Liberia: Boakai's Appointment Backfires

The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) has expressed dismay over recent appointments made by President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr. Which affects tenured positions at public institutions

On Tuesday, February 20, President Boakai nominated several individuals to the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA), Governance Commission, National Lottery Authority, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Identification Registry, etc.

Speaking at a news conference in Monrovia, CENTEL Program Manager, Atty Gerald D Yeakula, said: "Nonetheless, it has come to our attention that a number of these appointments are being made without regard for tenure security provided in relevant laws. We wish to highlight that tenure security is a settled matter and that interferences with it as appointments to positions of active tenures are unlawful. In the case, Martin Sallie Kollie vs. the Executive Branch of the Government of the Republic of Liberia, the Supreme Court of Liberia upheld the sanctity of tenure against an illegitimate exercise of Presidential appointment.

Then President George M. Weah had nominated a Director General of the National Lottery Authority (NLA) when, in fact, Mr. Kollie had been commissioned by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf before the election of President Weah. The Court ruled that the appointment was hopefully illegitimate since the NLA Director General had a secured tenure of four (4) years, as prescribed by the Legislature.

"The power of the Legislature to insulate public positions against removal by the will and pleasure of the President was further interpreted to include the power to legislate officials out of office through a Legislative act.

"The Constitutionality Of Sections 16.1 And 16.2 Of The Act To Amend And Restate An Act To Establish The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission And To Re-Establish The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, the Supreme Court held that tenured positions which are creatures of the Legislature can be divested of tenure by the Legislature," CENTAL said.

The pro-democracy group further emphasized that positions constitutionally protected by tenure and, therefore immune to legislative manipulation are clearly stated in the constitution and include positions of President, Vice, President, Chief Justice, Associate Justices, Legislators, Judges of Subordinate Courts of records, etc.

CENTAL: "For such categories of public officials, only the Liberian people acting through a referendum can remove or amend their tenures. Simply put, constitutionally protected tenures can only be removed without cause by the people of Liberia, and legislatively enacted tenures can only be removed without cause by the Legislature. Where cause exists for removal, different competent authorities to effect removal have been designated."

Furthermore CENTAL stated that it is dismayed about the decision of President Boakai to appoint persons to actively occupied tenured positions. The action of the President does not only violate relevant laws, as enacted by the Legislature and interpreted by the Supreme Court but undermines the tenets of good governance, which tenures seek to promote and defend.

Office of Ombudsman to oversee implementation of the Code of Conduct for Public Officials; and timely and impartially investigating and prosecuting corruption complaints/cases. Others include investigating and prosecuting former government officials sanctioned for corruption by the US Government; Preventing and addressing Budget Corruption; Strengthening partnerships with civil society and the media in fighting corruption and other issues; Auditing all branches of government and implementing Audit Reports and Recommendations from the General Auditing Commission." CENTAL noted.

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