Liberia: 'Do Not Cut Judges' Salaries,' Judge Gbeisay Warns

-- Says it will demoralize the Judiciary

The assigned Judge at the 9th Judicial Circuit in Gbarnga, Bong County, Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay, has warned that any attempt by the government to reduce judges' salaries and other benefits in the name of "harmonization" will have the propensity to demoralize the judiciary.

"Judges in Liberia, particularly trial judges, make US$5,000 as net salary, while ministers, who have traveling and other allowances, apart from their take home pay of US$ 8,000. So, if you want to harmonize, put our salaries on par with the ministers before you talk about harmonization. Any attempt to reduce judges' salaries and benefits in the name of "harmonization," will undermine the judiciary," Judge Gbeisay warned.

In his statement at the formal opening of the 9th Judicial Circuit on Monday, November 11, 2019, Judge Gbeisay, said judges around the world are well paid to demonstrate fair and impartial decisions, and also avoid the "temptation of bribe-taking, while discharging their respective duties."

"Judges are verboten (forbidden) from participating in any other activities, such as running businesses like in the case of the ministers, who run commercial activities while serving their ministerial positions. And so, to reduce the salaries of judges will adversely affect the judiciary in terms of dispensing fair justice," Gbeisay said.

He continued: "Our colleagues in the Executive (Ministers), who have traveling and other incentives, take home US$8,000 monthly, while judges who don't travel frequently, otherwise invited for judicial purpose. So, do not cut judges' salaries because doing so would be the wrong thing in the current dispensation."

He then admonished court workers to be dutiful and result-oriented in the discharge of their respective duties, noting, "I will not accept any act of lethargy from judicial actors under my watch as the Chief Justice's direct representative in the county."

"In Liberia, many of our compatriots who are unwilling to work would rather appear committed and hard-working in the process of looking for job, but the moment we get the job, we are slow on duty," the Judge said.

Earlier, Bong County lead prosecutor, Attorney Jonathan Flomo, assured Judge Gbeisay that he will closely work with the defense team to speedily try cases on docket, and to ensure that fair and unbiased dispensation of justice is upheld.

Flomo informed the Court that there are 58 criminal cases currently on docket, but said these cases can only be fast-tracked when the prosecution and the defense teams coexist.

As for Bong County Superintendent, Esther Yamah Walker, she informed the Court on the numerous land disputes in the county and called on the Court to salvage the situation.

"Most of the criminal cases, like murder, are emanating from land disputes, so the Court needs to fast-track some of the land cases," Supt. Walker said.

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