[bsa_pro_ad_space id=1]

GeneralLiberia news

Chamber Justice slams stay order on MFDP 

-in US$4, 447, 71 salary saga   

Supreme Court Chamber Justice Yussif D. Kaba places stay order on the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to halt salary cut against one of its staff.

By Lincoln G. Peters 

Monrovia, Liberia, June 10, 2024 – Liberia’s Supreme Court, through its Chamber Justice Yussif D. Kaba, has placed a stay order on the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, particularly Deputy Minister for Administration Mr. Bill McGill Jones’ 25% salary deduction against Atty. Juvenal C. Pearson for US$4 447,71 regarding his participation in the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections.

Attorney Pearson is Director of the Physical Audit Unit in the Department of Fiscal Affairs at the Finance Ministry.  

The decision of the Chamber Justice was reached on May 22, 2024, following Mr. Jones’ absence to honor a conference scheduled by the Justice in the Chamber, which was honored by the Ministry of Justice and the petitioner. 

“By directive of His Honor, Yussif D. Kaba, Associate Justice presiding in chamber, you are hereby cited to a conference with His Honor on Monday, June 3, 2024, at the hours of 11 00 a.m. in connection with the petition for a writ of prohibition filed by Atty. Jones”, the communication reads. 

On May 13, 2024, the Deputy Minister for Administration, Bill McGill Jones, wrote to Atty. Juvenal C. Pearson and forwarded copies to the Minister of Finance, Boimah Kamara, the Director-General of the Civil Service Agency, and the Comptroller and Accountant General, informing them about a 25% cut or deduction in the defendant’s salary.

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=1]

He pointed out that they received the full listing of employees who participated in the 2023 Presidential and legislative elections without adhering to Chapter 7.2.9 (Political Campaign Leave) and Chapter 5.10 of the Code of Conduct, respectively, and received full salary while contesting or participating in the elections.

“The amount you received for August-October 2023 is four thousand four hundred forty-seven United States dollars and seventy-one cents (US$4, 447, 71). Monthly net salary, US$1,478.57, total amount US$4,447,71, monthly 25% deduction US$370.64, period for deduction, 12 months and remark repayment plan. In view of that, I write to inform you that a 25% salary deduction will be applied to your monthly salary beginning May 2024 until April 2025, a full payment period,’’ he concluded. 

The Civil Service Standing Order, Chapter 7.2.9 under Political Campaign Leave, provides that a civil servant who the National Elections Commission certificates as a bona fide candidate will be required to take a leave of absence without pay during his/her campaign period, which officially begins with the publication of the official roster of certified candidate by the NEC. 

This period of campaigning will end when the election results are published. 

Also, Chapter 5.10 of the Code of Conduct states that “every public official and employee of government shall ensure that his/her participation in political activities does not conflict with official duties.”

However, Atty. Pearson, in his petition for a writ of prohibition dated May 22, 2024, argued that notwithstanding the Administrative Regulation of 2012, as mentioned by the respondent in section 5.10 of the Code of Conduct of 2014, also relied on by the respondent, it can’t be used.

According to him, he falls under section 1.3.9 of the Code of Conduct of 2014 as Director for Physical Audit, Department of Comptroller and Account General, Ministry of Finance. 

However, he said that because the Code of Conduct of 2014 status supersedes the Civil Service Standing Orders of 2012, a regulation, the court must strike down the Order and sustain the Code of Conduct of 2014, especially when the regulations and status speak to the subject. 

“I participated as a Vice Presidential candidate on the ticket of the Liberia Rebuilding Party in the 2023 presidential and legislative election, whereby I ensured that this principle of political activities did not conflict with my official duties as an employee of government as evidenced by the official reports from audit conducted during the period of August-October 2023’’ he argued.

Atty. Pearson further argued that notwithstanding the conflict between an administrative regulation, the Civil Service Standing Order of 2012, singularly signed by the President and status, The Code of Conduct of 2014 enacted by the legislature, signed by the President and printed into handbill, the status, according to the hierarchy of laws, shall always supersede a regulation.

He believes that the Chamber Justice must sustain thereby strike down respondent illegal pursuit to summarily deduct petitioner salary based on Civil Service Standing Order of 2012 in a clear disregard of the implied repeal status controlling Code of Conduct of 2014, Chapter 5.10.

“The petitioner prays this court to issues the Alternative Writ of prohibition against the Ministry of Finance restraining them from further proceeding illegally with strange rule as against the issuance of a citation predicated upon the urgency of this matter and to order the Ministry to show cause why, if any , reasons they have that the peremptory writ of prohibition should not lie with cost and expenses in these proceeding, rule against the Ministry and thereby restoring petitioner salary for the months of May 2024 and all further months determined by the respondent Jones herein strike down the Civil Service Standing Orders 2012 and sustain the Code of Conduct of 2014 as an implied repealed  of the reference Civil Service Standing Order and sustain the Code of Conduct as an implied”, he concluded. Editing by Jonathan Browne

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=1] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=2] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=3] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=4] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=5] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=6]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

twenty + 5 =

Back to top button