Associate Justice – designate Yussif D. Kaba has stressed the need for judicial reform here, telling a Senate confirmation hearing Monday, 8 April of how he got suspended by the Supreme Court without being accorded due process.
“In my suspension, there was no due process accorded me by the Supreme Court. The opportunity was not given me to be heard as to why I ruled the way I did,” he says.
In his emphasis on the need for judicial reform, Judge Kaba urges the need to revisit the structures and procedures in the judicial system, arguing that the Court cannot keep presiding on old laws.
According to his narratives, he was suspended by the Supreme Court for one month not for misconduct, but for a ruling he gave in a case which the Supreme Court said should have been the other way around.
President George Manneh Weah appointed the Associate Justice – designate in just few days after the Liberian Senate controversially impeached former Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh on 29 March for issuing a writ that prohibited government from collecting a road funds because the tax had not been legislated.
When confirmed by the Liberian Senate, Judge Kaba will step in to fill the vacant seat left upon the impeachment of Justice Ja’neh, making him President Weah’s second appointee on the five – member Supreme Court Bench.
Judge Kaba assures the Senate confirmation hearing that as justices, their primary focus is to do justice.
Judge Kaba last served as presiding judge at the Civil Law Court in Monrovia before his appointment by President Weah.
In 2018 he briefly served as Vice President at the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Nigeria to complete the term of then suspended Justice Wilkins Wright.
Judge Kaba describes himself as a liberal interpreter of the law, noting that if he is confirmed as an Associate Justice, he will serve justice.
He boasts that he has nothing in his records that will lead to his impeachment. But he says if there is an impeachment for him, the Liberian Senate will be the ones to decide if he should be impeached or not.
Judge Kaba says he hails from Grand Gedeh County, southeast Liberia, nothing that he was the first among his parents’ children to have been born in Monrovia while all his elder siblings were born in Grand Gedeh.
“My father is from Grand Gedeh,” he concludes.
Meanwhile, his kinsman Sen. G. Alphonso Gaye of Grand Gedeh County says Judge Kaba is more than qualified for the position, noting that he (Sen. Gaye) is going to lobby to make sure that Judge Kaba is confirmed.
Additionally, Montserrado County Sen. Saah Joseph and Sen. Oscar Cooper of Margibi County were denied the opportunities to ask questions relating to the just ended impeachment of former Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh.
The acting chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Morris Saytumah overruled Sen. Cooper’s questions, saying no question relating to the just – ended impeachment should be asked.
-over lack of due process
By Ethel A. Tweh –Edited by Winston W. Parley