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S/Court complicates Code of Conduct

-Says Cllr. Kanneh

There have been calls for the Legislature to repeal the Act creating the Code of Conduct (COC) to replace it with a new one that is applicable due to the complicated nature of the current instrument.

By Lincoln G. Peters

Monrovia, 29 February 2024: The head of the Law Reform Commission, Cllr. Boakai Kanneh has accused the Supreme Court of Liberia of complicating the Code of Conduct which is intended to set standards for public officials.

Cllr. Kanneh accused the Court during a presentation on Wednesday, 28 February 2024 at the official opening of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa-Liberia International Elections Observation Mission (EISA-LIEOM).

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“The Supreme Court has had the opportunity to several interpretations of the law. These interpretations created more complications to our standing on the Code of Conduct,” said Cllr. Kanneh.

“In one instance, it’s an egregious violation and in another instance, it’s a substantial compliance. What do you mean?” Cllr. Kanneh wondered.

“When you interpret the law, you don’t complicate the law or don’t create ambiguity in the law,” the constitutional lawyer argued.

According to him, since the Code of Conduct was enacted, it was first hindered by the lack of enforcement because the office of the Ombudsmen was not established.

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He wondered how far should somebody go before you can know that they have violated the Code of Conduct, an apparent reaction to some of the Supreme Court’s decisions that brought about “egregious violation,” and “substantial compliance.” 

Regardless of the description, he argued that there is still an element of non-compliance.

“Violation is a violation and must be punished. Because of that, we think that one of the ways to deal with all those defects is to repeal the entire Code of Conduct which includes the conflicting views of the Supreme Court,” he proposed.

He believes that when the law is repealed, all those opinions and interpretations from the Supreme Court on the law will be left void.

“The Code of Conduct is one of the most abused legal instruments in our country today in my mind, some of which are deliberate, which is quite unfortunate,” he lamented. 

He said when you make laws, they are intended for your governance. Kanneh stated that those laws must be upheld and nobody should make a law and deliberately choose to bend it.

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