Liberia: 'Chief Justice Escapes', Abandons Official Vehicle

26 October 2020

Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor last Friday morning saw himself in an unexpected and an apparent embarrassing situation when his convoy, upon arrival at the Temple of Justice, was prevented by some suspended members of the aggrieved judicial workers who had earlier protested for their 12 months' salaries.

The head of the protesters Leroy Archie Ponpon was seen lying under the official vehicle of the Chief Justice, few days following his indefinite suspension by the Judiciary based on the reported order of Justice Korkpor.

Our reporter said when the Chief Justice entered the courtyard with his convoy, Chairman Ponpon immediately went and lied down flat under his vehicle demanding that Justice Korkpor should kill him since he chose to take bread from his family through his suspension.

But the Chief Justice was seen jumping into his escort vehicle with license plate # JUD 6 and immediately drove out of the court premises, as judicial employees and others looked on, leaving his official vehicle behind.

Ponpon threatened to set himself ablaze in protest of what he referred to as the illegal suspension of he and other judicial workers.

"Before those of my supporters get dismissed and lose the fruit of their labor, Leroy Archie Pompon will commit suicide or set myself on fire with gas," a placard that Ponpon was holding while lying under the Chief Justice's JUD 1 vehicle read.

Ponpon said their recent peaceful protest which has now made the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to announce three months' payment of their salaries by the end of this October was marked by alleged death threats from authorities of the Judiciary implemented by Paul Tuanzama, Director of the Judicial Security Service.

He claimed that the Judiciary has secret chambers where some aggrieved workers who were part of the protest are being tortured and forced to make statements against their will.

Brenda Geekor, one of the last Friday protesters said their action is not about Archie alone, but all of their 19 colleagues who were also suspended after the recent protests.

It can be recalled that aggrieved workers of the Judiciary recently staged several protests against the Chief Justice, claiming that their actions were intended to draw his attention to what they described as 'the justices' reluctance to look into their complaints about the withholding of 12 months component of their Liberian dollars' salaries."

The Chief Justice had earlier asked the aggrieved workers to set up a three-member committee to work along with the Personnel Division of the Judiciary to investigate the matter, but the aggrieved workers still went ahead with their protest.

Prior to the arrival of Chief Justice Korkpor's convoy, over 100 aggrieved workers assembled in his reserved parking spot. Upon his arrival, the Marshall and head of security at the Supreme Court attempted to intervene to have the protesters relocate, but they refused.

The Magistrate of the Monrovia City Court Jomah Jallah also intervened, but could not persuade the aggrieved workers to leave the space.

Justice Korkpor was later advised to relocate his convoy to the basement of the Temple of Justice Building where confiscated vehicles and other lower-level staff vehicles are parked.

Immediately after Justice Korkpor relocated his vehicles, the spokesperson of the aggrieved workers told a group of judicial reporters that "this is just the beginning of our struggle."

Ponpon's statement was greeted with slogans by the aggrieved workers saying, "Touch one Touch all. "We are not going to be tired until we can get our just benefits."

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