Liberia, The Good Lawyers, and Bad Lawyers

By Hun-Bu Tulay | Cell #+231777111032/886517356; Email: ntevoma@gmil.com|

“Here, we teach you the laws and if you are lucky to graduate, you would know the laws, but you have a choice to be a good lawyer or a bad lawyer.”  – Jeffrey Archer

The above quotation is from the 1993 novel by the author Jeffrey Archer titled: “Honour Among Thieves.”  Many law professors, be it in the United States, Europe, or Liberia, the professors teach you the laws, and often or not, and each student upon graduation will make that ultimate choice to be a GOOD LAWYER or a BAD LAWYER.  Unfortunately, in Liberia today, there are many BAD LAWYERS THAN GOOD LAWYERS. We no longer see the likes of Louise Arthur Grimes-(as Attorney General he wrote legal Opinions, one was the Firestone 99 years Contract, he advised President King not to sign), James A. A. Pierre, C. Abayomi Cassell, James Jenkins Dossen (Supreme Court Opinion, Case- Ditchfield vs. Dossen, 1907, Justice Dossen read the opinion- The organic and Statutory Laws of Liberia in legal matters put everyman on equal footing in securing to himself the right guaranteed not only by laws of the land as such but by international treaties with the nations of the world), Henry Reed Cooper,  Winfred Smallwood, S. Raymond Horace, Frederick K. Tulay-RL vs. Anderson and others murder cases. This case was on the Maryland Court Docket for more than five years; no judge had the Willpower to hear it because of the father’s position in the TWP, government, Freemasonry (33 Degree), as well as relation to the then president-Tubman. Judge Tulay called the case for hearing, Anderson other were found GUILTY AND SENTENCED TO DEATH), and the list goes on. These are just a few examples.  These were lawyers who knew the laws and gave candid legal opinions to their clients and some to the Presidents. They were not after saving their lobs. Unfortunately, today, lawyers are interested in saving their jobs, particularly those working for the government. As a result, they tell their bosses what the bosses want to hear, not what the law says.

There is a story which goes as follows: “Once upon a time, a president of a country wanted to prosecute one of the interim presidents of that country. The Ministry of Justice was asked to prosecute the interim president for corruption. The Minister forwarded the case to the Solicitor General, who was the country’s Chief Prosecutor. After reviewing the file, the president was advised against the prosecution. The advice was ignored. The Minister, who wanted to save his/her job, prosecuted the case.  The government lost the case in court. The government lost thousands of United States Dollars.  The Minister was a BAD LAWYER AND THE SOLICITOR GENERAL was a GOOD LAWYER.  This Solicitor General was the first Solicitor General in the post war period at the time of that country. This Solicitor General is/was a GOOD LAWYER”.  Because there are many BAD LAWYERS than GOOD LAWYERS, our judiciary has been alleged by different people and institutions as corrupt, even the former Chief Justice, an Ambassador and Civil Society organization have alleged the same.

With reference to the cabinet decision advising the President to appoint individuals to all tenure positions, we wonder whether the legal adviser really explained the laws to the Cabinet.   This is because according to him, it was a Cabinet decision and in the absence of the Minister of Justice/Attorney General, who is the Chief Legal Adviser to the President and the Cabinet, the Legal opinion of the Legal Adviser to the President and the Cabinet is relied upon to make key decisions/policy statements.  And when the Legal Adviser spoke at a Press Briefing, he quoted an Article during the Cabinet meeting. The Legal Adviser’s reliance was Article 56 of the Constitution for the appointment to positions that are currently occupied by individuals as per their tenure. However, let us go back to Article 54 which gives the list of positions that the President nominates and with the consent of the Senate appoint and commission (a-f). Article 56-a only repeated these positions. In fact, it reads “All Cabinet Ministers, Deputy and Assistant Cabinet Ministers, Ambassadors, Minister Consuls, Superintendents of Counties and other government officials both military and civilian, appointed by the President pursuant to this Constitution shall hold their offices at the pleasure of the President.”  The Legal Adviser said during the Press Briefing that this Article 56-a reads “that all individuals appointed in the Executive Branch hold the offices with the pleasure of the President”. We do see this in Article 56-a. The legal Adviser said during that Press Briefing, “All Autonomous Agencies and Commissions.” Is this Legal Adviser telling us that this would affect the Civil Service Commission, Elections Commission, General Auditing Commission, and the Central Bank of the country? If it does, then the country would be moving on a wrong path.

