10 July 2014

Liberia: Back to Work - Supreme Court Lifts Justice Minister Suspension

Monrovia — After months of serving her suspension, the Supreme Court of Liberia has lifted the suspension on Liberia's Justice Minister, Cllr. Christina Tah ordering that she is now free to resume work on July 11. The Supreme Court reached the decision on Wednesday when the full bench of the high court after the reading of a letter from the Minister.

The Supreme Court in hearing the Notice of Suspension against Cllr. Tah, like the case of Cllr. Beyan Howard, whose suspension was also lifted during the March term of Court, Chief Justice Francis Kporkor ordered the legal license of the Justice Minister restored.

"We have reviewed the records and find that her suspension period has been served and therefore, Cllr. Tah's license is hereby ordered restored and may she therefore proceed to practice law within the bailiwick of this Republic by July 11", said Chief Justice Kporkor.

Cllr. Tah after the lifting of her suspension quickly left the courtroom and was unavailable for comment as the grounds of the court was also crowded due to the court appearance of alleged perpetrators of the violent protest in Nimba.

Minister Tah was suspended from practicing law in Liberia for six months as the court held the Minister and Cllr. Howard in contempt for granting a compassionate leave to FrontPageAfrica publisher Rodney Sieh, following a request made to Justice Minister Tah by Cllr. Howard to grant Sieh the compassionate leave from prison. Journalist Sieh's detention had stemmed from his refusal to pay a US$1.5M damages to former Agriculture Minister Chris Toe after losing a libel sue to former Agriculture Minister Chris Toe.

Dr. Toe had sued the FrontPageAfrica Editor for a series of stories the paper had written from the General Auditing Commission (GAC) report that the former Agriculture Minister failed to account for funds offered him by the government to fight army worms that invaded two counties. Mr. Sieh had taken an appeal to the Supreme Court after losing the case at the Civil Law Court, but his appeal to the high court was dismissed on grounds that he did not follow the process of appeal.

While Sieh's appeal was dismissed the high court mandated the lower court to re-enforce its judgment for the FrontPageAfrica Editor to pay the US$1.5M but his failure on the ground that he does not have such a huge sum of money resulted in his detention on order of the Civil Law Court. When Cllr. Howard's suspension was lifted in March, he said he felt bad for Minister Tah's hefty punishment by the Supreme Court.

"I fell very bad because she is feeling the impact for fighting against repressive laws like myself. She was trying to keep the country stable from the cry of the Press Union of Liberia, the international community, she was under an obligation to ensure that we slept well and security is well, but unfortunately she found herself where she is and I feel bad about that", said Cllr. Howard.

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