Liberia: ‘Blood on Your Hands’: Int’l Maritime Organization’s Rep Vents Anger Against Chief Justice


London – Isaac Jackson is ever hopeful despite his long-running legal wrangle with the Liberian government.

The country’s representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is currently protesting the unlawful termination of his tenure as Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the IMO was heard by the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia.  

Last week, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor ordered the government, in a ruling to renew the IMO Representative’s passport, in a move Atty. Isaac Jackson believes, shows his fight through the legal channels has not been in vain.

In July 2018, Atty Jackson filed a Writ of Prohibition with the Supreme Court, challenging President Weah‘s decision to unlawfully appointing Moses Owen Brown to replace him. And following preliminary hearing by then Chambers Justice, Jamesetta Howard-Wolokollie, on July 23, 2018 a Stay Order was issued, requesting the parties to return to Status quo ante and the case was forwarded to the full bench.

Since the case was filed, the government of President Weah has been desperately trying to repeal all tenure positions, a move that has been described by many as autocratic and undemocratic

In a dramatic turn last Thursday, Solicitor General, Daku Mulbah  had enormous difficulty convincing justices of the Supreme Court why Atty. Jackson should not enjoy the five years tenure as provided for in Section 7(4) of the Liberia Maritime Authority Act  of 2010. 

The Solicitor General made the bizarre argument that Jackson should not enjoy the five years tenure because the letter appointing Jackson named him as Permanent Representative to the IMO, and not deputy commissioner. Following the lame argument by Daku Mulbah, an enraged Justice Yuoh quizzed Cllr.  Mulbah whether the letter appointing him, (Cllr Mulbah) named him as Solicitor General; to which he (Cllr. Mulbah) answered yes.  And then Justice Yuoh follow-up question was, by virtue of the fact that the letter appointing you name you as Solicitor General, are you not Deputy Minister; to which Cllr. Daku Mulbah answered in the affirmative, making himself a spectacle of embarrassment as the audience uncontrollably laughed at Liberia’s Solicitor General in open court.

On the other hand, Jackson’s lawyer, Cllr. Arthur Johnson argued convincingly the position of permanent representative has legally and historically been at the rank deputy commissioner, which he said is tenured for five years in keeping with the Liberia Maritime act of 2010. He referred to those who previously served position, including Gerald Cooper, Agnes Reeves Taylor, as well as Mohammed Dukuly as Deputy Commissioner and Permanent Representative.

Cllr. Johnson also argued that the position of Deputy Commissioner and Permanent representation to the IMO are one and the same as reflected in the official publicized organogram of the Maritime Authority.  

Cllr. Johnson further argued that the Statue Law establishing the Liberia Maritime Authority say the President shall appoint commissioner and deputy commissioners, and President Sirleaf appointed and commissioned Isaac Jackson, hence Jackson is a Deputy Commissioner; because according to Cllr. Johnson, officials at the Maritime Authority below the rank of Deputy commissioner, such as directors, and supervisors are appointed by the CEO/Commissioner of the Maritime Authority.

Cllr. Johnson then drew Supreme Court’s attention to the violation of the Stay Order by Government of Liberia. He explained that considering that his client Isaac Jackson and family diplomatic passports issued to them in October 2016 to facilitate our travel to duty station was fast approaching expiration date, they proactively applied on August 24, 2018, to renew their passports. But since then, almost a year ago, coupled with numerous follow-ups with authorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they have not renewed their passports. 

Cllr. Johnson then contends that the refusal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to renew his client and family passports notwithstanding their efforts to act in a timely manner, violates the Stay Order issued by the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia. According to him, said refusal is causing his client (Isaac Jackson) and the country’s Maritime program considerable detriment.  He explained that his client has been unable to attend conferences and forums abroad to which he has been invited in line with his portfolio to make the case for Liberia’s Maritime program. 

Cllr. Johnson also said that not only has his client been unable to move about freely and make effective representation, his 6-year-old daughter and her 3-year-old brother are being punished together with their mother by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, only because their father feels unfairly treated and sought recourse through the court, emphasizing has his client and family are wrongfully imprisoned by the government.

Responding to the latest development, Atty. Jackson told FrontPageAfrica Sunday, he remains immensely optimistic that judgement will be rendered in his favor. He said he trusts the integrity of those on the Supreme Court Bench. He then lavished praises at the two female Justices on the Supreme Court for what he terms as properly grilling Solicitor General, Cllr. Mulbah. 

“I believe that only a compromised Court will rule in favor of the government because the government has got absolutely no intelligent argument upon which to hinge this case for victory,” he said.

He added: “God forbids, if I do not win this case, I will come to Monrovia, and submit my issue to the people; and if the Government puts bullets in my head, my blood will be on the hands of Chief Justice Korkpor for his mindless cowardice. Because, I am told that the government has reintroduced the sour voices of notorious ex-rebel generals in our national politics.”

The question that remains on the lips of many is whether the Supreme Court will use Jackson’s case to rescue its sour image considering the political brouhaha that developed during the recent impeachment trial of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh.