Home Governance “Forceful Takeover”… Senate Judicial Committee Chair Differs With Boakai On LTA Saga

“Forceful Takeover”… Senate Judicial Committee Chair Differs With Boakai On LTA Saga

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MONROVIA: President Joseph Nyuma Boakai’s action to suspend public officials in tenured positions at the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LTA), has been widely criticized in different quarters of the country.

The latest of such criticisms was made yesterday, May 1, 2024, by Sinoe County Senator, Cllr. Augustine Chea, who described the President’s action as “disturbing and mind-boggling.”

“What is even more disturbing and mind-boggling is that the President’s action came barely twenty-four hours after the Supreme Court of Liberia’s decision, annulling the arbitrary termination by the President of tenured officials at the LTA and the Governance Commission (GC),” Cllr. