Liberia: Chief Justice Invites Finance Minister to Hold Talks Over Cut in Judges Salaries
Monrovia – Chief Justice Francis Korkpor has invited the Minister of Finance Samuel Tweah to discuss issues relating to the harmonization and standardization of salaries and benefits of judges.
The Chief Justice invitation to the Finance Minister was contained in a letter written to Minister Tweah on January 28, a copy of which is in the possession of FrontPageAfrica Newspaper.
The letter comes after the Chief Justice held series of closed-door discussions in recent time with judicial workers to discuss information of government current salary cuts.
Part of the letter reads: “In line with our recent discussion on the issue of harmonization and standardization, I invite you to address the issue on the harmonization and standardization of salaries and benefits of judges in the face of an Act to establish the National Remuneration Standardization of 2019.”
Minister Tweah is expected to meet the Chief Justice on Friday, January 31, at the ongoing 8th Conference of the National Association of Trial Judges (NATJL), an umbrella organization of all judges and magistrates in the country.
NATJL conference convened on Thursday, January 31 and ends February 1. It will be held on the ground floor of the Temple of Justice.
Minister Tweah’s appearance for the conference grew out of a communication written to the Chief Justice by the leadership of the NAJTL headed by Judge Roosevelt Willie.
Judge Willie requested that the Minister is invited to address the matter after the committee set up by NATJL had released a report kicking against the harmonization of judges’ salary.
According to NAJTL leadership, its committee headed by Commercial Court Judge Eva Mappy Morgan was set up with a responsibility to do recommendations and responses to the information provided by Chief Justice Korkpor concerning the 16% deduction of NAJTL members’ salaries and allowances and to provide responses in terms of members’ benefits during the time the group stayed with the Continental General & Life Insurance Company now that (NATJL) members have been transferred to the Insurance Company of Africa (ICA).
The Morgan’s Committee added that at the time of its work the critical issue of much debate and anger amongst members of the NAJTL is the dilemma of adequate salaries and beliefs for individual charged as priests of justice and prescribed from engaging in any business pursuit,
The report finds no harmonization or standardization of judges’ remuneration in tandem with other government officials based on the various categories found in the Act.
The report stated that Article 72 (a) of the Constitution provides justices of the Supreme Court and all other judges shall receive such salaries allowances and benefits as shall be established by law such salaries shall be subject to taxes or defined by law, provided that they shall not be diminished, allowances and benefits paid to justices of the Supreme Court and judges of subordinate courts may be increased but may not be diminished except under a national program enacted by Legislature nor shall such allowance and benefits be subject to taxation.
“Cognizant of Article 72(a) of the 1986 Constitution members of (NATJL) are traumatized by the decrease to their salaries contrary to that provision of that constitution, further the cut of salaries were prior to the enactment of the National Remuneration and Standardization Act of 2019, a clear violation of Article 72 (a),” the NATJL report stated.