Monrovia - Judicial workers wishing to contest the upcoming presidential and legislative elections in October 2017 have been told to resign now to pursue their political ambitions.
Chief Justice Francis Korkpor sent out the caveat to the judicial workers at the Temple of Justice on Monday, February 13 during program marking the official opening of the February 2017 Term of Court.
The opening of the February Term of Court across the country was marked with the usual custom that covers a Judge’s charge/speech as well as remarks from the Ministry of Justice - the prosecution arm of government.
Also present at the opening of the court were the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), Trial Judges Association and the Public Defense Office among others.
This is the second time Chief Justice Korkpor has sent out a warning to judicial workers seeking elected positions, calling on them to resign.
But despite these repeated calls, no judicial worker is yet to make public his/her intention to contest the elections with just seven months away.
“As you are aware we will be entering elections and we Judges are not politicians, therefore anyone of you who wants to contest the elections should leave the Judiciary,” said Chief Justice Korkpor.
He clarified that his warning was not only limited to Judges, but clerks, bailiffs as well as lawyers from the public defense office.
Chief Justice Korkpor indicated that the 2017 elections was a critical venture for every Liberian.
The various Circuit Courts in the country operate on a four terms basis: February, May, August and November with a 42 day sitting for each term, as the law requires that only one jury trial for each term of court.
During the opening ceremony, the Chief Justice announced that officials from the ECOWAS Court will be holding a seminar with the Judiciary from February 19-25.
He said decision was agreed during the recent visit to Monrovia of officials from the court in Abuja, Nigeria.
However, in his charge to open the court, Judge Geevon Smith said Judges were opening the term with heavy heart because the cruel hands of death had caused the absence of several of their colleagues including former Chief Justice Johnny N. Lewis, Albert Dweh, Emmanuel Kollie, Evelyn Quaqua and Joseph Fayiah.
Judge Smith claimed that by their code of ethics, Judges are not to engage in a business venture but to depend straightly on entitlement.
He said judges are disappointed that when they are retired they are given 50% of their salaries which amounts to LD$7,500 as compared to retirement benefit of former members of the legislature – Representatives and Senators.
“These former lawmakers were receiving four times to that of judges and at the same time were not banned from engaging in commercial activities. This is pure marginalization against the judges,” said Judge Smith.