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Police, Lottery Authority face Court Tuesday

Liberia’s Supreme Court has cited the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the National Lottery Authority (NLA) to a conference due Tuesday, 10 July, following NLA Deputy Director General Ms. Agnes Effiong’s claims of police threat to force her out of office and install new presidential appointee Mr. Neved Kortu.

Ms. Effiong claims that President George Manneh Weah violates the Constitution because he does not have the power and authority to make appointment for the position of Deputy Director General at NLA, but such power rests with the entity’s Board based on the Act creating it.

Based on Chamber Justice Jamesetta Wolokolie’s mandate, Ms. Effiong and the respondents including Police Inspector General Col. Patrick Sudue, NLA Board Chair Claude J. Katta and the Ministry of Justice are to appear for the conference at 3:00 pm.

In a petition for a writ of prohibition before the Supreme Court, Ms. Effiong who says she is a member of the Group of 77 here notes that NLA’s Board of Directors appointed her on 20 September 2016 as Deputy Director General which has a statutory duration of two years.

She says her tenure runs up to September 19, 2018, but complains that while going about her normal duties, one Neved Kortu visited NLA in June 2018 to take over as Deputy Director General over claims that he had been appointed by President Weah.

Ms. Effiong says when Mr. Kortu’s planned takeover did not materialize, he allegedly issued threat that he would return with police to have him take over the office.

On 29 June, Ms. Effiong adds that Mr. Kortu returned with police loaded in three pickups, allegedly blocking NLA’s entrance in demand of Mr. Kortu’s installation.

She says the installation did not take place again that day because she was not in office, but the officers allegedly left warning that they would return Monday, 2 July to break into the office if Ms. Effiong did not turn it over to Mr. Kortu.

She also complains that the NLA Board which appointed her to the position did not protect her rights, saying it is not within the province of the police to install appointees.

Her counsels want the Court to issue an alternative writ of prohibition against the actions of the respondents, direct an immediate halt to Mr. Kortu’s installation and further restrain government and the police from removing her from office until the court hears the matter.

This is the second prohibition case against appointment made by President Weah to positions with statutory mandates. The first was Atty Issac Jackson, a permanent representative to the International Maritime Organization, who was recently replaced by President Weah when in fact his position is a 5 year tenure position and has gone little over a year.

By Winston W. Parley

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