Monrovia – Less than 24 hours after her appointment, one of three persons named to the Office of the Ombudsman, tasked with the responsibility of deciding the fate of several current and former Liberian government officials is expected to be replaced, multiple sources confirmed to FrontPageAfrica Tuesday.
Massa Jallabah, according to sources was found to be under the age limit for appointment to the office of the Ombudsman.
It is unclear who is likely to replace her but one name that is surfacing is Elizabeth Hoff, a former President of the Press Union of Liberia who most recently served as Deputy Minister of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism.
The requirements state: “The members of the Office of the Ombudsman shall be Liberian citizens of high moral character; of not less than forty years and must have a graduate or professional degree.”
Jallabah, who participated in the 2007 Miss Liberia beauty pageant is said to be far below the age of the requirement.
Jallabah, born on September 11, 1982, is 34, raising questions as to how aides in the President’s office failed to vet her properly before submitting her name.
The President with the consent of the Senate is required to appoint the office of the Ombudsman, one of whom shall be appointed as Chairperson.
The office shall also comprise of such other staff as the Ombudsman may deem necessary and proper for the function of the office of the office, and subject to annual appropriation in the national budget.
The appointment of the Ombudsman shall be gender sensitive.
Members may be removed from office by the President for nonfeasance, misfeasance, malfeasance or other acts incompatible with law or good moral standings.
Jallabah, a 2012 graduate of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law received a BSc in Criminology and Justice Studies from the College of New Jersey in May 2005.
She currently works in the Legal Section at the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy as a consultant and previously in the office of the Ministry of Justice Prosecution team also as a consultant. Between 2011 and 2012 she worked as a consultant with Arcelor Mittal Liberia as a consultant.
Critics have been hammering away at the appointments of the Ombudsman trio with various political parties taking the Executive Mansion to task over the selection of former Police Director Chris Massaquoi and Edward Dillon, currently a special assistant to the Attorney General/Minister of Justice who previously worked in the Lawfirm of Brumskine & Associates/Pierre,Tweh & Associates Law Firm.
In March, the high court ruled that the Code of Conduct, signed into law by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2014, is legal and binding on the republic for all its intents and purposes.
The Act, which was submitted by the Executive to the National Legislature in 2009, states that all officials appointed by the President shall not engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected offices, use government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities, among others.
The Act also stipulates that: “Wherein, any official of government who desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post at least two years prior to the date of such public elections; b) Any other official appointed by the President who holds a tenured position and desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post three years prior to the date of such public elections.
Ruling on a petition for Declaratory Judgment filed by legal counsel of Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson-Mappy, the high court declined to confirm her plea that the code of conduct is unconstitutional, unmeritorious both in fact and in law.
Accordingly, section 5.2 also states, “Wherein, any person in the category stated in section 5.1 herein above, desires to canvass or contest for an elective public position, the following shall apply; a) Any Minister, Deputy Minister, Director-General, Managing Director and Superintendent appointed by the President pursuant to article 56 (a) of the Constitution and a Managing Director appointed by a Board of Directors, who desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post at least two (2) years prior to the date of such public elections; b) Any other official appointed by the President who holds a tenured position and desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post three (3) years prior to the date of such public elections.”