4 February 2013

Liberia: Finance Refers Taylor's Lawyers to CSA

Photo: RNW
Former Liberian president Charles Taylor in court.

The Ministry of Finance has referred Lawyers seeking the annual retirement benefits of former Liberian President Charles Taylor to liaise with the Civil Service Agency (CSA) which is the institution of government responsible to handle all retirement and other associated benefits.

Finance Ministry's position is contained in a letter dated January 29, 2013, addressed to Counselor Sayma Syrenius Cephus, one of counsels for the ex-Liberian head of state.

The Ministry's statement followed an earlier letter send to the Ministry of Finance by Counselor Cephus requesting the annual retirement benefits of Mr. Taylor and his wife, Victoria Addison-Taylor in the amount of US$250,000.00 and US$125,000.00 respectively.

In the January 29, 2013 letter, signed by Deputy Finance Minister for Expenditure and Debt Management, Angela Cassell-Bush, Finance Ministry, urged lawyers seeking Mr. Taylor's annual retirement benefits, to liaise with the CSA which has jurisdiction on the matter.

However, based on the Finance Ministry's advice, Cllr. Cephus, on January 30, 2013, wrote the Director Generator of the CSA, Dr. William Allen, indicating that the legal team of Mr. Taylor was making a request for settlement of his retirement benefits.

Cllr. Cephus said he was confident that the CSA will treat this matter with some degree of urgency, in the same manner and form in which the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Finance unconditionally paid and continues to say the retirement benefits of the late President Samuel Kanyon Doe to his wife, Nancy B. Doe.

In recent days, Mr. Taylor wrote members of the Senate requesting his retirement benefits from government. The former President said he had been denied of his constitutional rights by the government through the Finance Ministry.

Members of the senate are reportedly divided over the request made by the former president, now awaiting prison sentence in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Senators from the former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) said they will advocate for Mr. Taylor's benefit. One Senator in Particular, the late John Whitfield, had threatened to take legal action against the Liberia if it refuses to give Mr. Taylor his just benefits.

However, barely two days after he made the statement, Senator fell out at his residence and was rushed at the hospital, where he remained until he died. The unexpected death of Senator Whitfield shocked members of the senate.

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