Liberia: ‘No Funds to Rotate Judges’ – Chief Justice Breaks Silence On Financial Constraints At Judiciary
Monrovia – Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor has broken silence on financial constraints facing the judiciary branch of government, disclosing that judges will not be rotated this term of court as required by law.
The Chief Justice expressed concerns about the financial challenges facing the judiciary on Monday, August 12 at the opening of August Term of court.
“And so, we assigned some judges to areas initially but because we were facing these challenges, as you know when we assign you; there is a token that we give you to be used as settlement fees,” he said.
“Now if it is not available, it makes it difficult for a judge to go to the assignment. So, in our own wisdom, in our own decision, we said well let the circuit judges remain in their circuits where they were assigned. That way, you are not entitled to any settlement, when we have some money, then we can assign.”
Justice Korkpor comments come three days after FrontPageAfrica reported that judges of circuit courts have not received their salaries for the past three months.
And the Chief Justice disclosed that judges who were rotated were recalled to their courts due to the lack of funds to settle them and facilitate their travels to their newly assign courts.
“We assigned one or two judges outside of here (Montserrado) but we have to recall them and say no! no! since we don’t have money to give them to go, let them stay in their circuits,” he added noted.
The chief justice further revealed that only one judge was assigned for this term of court while stressing that the rotation of judges during every court term is provided by law to avoid judges being conflicted.
“When a judge stays in one position for a long time, sometimes he becomes conflicted; so for that purpose, we try to change a little bit. We’ve done that with the Monrovia City Court, we’ve done that with the Paynesville City Court and the Omega Court,” he said.
Justice Korkpor also described the courts as the angle of society that needs adequate support to properly function.
“If the courts don’t function and function properly, the society will stand still, vested interest will suffer, citizens’ right, even though those so rights maybe jeopardize and so we always said that this branch of government is not like the other branches of government,” he added. “You cannot postpone the work of the judiciary. Policymakers now, should know this and be able to cater to the judiciary and the courts in a way that we will continue to function since we are the wheel that grounds.”