But let us take you back to Chapter X, Article 89 Which reads thus, “The following Autonomous Public Commissions are hereby established:

  1. Civil Service Commission
  2. Election Commission And
  3. General Auditing Commission

The Legislature shall enact laws for the governance of these Commissions and create other Agencies as may be necessary for the effective operations of the government. The question is, did the Legal Adviser read this Chapter/Article 89 to the Cabinet during the discussion on the tenure positions? If he did not, this would have been very unfortunate. This reminds us of the case of Assistant Minister Prince Brown of the Coast Guard, Colonel Saydee, and Colonel & others during the Treason Trial during the Tolbert Administration.  The Justice Minister at the time read a law during the trial. The Minister was asked by one of the defended Councils to read the paragraph that followed what the Minister read. The Minister refused. One of the defense councils read the paragraph that followed, and it started with the word “but”. We say this to say that you do not only cite an article or chapter in the Constitution and give an opinion that might affect thousands of people. If the Constitution wanted all appointed people in the Executive Branch to hold their offices at the pleasure of the President, it would have been clearly stated in Chapter X, Article 89. But it is stated that the Legislature shall enact laws for the governance of these Commissions and other agencies to be created as may be necessary for the effective operation of government. It is these enacted laws that give tenure to the individuals in these positions. If this was the case, what would be the essence of the laws enacte  d by the Legislature? And what is very interesting is, these laws governing these Commissions and Agencies given tenure to some of them were enacted, when the current President was Vice President, and as Vice President he signed on those acts/laws before they were sent to the President for approval. What was his position on these institutions at the time? How does this help to fight the war on corruption and transparency in the country? How does this help the RESCUE AGENDA? If this is done, there will be NO PROTECTION for the employees of these institutions as it is now. When with the protection, we saw one of the heads of an institution, who had tenure telling us that he would put aside the act and do what the President wants. This individual is an educated fool. He wanted to protect his job. We do not protect our jobs by violating the laws and doing the wrong things.

We believe there was a reason why President Weah did not sign the Bill that would have repealed tenure positions. Any Act to nullify these positions would eventually return the country to Tubmanism or imperial presidency. This is not what we want for this country in the 21st century. We need an open and transparent government. Our Constitution of 1986 says all power resides in the citizens, who elect officials to exercise this power on their behalf.  Article 56-b calls for the elections of Paramount, Clan, and Town Chiefs by the registered voters in their respective localities to serve for a term of six years. It also states that the Legislature shall enact laws to provide for their qualifications as may be required. The Legislature enacted the Local Government Act and was signed by the President in 2018. Since then, we have not had the elections as per the Constitution. This is what the people voted for not nullifying the tenure positions. In fact, if we do according to the Legal Adviser, the government would pay those in these positions for their unexpired terms. This will cost approximately US$3.0 MILLION. This is enough to buy five or more Fire Trucks or provide chairs/teachers for over 100 schools or provide drugs and medical equipment for five referral hospitals or construct rehabilitation centers in eight Counties for the DRUG ADDICTED YOUTH OF THE COUNTRY which is currently the greatest threat to the country’s democracy because they are uneducated and undisciplined.

When you are on a RESCUE MISSION, you do not act in a way that calls for attraction, because if you do not, your mission might fail or might be delayed. We do not want this RESCUE MISSION to fail or delay, because the people have waited too long, and their lives hang in the balance and waiting on you to RESCUE THEM. They want immediate results and the current Court actions in respect of the tenured officials will delay the Mission. This could have been avoided. Many of these people have only two years remaining on their tenure; we should have waited. Spending approximately US$3.00 million just to give jobs to some individuals does not solve our problems.

What Liberians need immediately?

