers of the Republic have failed and refused to comply with the law of the land as regards my annuities."
Senator Whitefield, who demanded this paper's reporter to refer to Taylor as President instead of former President Taylor during the interview, added that if the government likes it or not, his former boss has served in the highest post of the country and due courtesy should be accorded him.
Whitefield said he will stand tall both on the flood of plenary and within the corridors of the Capitol to defend rights and will provide justification that the government should do the right thing by giving the just benefits to all past leaders, not only Mr. Taylor.
Also speaking to the New Dawn on the issue, Maryland County Senator Dan Morais, current Chairperson on Foreign Relations said former President Taylor has some legitimate claims, and the Senate will duly made its position clear on the matter.
Senator Morais pointed out that there are constitutional provisions that support the argument of the former President, and as leaders they will follow the matter closely to make sure due diligence is observed.