11 May 2017

Liberia: 'Sawyer Not Serving Illegally'

The Governance Commission (GC), formerly the Governance Reform Commission (GRC) has reacted to public concern about the tenure of Dr. Amos Sawyer as Chair of the commission.

Recently, some Liberians including talk show host Henry Costa, said Dr. Sawyer's tenure at the Governance Commission has since expired, but was still serving illegally in a total disregard of the Act that created the commission.

Costa and others said it was disappointing that Dr. Sawyer as head of an institution pushing good governance issues will be a violator of the law.

According to Costa, Dr. Sawyer's second and last tenure which summed up to eight years ended about years ago, indicating that the Governance Commission Chairman is serving two illegal years and that he is being paid by government.

Mr. Costa did not however say when exactly Dr. Sawyer was appointed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as chair of the GC.

But the Commission said Costa and his followers are not speaking from an informed position, and urged them to ascertain facts before releasing information to the public.

Janet Johnson, Communication Officer at the Governance Commission told The NEWS Wednesday that contrary to the claims that Dr. Sawyer was violating the law, his tenure officially comes to an end in October this year.

Madam Johnson said Dr. Sawyer was appointed immediately after the passage of the Act creating the Governance Commission from the Governance Reform Commission (GRC). The Act was passed in 2009.

"You can only say Dr. Sawyer is illegally serving if he's still at the commission after October 2017, because at that time he would have served two consecutive terms," Madam Johnson said.

Section 5.1 of the Act creating the Governance states that: "Commissioners at the Commission shall serve a term of four years, and may be reappointed for additional years provided that in no instance a commissioner shall serve more than two terms, whether successive or separate. Service by the commissioners shall conform to the terms of reference of the appointments, not inconsistent with this Act."

Madam Johnson said Dr. Sawyer was fully aware of provisions governing the Commission, and will do nothing to undermine the law.

When quizzed whether the former Interim President has been embarrassed in recent time when he was being referred to by Costa as illegitimate head of the Commission, Madam Johnson said Dr. Sawyer has never been embarrassed because he is not in the wrong.


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