Liberia’s Supreme Court has issued a stay order following a request for a writ of prohibition by Atty. Isaac W. Jackson’s counsels against his removal by President George Manneh Weah from a five – year tenured position as Deputy Commissioner and Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Following a petition for a writ of prohibition filed with the Supreme Court on Tuesday, 3 July, Justice presiding in Chambers Jamesetta Howard Wolokolie on Thursday cited government through the Justice Ministry and the complaining party to a conference due Tuesday, 10 July at 3:30 pm in chambers in connection with the case.
“You are hereby ordered to stay all further proceedings / action, and return the parties to status quo ante, pending the outcome of the conference,” Associate Justice Wolokolie orders.
Appointed in September and Commissioned in October 2016 by former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf as Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the IMO, Atty. Jackson’s lawyers say he has just served one year and nine months in the position before being replaced by President Weah in June through the appointment of Amb. Moses Owen Browne.
In the petition for a writ of prohibition before the Supreme Court, Atty. Jackson’s lawyers Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson and Cllr. Swahilo A. Sesay say prohibition will lie in the proceedings “to prohibit the illegal action” of the Executive or the President of Liberia from removing their client from his tenured position.
The lawyers are arguing that Atty. Jackson worked and placed Liberia in a considerable leadership achievement at the IMO since his appointment, making conclusion that “the only reason for the replacement of the Petitioner by another appointee, is purely on political grounds, but not legitimate cause as defined and expressly stated” in the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) Act.
In reference to the LMA Act regarding removal and suspension, the counsels contend that Section 7 (7) states that the commissioner shall be removed or suspended by the president on the recommendation of the Board for “nonperformance, for dishonesty, or any offense in violation of the Liberian criminal laws.”
The counsels continue in Section 7 (7) that the outcome of a due process investigation, or a showing of complete disregard for international treaties and conventions to which Liberia is a party, grounds of verified physical, mental or administrative incapacity, are reasons in the Act for removal or suspension.
Atty. Jackson’s lawyers say he was appointed Permanent Representative to the IMO, a position they say in the organogram of the LMA is Deputy Commissioner.
They inform the Court that relying on the period of the position which is five years, Atty. Jackson upon his appointment and commissioning relocated his entire family to his area of assignment as situation in which his children are presently in school in London.
They say without any consultation and arrangement for recall and addressing his replacement, President Weah abruptly made the change by appointing another nominee to the position.
They are therefore requesting the Court grant Atty. Jackson the Petition for the Writ of Prohibition against the government, refraining, prohibiting and restraining it from carrying on any act seeking the removal of their client.
By Winston W. Parley