Liberia: Finance Minister Samuel Tweah Debunks Speculations that Chief Justice Korkpor “Stealing” Judicial Staffers Salary
Monrovia – Liberia’s Finance Minister Samuel Tweah has dispelled rumours that Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor has illegally taken away the Liberian dollars salary of judicial staffers.
The minister made the disclosure at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia on Monday, after he had gone to quiet the protesting judicial staffers.
Said the minister: “The information that the Chief Justice owes you (judicial staffers) money, has taken your money, is misleading and it’s wrong. I have been watching people raining insults on the Honorable Chief Justice, that is not correct. The Chief Justice has not taken a dime from any judicial worker. The government itself owes the Chief Justice. As Minister of Finance, I am telling you that. So, nobody should insult or accused the Chief Justice or Associate Justices of taking your money.”
The minister told judicial staffers that the harmonization policy ended the Liberian dollars salary portion of their pay. “Going forward beginning October, just as the formula was used to paid people in the Labor Ministry, and everywhere, that’s how it will be. This means, you will notice a difference in your pay. That’s clear.”
Added the minister: “The Judiciary Branch of the Republic of Liberia never use to pay taxes before, you are now paying taxes. That’s not a cut. Every citizen of the Republic of Liberia should pay taxes but the Judiciary was exempted. Under Standardization and Harmonization this time, you are paying taxes.”
Minister Tweah also added that the government will not take away any worker salary. “Whatever you are entitled to, nobody can take it away from you. That’s the principle behind harmonization.”
The minister’s presence at the Temple of Justice was triggered by the protest of judicial staffers during the opening of the October Term of the Supreme Court.
According to the staffers, Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor has allegedly taken away, and refused to pay their Liberian dollars salary for the past 12 months.
The aggrieved staffers added that the alleged action of the Chief Justice is in violation of their constitutional rights.
However, while the Supreme Court ceremony was ongoing, the aggrieved staffers begun chanting battle cry: “Rogue!, Rogue!, Chief Justice, rogue!, rogue!, we want our salary! Among others.
Based on the protest, Minister Tweah intervened in a bid to quiet the situation. “The government itself owes the Chief Justice, as a Minister of Finance, I’m yelling you. So, nobody should insult or accused the Chief Justice or Associate Justices of taking your money,” Tweah added.
The Judicial staffers have been protesting for the past weeks, calling on national government to intervene.
Prior to the protest, early Monday morning, officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) had gathered in mass numbers to secure the premise of the Temple of Justice for the Court (Supreme Court) opening.
However, during the protest, some of the aggrieved staffers were manhandled by officers of the LNP for allegedly refusing to leave the premise of the Temple of Justice.
Some officers of the LNP were seen dragging protesters out of the premise of the court.
This scene brought almost all activities at the Judiciary to a standstill.