  1. Mysterious Deaths: Urgent investigation in the death of all those that were killed or who died mysteriously over the past years including the three missing boys. The last government failed to give comprehensive reports on these deaths. The President needs to establish a Special Committee to investigate these deaths.
  2. US$350, 000.00 and US$650, 000.00: For the Inauguration, it is alleged that the Unity Party gave US$350, 000.00 to the Chairman of the Party for distribution to 17 electoral Districts in Montserrado and the remaining 14 counties; each County should have received US$5,000.00 for the inaugural celebration in the Counties. And the government of Liberia gave US$650,000.00 for the Inauguration in Monrovia. Since the inauguration, there have been allegations of corruption or mismanagement of the funds (US$350,000.00 and US$650,000.00). Liberians need to see comprehensive reports on how these funds were spent. Liberians need to know whether the funds were used for the intended purposes. The funds were given to two individuals and if we cannot hold them to account for the funds, what hope is there that our ministers and managing directors will be held in the future for corrupt acts or mismanagement? To fight corruption, you start with your friends, relatives, and officials of the government. We recommend that you read the book titled, “From Third Word to the First World”, the story of Singapore written by Lee Kuan Yew, if you have not already read it.
  3. Uneducated, undisciplined, and drug addicted youth: Many years ago, one of the country’s Presidents William R. Tolbert Jr., referred to the youths as the Precious Jewels of the country, because the youths are the backbone of any nation. They are the future leaders, entrepreneurs, and the employees who will drive the economic and infrastructural development of the country. The role of the youths in economic development is very crucial in any nation. Hence, for any nation to be successful, democracy will largely depend on the caliber of its youthful population. If they are uneducated and undisciplined it will be difficult to have a successful democracy because the uneducated and undisciplined youths are not wise to make informed decisions; they follow public opinions.  They would be unable to read and understand the content of what they read and EVIL MEN will explain everything to them in a way they want to and a terrorist or homophobic or nationalist or a tribalist would be born and eventually a nation is destroyed. We are seeing this all-around Africa and many other continents today. We saw this in the 1980s, 1990s and we are seeing it now. A nation that has uneducated and undisciplined youths is a nation that has high illiteracy rate and poverty because the youths are stuck in vulnerable and informal employment (penpen and kehkeh drivers). The youths are frustrated, that is the reason they are turning to drugs. This is where the country is today; its youthful population is addicted to drugs. This has resulted in the increased crime rate in the country. This is driving potential investors away. The government must find an urgent solution to this problem. The government needs to build three rehabilitation centers in Montserrado County and one in each of the other counties. These centers should contain medical facilities and vocational schools.
  4. Roads: UP promised the people that NO CAR WILL be STUCK on any road after 100 days. We have gone 37 days. We have only 63 days to fulfill this promise. This activity requires funding and yet, we have not completed our budget. This cannot be achieved without budgetary allocation.  We are slipping slowly.
  5. Police Actions: Recent actions of the police on the University of Liberia campus and the Bea Mountain mining (Kenjor) in Grand Cape Mount County speak volume. These actions by the police under your watch do not show a RESCUE TEAM action.  In fact, the President, as the Commander in Chief, should have ordered the withdrawal of the AFL from the Bea Mountain operational site immediately upon his inauguration. Something does not seem right.  This is another misstep. The question is, are our presidents protecting the company? It is alleged that Sirleaf did and so was Weah. Why does this company get preference when it comes to issues between it and the citizens? Will the Boakai Administration follow suit?
  6. Public universities and colleges: The Weah Administration made a policy statement for all public universities and colleges TUITION FREE. The question is, will the current administration continue this policy? The President needs to speak to the Liberian people if this policy will continue. The academic Semester should have started a month ago, but without a policy statement on TUITION FREE policy and the way forward without which it would be difficult for the administrators of these universities and colleges to open their doors to the students.  The President/government position on this policy is vital for the resumption of the academic semester. The students at the state-run university have started protesting because of the delay in reopening the school. Besides, there are issues outstanding such as the part-time faculty payment, faculty insurance payment, Social Security payment, etc.  In addition, there is a serious infrastructural problem at these institutions. All of these were or there are backlogs in payments because the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning decided to take over the University of Liberia Payroll. There has been no rehabilitation of the current infrastructures and because of the free tuition at these public institutions, the enrollment has increased and there is a need to construct new academic buildings to accommodate the student population.
  7. Energy: This has been a NIGHTMARE in the country, particularly in Monrovia. We need to know why there is less than 8 hours electricity supply in Monrovia and its environs. This outage of electricity is causing serious security problems and burning of homes because the inhabitants are using alternative energy sources which are not safe.

Liberians are concerned whether the RESCUE MISSION will be successful.  The RESCUE TEAM needs to focus on solving these problems. NULLIFICATION of the TENURE POSITIONS IS NOT AS IMPORTANT AS THE ABOVE. JUST MAY BE SOME PEOPLE IN THE INNER CIRCLE OF TEAM WANT TEAM TO FAIL. WE CALL ON THE CAPTAIN OF THE TEAM TO IDENTIFY THEM AND GET THEM OUT OF THE TEAM IF THE MISSION IS TO SUCCEED.  The captain of the team is too experienced to allow these MISSTEPS in the government under his NOSE. IF YOU ARE THE MOLES IN THE INNER CIRCLE, LEAVE NOW OR WE WILL FIND YOU AND YOUR NAME WILL GO DOWN IN GLOBAL INFAMY.

We leave you with these words. The people of Liberia have suffered a lot. Not because of the violence of BAD PEOPLE. But because of the silence of Good people.  We call on all GOOD PEOPLE NOT TO REMAIN SILENT.  REMEMBER IT WAS BECAUSE OF THE SILENCE OF GOOD PEOPLE THAT CAUSED THE DEATH OF OVER 250,000 PEOPLE DURING THE PAST LIBERIAN CRISIS.

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