It appears like former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai will suffer the fate jailed former President Charles Taylor when his lawyers begged former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to pay the disgraced ex-Liberian leader his pension benefits.
His appeal through his lawyers for benefits as he cried brook behind bars went in vain. Now Vice President Boakai is on bended knees requesting tax waivers and pension benefits.
But Liberia’s Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel McGill says Mr. Boakai will only get his benefits if it is proven by existing law that former officials should get them.
Speaking to this paper Sunday morning, 8 April at his residence in Monrovia, Minister McGill said President George Manneh Weah’s government has no malice against Mr. Boakai or any former leader. But he indicates that the laws will be adhered to.
Mr. McGill’s comments come after a recent outcry from Mr. Boakai’s followers within the former ruling Unity Party (UP), demanding their former leader’s .benefits.
There were claims that the Weah – led – administration is deliberately denying Mr. Boakai his benefits. But Minister McGill says it is not within the agenda of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) – led government to deny Mr. Boakai anything.
He, however, notes that government is in search of the legal provision that will back the action if it gives benefits to former Vice President Boakai.Mr. McGill recalls that following the inauguration of President Weah, the president gave two brand new vehicles each to Mr. Boakai and former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf as his personal gifts to the former national leaders.
According to him, there is a legal battle between the immediate past administration of former President Sirleaf and former President Charles Ghankay Taylor for benefits before the Supreme Court.
Former President Taylor, through his legal team sued the Liberian government in demand of his benefits during the Sirleaf regime. But government at the time challenged the claim of Mr. Taylor.
On March 27, 2013, former President Charles G. Taylor’s lawyer in Liberia, Counselor J. Sayma Syrenius Cephus, wrote former President Sirleaf, requesting her intervention to speedily address his client’s demands for retirement benefits, following apparent unfruitful out- of- court settlement with the Justice Ministry here.
Cllr. Cephus’ letter addressed to former President Sirleaf stated that it was an SOS call, a last gasp for hope that was being made on behalf of Mr. Taylor.
Cllr. Cephus noted that government was continuity and the lawsuit before the Supreme Court had to be resolved before the government can decide the benefits of former leaders.
He intimated that the Sirleaf government challenged the process that there was “no law” to give benefits to former leaders.Commenting on the CDC government allegedly denying Mr. Boakai duty free privilege on his container, Mr. McGill says his office is informed by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) that there is no provision that grants former vice president duty free privilege.He concludes that government is acting in accordance with the law on the book.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley