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Isaac Jackson urges U.S. to bar corrupt judges

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Liberia’s outgoing Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) based in London, the United Kingdom, Atty. Isaac W. Jackson, Jr. is calling on the United States Government through its Embassy near Monrovia to deny visas to Liberian Justices and Judges deemed to be corrupt as was done in the case of suspended Director of Passport and Visas, Mr. Andrew Wonploe.

“For Liberia’s fledgling democracy to grow in strength, the international community needs to help prevent the re-emergence of a puppet Supreme Court in the country “, Jackson stressed’.

In a press release issued in Monrovia, Atty. Jackson recalls U.S State Department reports have repeatedly criticized the Judiciary for being corrupt, emphasizing that only an independent judiciary will produce a better Liberia; not a corrupt and compromised Court.

At the same time, the outgoing Permanent Rep. to the IMO has written a formal letter of complaint to the Judicial Inquiry Commission, accusing the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia His Honor, Francis Korkpor of violating the principles of natural justice, Judicial Canons 9, 10, 11, 16 and 28, as well as Article 20 (a) of the Constitution of Liberia.

In his letter dated September 21, 2020, Atty. Jackson argues that contrary to Judicial canons, 9, 10, 11, 16 and 28, His Honor, Chief Justice Korkpor proceeded to suspend his (Jackson’s) license to practice law based on a mere newspaper reportage – a suspension, and threat of permanent disbarment, announced in an Opinion which at the same time sided with the Executive to dismiss him from serving as Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), ensuring that he returns home with his family unemployed, and effectively without a form of professional livelihood to support and care for himself, his wife, and three innocent children.

Jackson also accused Chief Justice Korkpor for violating the rule-of-thumb regarding the use of quotation marks, noting that in reciting the attribution made to him in the April 22, 2019 edition of FrontPageAfrica Newspaper relative to Chief Justice Korkpor’s claim of being insulted by him, the Chief Justice imputed to him words that he (Jackson) neither said nor were reported by the newspaper.

He says these steps are the first geared towards seeking the intervention of the ECOWAS Court into the matter he terms as injustice and violation of his Constitutional as well as human rights.

According to the release, Atty. Jackson has instructed his team of lawyers, headed by Cllr. Finley Yujay Karngar, to take his grievances to the Abuja-based ECOWAS Court which exclusively deals with human rights issues in the West African Sub-region,

The Supreme Court of Liberia earlier this month denied Atty. Jackson’s petition for a prohibition on his removal as Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the IMO, bringing to a closure a two-year legal battle which now grants the George Weah led-administration the greenlight to recall him.

He was at the same time suspended from the practice of law for one calendar year due to what the Supreme Court Bench considered as invectives by him on the Chief Justice during the course of the hearing.

But Jackson counters that contrary to the judicial oath, and to the agreeable silence of the four other distinguished Honorable Members of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice ordained himself, in obvious repudiation of the principles of natural justice, to be his accuser, judge and punisher, all at the same time.

He says lawyers are not only trained to accept a Court’s Opinion; they’re also expected to disagree with a Court’s ruling, and to state politely their disagreements.

In his grievances to the Judicial Inquiry Commission, the outgoing Permanent Rep to the IMO, among other issues, notes that no matter how, in the opinion and words of the Chief Justice, “egregious, unprovoked, assault and insult” the attribution made to him in the FrontPageAfrica Newspaper, he (Jackson) was justly entitled to be heard (due process of law) before the decision to suspend his license was reached as stated in the Supreme Court’s Opinion.

“That I was served no NOTICE from the Supreme Court regarding contempt charges against me. Also, I was given no opportunity to mount a defence against Chief Justice, Korkpor’s allegation of being insulted by me. That contrary to judicial canons 9 and 28, the Chief Justice proceeded to bundle the two cases – the one which I brought before the Court against the all-powerful Executive, and the other which the Honorable Chief Justice himself placed before the Court, and without the benefit of hearing from me, persuaded his honorable colleagues that I was guilty as he had charged”, he continues in his letter of complaint.

He also accuses Chief Justice Korkpor of taking absolutely no action to penelize the Executive for disobeying and disregarding the Supreme Court’s Order to renew he and his family’s diplomatic passports despite his best efforts to draw the attention the Chief Justice and the Honorable Supreme Court to the willful and blatant disregard of its directives issued to the Executive through the Offices of the Solicitor General on April 16, 2019.

He argues that in many jurisdictions, the blatant and publicly challenging refusal to comply with and disregard for the decision and directive of a court, let alone the highest court in the land, will be considered grounds for criminal contempt. However, Jackson says the revere is happened in his case, in that, he and his family are still without renewed diplomatic passports as the Supreme Court looks on helplessly.

“I respectfully request an investigation be conducted into the matter which I have faithfully and truthfully submitted before the Judicial Inquiry Commission”, the letter concludes. Press Release

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