Amid continuous protests, allegations and public 'disrespect' shown to Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor and the Judiciary by judicial workers and some journalists assigned at the Temple of Justice, the Civil Society Network of Liberia (CSNL) has strongly defended the character and integrity of the Chief Justice and the entire leadership of the Judiciary.
Scores of Judicial workers, last month (October) intensified their protest actions against the leadership of the Judiciary, particularly chanting 'derogatory and disdainful slogans' against the impeccable reputation of Chief Justice Korkpor on grounds that the leadership of the Judiciary has refused to give them or has eaten their duly entitled salaries and benefits.
Chief Justice Korkpor and the administration of the Judiciary made several clarifications to the protesting workers on many occasions about the circumstances surrounding their salaries like all other civil servants and government employees as a result of the much publicized harmonization policy but to no avail.
On one of the protest days, October 13, 2020, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah rushed to the grounds of the Temple of Justice and told protesting judicial staff that the government was doing all it could to address the situation and probably restore the cuts in their salaries.
In September this year, the Judiciary made clarity to the protesting employees that whatever cuts in their salaries were not the doing of the Judiciary and that the cuts affected all employees of government in keeping with the harmonization policy.
The group said "Despite all of the interventions and clarifications done by the Judiciary and the Executive branches, some unscrupulous individuals led by Mr. Archie Ponpon, under the guise of protesting for cuts in the Liberian Dollar component of their salaries, continue to make unwarranted public statements, insulting the Chief Justice and bringing to public disrepute, the integrity of the Honorable Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia."
"Mr. Ponpon continues to parade at several radio stations and other public platforms, alleging that Chief Justice Korkpor wants to kill him, an allegation the Civil Society Network of Liberia described as grave but unfortunately, not supported by any iota of evidence but rather solely intended to tarnish the reputation of Justice Korkpor to achieve the selfish and seemingly political aims of Mr. Ponpon's benefactors," the group added.
This attitude, the civil society group said it would not condone and therefore called on Mr. Ponpon and his accomplices to immediately desist as their unjustified actions are not only disrespectful to Chief Justice Korkpor but also has the propensity to erode the sacredness of the Judiciary which is a non-political branch of government and the fulcrum of the peace, justice and stability of Liberia.
The group reminded Mr. Ponpon and his fellow protesting workers that the harmonization policy affected the entire government and is therefore not the making of the Chief Justice Korkpor whom himself is a victim of said policy.
Besides, the civil society group emphasized that it is impossible for the Chief Justice or any official of government in the three branches to individually tamper with any government worker's salary because the government has since put in place and is operating a direct deposit policy which allows every government employee to receive his/her salary through a personal bank account.
The Civil Society Network of Liberia has meanwhile welcomed the suspension, transfer and/or investigation of several protesting judicial workers who were part of recent protests and levying unsubstantiated allegations against Chief Justice Francis Korkpor.
The civil society group has also re-echoed recent caution by Chief Justice Francis Korkpor and the Director of Communications at the Judiciary, Atty. Darryl Ambrose Nmahthat journalists reporting from that sacred branch of government be more careful and exercise maximum professionalism in their reportage.
CSNL maintained that misinformation from any reportage emanating from the Judiciary has the propensity of eroding public trust and confidence and could be a recipe for confusion in the public.
The group also urged the judicial reporters to seek a more closer working relationship with the communication office of the Judiciary to always cross-check any information or news item they may have doubt about before going to press because doing so would enhance credible information dissemination and reliable news reporting at all times.
Meanwhile, the Civil Society Network of Liberia has rubbished what it calls malicious claims that Chief Justice Korkpor's office staff comprises of only people from his Nimba County and that he was saturating the Judiciary in all departments, with Nimbaians.
The group said its investigation has established that the claims are untrue and are only part of the deliberate character assassination campaign launched by uncivilized and rogue elements that have got nothing to contribute to the remarkable transformational work of the Judiciary under Justice Korkpor and the larger growth and development of Liberia.