8 February 2013

Liberia: Margibi Rep. Calls for Judiciary Budget Increment

Margibi County District #4 Representative Stephen Kaffi, is calling for an increment in the Judiciary budget.

Representative Kaffi said it was quite disheartening to note that among the three branches of government, the budget for the Judiciary was the least of them.

The Margibi County Lawmaker noted that the current budget for the Judiciary is unmatched to many ministries and agencies of the Executive Branch of Government.

According to the Liberia News Agency, the Representative made the call recently in Kakata during the retirement of seven Magistrates, Associate Magistrates and a Defense Counsel from Bong, Margibi, Grand Bassa and Rivercess Counties.

Representative Kaffi indicated that come the next budget when submitted to the legislature he will strongly lobby with his colleagues for the increment of the judiciary budget.

He said the Judiciary is the epic center of any democratic society and the under support to it was tantamount to the encouragement of unwholesomeness in the judiciary adding "what do you expect a Judge that presides over a half of million dollar case and makes less than twenty thousand Liberian dollars a month, he or could be subjected to receiving bribe when given a hundred and fifty thousand dollars to dispense judgment in favor of party that may not be in the right".

He further noted that if any member of the Judiciary receives bribe from either party of a given case, the government was fully responsible for same all due to the meager supports it receives from the national budget.

He also revealed that due to the low budgetary support to the judiciary that is the final arbiter of justice in the country would receive such a low budgetary support from government when some ministries and agencies annual budget is two times the size of a branch of government.

He lamented that because of this, some judges are currently using their privately owned vehicles, those with old one is some times seen pushing it in the street and while those without one goes to court at the mercy of a commercial vehicle.

At the same time, Finance Minister, Amara Konneh has welcomed the Representative's call.

Minister Konneh said the call made by the Margibi County was in the best interest of, government, its people, and assured government's willingness to work along with the Legislature for the increment of the budget of the judiciary.

Minister Konneh said the next budget would look in the direction of the Margibi County Law maker call noting that when the next fiscal budget is submitted to the Legislature, what decision or allotment made reflecting the budgetary increment will be taken into consideration.

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