The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Retired Justice Proposes Salary Increment For Judicial Workers

The Retired Associate Justice, Gladys K. Johnson, is recommending that the Chief Justice increases salaries in the next budget of all employees who are earning less than US$200 in the Judiciary.
According to Justice Johnson, the Supreme Court must exert all efforts to protect the interests of judicial workers, especially their financial well-being, adding, “We call them corrupt but they are not corrupt intentionally rather they are hustlers; people struggling to survive.”
In her presentation at the 4th National Judicial Conference, the retired justice identified the corrupt ones as those in the country who are earning thousands and yet engaged in taking bribes or converting.
She maintained that the Supreme Court could be the most powerful force in the government if only it exerts its power and not subjugate itself to the Executive or Legislative Branches by setting down for a ‘disproportionate subsidy’ from the national budget which is by all accounts very much inadequate to fund the programs of that branch of government.
She further explained that the Supreme Court should do all it can to prevent a repeat of the public violence displayed recently at the doorsteps of the Temple of Justice that grew out of the frustration of employees when their salaries, already very low, where slashed and or not paid on time.
She added that the idea of recruiting people to serve the Judiciary in such high and essential positions free of charge or on pro bono basis casts doubts on the court’s own perception of how important or serious the roles of the JIC and the GEC are in the administration of justice.
“The Judiciary is not a pauper or a nonprofit organization; the Judiciary therefore does not qualify for pro bono services besides the need for economic inducement to serve therefore, there is also a need for oversight or show of interest in the work of the committee or commission,” she maintained.
She continued that the Supreme Court should therefore rethink and find a way to encourage dedication or commitment to serve suggesting that the Supreme Court reduce the number of civil society personnel on the Grievance & Ethics Committee (GEC) and Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) to two persons each who will serve only as observers during the investigations in the interest of transparency.
She noted that those who investigate the lawyers or judge’s adherence to the rules or Canons need themselves be knowledgeable and well informed about the rules.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the Bar Association, Joyce Reeves Woods, has also recommended that the Judicial Inquiry Commission be chaired by a retired Chief Justice or a retired Associate Justice to ensure its independence.
She said the functions of the Grievance & Ethics Committee be turned entirely over to the Liberia National Bar Association since the Bar is comprised of lawyers indicating that there should be more public awareness of the roles and functions of the two Commission to afford the public an opportunity to express their dissatisfaction and grievances.

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