House Speaker Alex Tyler, and his deputy, Hans Barchue, as well as Senate Pro-tempore Armah Jallah along with the office of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Vice President Joseph Boakai, GSA boss Mary Broh and some little known commissions and bureaux will be laughing their way through another budget, while the wheel of justice continues to turn slowly.
Indeed, it will continue to turn slowly because the money allotted in the budget to prosecute cases throughout the Republic of Liberia is five times less than what Senate Pro-temp Jallah gets for his office, about just US53,147.00 more of what he gets for his General Allowance.
The amount, US300,472, is more than three times less than what Speaker Tyler takes for his office and nearly three time less than what Deputy Speaker Barchue will be walking away with for his office – not to mention the Offices of the President and Vice President.
So it means despite the United States Government’s demning human rights report on the Liberian justice system, the government does not mind if the Prosecution arm of the State, which falls under the Ministry of Justice, just as the Liberian National Police, or LNP, Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization or BIN, the Drugs Enforcement Agency or DEA, the Liberian National Fire Service, among others spend US1,669 every month in each county to prosecute cases.
The allotment by line items further demonstrates the government’s nonchalance attitude in ensuring that the poor and victims get justice.
For instance, while Mary Broh would have US59,200 for her domestic travels, the Prosecution has US1800 for foreign travel for the whole year, an amount which cannot even afford one round trip ticket, with a meager US1800 for DSA.
Prosecutors across the country will have to brainstorm as to how to share US5,709 for internet and scratch cards. With US15,000 for fuel and lubricants for their vehicles, each prosecution team in a county will have to survive on US1000 for the entire 2015/2016 budget, while for example, Speaker Tyler will be smiling with US117. 960 to purchase fuel and lubricants for his vehicle.
A puzzle is needed to unravel how prosecutors are going to share the US5000 for fuel and lubricants for their generators within the 15 counties or the US8000 for their vehicles, while the Speaker spent over US40,000 last year just to repair his vehicle, not to mention his deputy or the Pro-temp.
There are no pathologists in the country, therefore pathologists are often brought in by the prosecution to conduct test on bodies; there are no such line items within the prosecution’s budget for that. This paper can report from impeccable sources that Liberia faces threat of being sued at the international court of arbitration, all because it owes Pathologists in the Netherlands which it has not paid, not to mention several funeral homes here locally.
There are no allotment in the prosecution’s budget for Special Investigation, not that they are unable to but the last US80,000 that was placed in the budget for the Prosecution, was given to a Special Committee established by President Sirleaf to investigate the riot that witnessed the destruction of Arcelor Mittal’s facility in Nimba County sometime last year. Yet, the prosecution will have to prosecute those indicted during that riot. To date, not much can be heard about that Eugene Shannon-led committee, but what is sure is that, that US80,000 has been divided among committee members.
With its mandate to provide a reliable legal system appropriately structured to promote rule of law, security and safety, and access to justice for the Government, citizens and foreign residents, the staffs of the ministry of justice remain the least pay in the country.
Members of the LNP who falls under the Ministry of Justice are among the lowest pay of all time.-To be continued. –By Othello B. Garblah