Liberia: ECOWAS Court Insists Govt. Must Pay Justice Ja’neh All Retirement Benefits

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MONROVIA – The Liberian government’s attempt to have the Judgement of the ECOWAS Court of Justice that ordered the payment of all entitlements including salaries to illegally impeached Supreme Court Justice Kabineh Ja’neh trashed has been denied by the Community Court.

The Community Court on June 4 in Abuja, Nigeria, ruled dismissing the appeal filed by the Government of Liberia in February this year.

The Community Court also denied the Liberian government’s request that His Lordship, Mr. Chief Justice Edward Amoako Asante recuses himself from sitting in any and all matters coming before the ECOWAS Court in which the Republic of Liberia is a party. The accusation by the Weah Government that Justice Asante has been partial and bias, according to the ECOWAS Court, has been found to be factually and legally groundless.

The Weah-led government had requested the Court to review its November 10 judgement which was in favor of Justice Ja’neh.

The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice ordered the George Weah government to “restore, calculate and pay” Counselor Kabineh Muhammad Ja’neh “all withheld entitlements, including salaries, allowances and pensions benefits as from the date of his (Ja’neh’s) indictment from office up to the date of notification of this judgment.”

The ECOWAS Court also ordered the Republic of Liberia “to reinstate the Applicant (Kabineh Muhammad Ja’neh) as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; or, in the alternative, to grant the Applicant (Kabineh M. Ja’neh) the right to retire from service on the date of this notification with full pensions benefits as if he had retired at the normal retirement age of the Supreme Court (of Liberia).”

The November 10, 2020 Judgment also directed the payment of US$200,000.00 (Two Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) to Counsellor Kabineh Ja’neh for what the Court termed as “reparation for moral prejudice suffered for violation of his rights.”

The ECOWAS Community Court gave the Liberian Government a period of six (6) month to fully comply with the November 10, 2020 Judgment.

The Liberian Government within its six-month period for compliance given by the Court filed an appeal contending the Judgment “violates the legislative sovereignty of the Republic of Liberia”. The Government also argued that the declaration made by the ECOWAS Community Court that the impeachment was a “violation of the Applicant’s (Justice Ja’neh’s) right to due process” was a gross oversight; hence the ECOWAS Community Court by holding as such committed “a serious palpable error.”

Meanwhile, the ECOWAS Community Court this Friday morning ordered the Liberian Government to fully comply with the Judgment of the Court without any delay.

Speaking to reporters after the Court’s Judgment today, Counsellor Kabineh Ja’neh said “the law is the law and no political maneuvering by the Weah Government will change this incontestable fact.” Counsellor Ja’neh also noted that he has been informed by a number of “High Ups” that the Weah Government will remain resolute in its defiance of the Regional Court’s Ruling. Asked what action he will pursue in that instance, Counsellor Ja’neh intimated that there are adequate legal remedies to deal with matters of defiance of the ECOWAS Court’s Ruling. According to Counsellor Ja’neh, these include the seeking of imposition of sanctions on a disobeying member country of ECOWAS by an aggrieved party.

He however hopes “we will not travel that route”.

On March 29, 2019, Associate Justice Ja’neh was found guilty by the Senate following his impeachment by the House of Representatives in August 2018 on four counts, including his issuance of a writ of prohibition as petitioned by major petroleum dealers in the country to stop the government from collecting levy/taxes of US$0.25 (road fund) imposed on the pump price of petroleum products.

He was also accused of stealing the records of the House of Representatives and using his power to unlawfully claim the property of a woman believed to be in her 90s.

During the controversial impeachment trial which was presided over by Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., the Senate acquitted Ja’neh of all the charges, except, the road fund case, thus warranting his impeachment.
Ja’neh, through his lawyer prayed the Supreme Court not to admit the verdict into the Senate’s records because the procedure used to impeach him was unconstitutional, but his request was denied. He vowed to seek redress at the ECOWAS Court.

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