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Press Statement for Immediate Release

CENTAL Commends Supreme Court Ruling on Tenured Positions: Wants President Boakai Uphold the Sanctity of Tenure

Monrovia, Tuesday, April 30, 2024 - Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, thank you for showing up here for this press conference. We look forward to our continued partnership in promoting the culture of accountability and the fight against corruption in Liberia.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, President Joseph N. Boakai nominated several individuals to the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), the Governance Commission (GC), the National Lottery Authority (NLA), and the National Identification Registry (NIR), all of which are already occupied by officials protected by tenure. Following a wave of public backlash over the decision, Cllr. Bushuben Keita, Legal Advisor to President Boakai referenced the constitutional powers of the President to appoint and dismiss those in the executive branch by “will and pleasure”. In a press statement released on February 22, 2024, CENTAL voiced disappointment over the action of the President citing disregard for relevant laws. CENTAL argued that tenure security is a settled matter and that interferences with it in the form of appointments to positions of active tenures were unlawful. Thankfully, in its April 25, 2024 ruling on the matter, the Supreme Court of Liberia upheld its previous decisions on the matter, noting that President Boakai did not act in line with the law.

 Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, barely 24 hours after public acceptance of the Court’s ruling, President Boakai suspended the Chairman of the Governance Commission and the entire board of commissioners of the LTA and appointed acting board of commissioners Abdullah Kamara, Patrick Honnah, Clarence Massaquoi, Ben Fofana, and Angela Bush, the very individuals earlier nominated against which the court ruled. We are deeply concerned over these developments, including the suspension of the very officials who won the lawsuit against the government of Liberia. While we acknowledge the powers of the President to suspend officials of government involved in corruption and other suspicious dealings, we believe such powers must not be exercised as part of a scheme to accomplish an agenda. We are also concerned that audits and investigations are being weaponized to get rid of those suspected to be political opponents, especially in this instant case. CENTAL believes that a true fight against corruption should be holistic or dispassionate and not one that sets out to find fault at all costs in order to settle scores for political and other reasons.

We are on record calling out the suspended Chairman of the Governance Commission, Atty. Garrison Yealue for his active role played during the 2023 election campaign, whilst still serving at the GC. Even as we criticized his actions and do not believe he should continue to head the GC, we hold the position that his removal from office must not be arbitrary, but lawful—be in line with established legal procedures, including due process. But as with the other affected tenure positions, it appears that audits or investigations commissioned by the President do not seek to accord those investigated substantive due process but a mere procedural one to justify removal from tenured positions.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, we therefore recommend the following to President Boakai:

  • That President Boakai reconsiders his decision to appoint the very individuals whose appointments sparked the controversy leading to the Supreme Court’ ruling. We believe that this sends a very wrong signal about the President’s dedication to the rule of law, especially in this instant case.
  • That President Boakai genuinely accords tenured officials substantive due process and not a mere procedural one that helps attain the president’s goal of replacing tenured officials. We believe that such is important if the Supreme Court’s ruling must be sincerely respected and upheld.
  • As the office of the Ombudsman has been established, we encourage the government of Liberia to provide it with the needed financial, logistical and other support to commence full operation. This includes alleged violation of the code of conduct by the chairperson of the governance commission and other similarly-situated tenure officials, especially during the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.

We conclude by reaffirming our commitment to remaining robust in meaningfully supporting national efforts/initiatives to promote and entrench the culture of accountability, transparency, and integrity in Liberia, in all sectors, institutions and places. We call on Liberians to denounce corruption and demand accountability and improved services and performance from their leaders, as we seek to build a transparent, accountable, value-driven and merit-based society and government that holistically and sustainably address the needs of her citizens.

Thanks.

Signed: Management

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