30 January 2013

Liberia: Taylor Drags Gov't to Court

Photo: RNW
Former Liberian president Charles Taylor in court.

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor has dragged the Liberian Government to the Supreme Court of Liberia for its failure to settle his pension benefits.

The spokesman of the Taylor family, Senator Sando Johnson said in plenary that the family finally sued the government due to the delay from the Liberian Legislature into the matter.

Speaking in plenary ruthlessly at the Capitol Building in Monrovia, the Bomi County Senator indicated that the attitude of this government to have denied Mr. Taylor and other past leaders their just benefits is unacceptable and harmful to those who are victims of the circumstances.

It could be recall, that Taylor's three-page communication to the Liberian Senate, requesting for benefits, including cash, diplomatic protection, and diplomatic passports for his family members as well as support staff as 21st President of Liberia was read in plenary early this month .

According to the communication, an act in 2003, which was subsequently signed into law by Taylor before his exiled, said "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.

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 said.

"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', Mr. Taylor said in his letter.

He noted that the fact is that he had not received his entitlement as set out under the law as a former President of Liberia since his resignation on August 11, 2003.

He said: "A reasonable observer, properly informed, would reasonably apprehend bias because there is evidence that some individuals that are covered under this act are receiving their annuities."

Taylor: "I posit that there is the sacred and overriding principle that, justice must not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done. Ultimately, the actions taken so far by Government whether an oversight or contrived, I suggest, reflect on the integrity and standing as regards the appreciation for the rule of law and the fair conduct of Government. The practice of selective application of any law of the Republic is in itself a violation of the law."

Senator Johnson said he will stand tall both on the flood of plenary and within the corridors of the Capitol Building to defend the rights and will provide justification that the government should do the right thing by giving the just benefits to all past leaders and not only Mr. Taylor.

Sen. Johnson pointed out that request of the former Liberian leader is legal and does not required any justification for the matter to be delay by any branch of government.

Meanwhile, the Senate Chairman on Judiciary, Senator Joseph Nagbe said that Senate is in consultation with the Justice Ministry for opinion into the claims of the former Liberian leader.

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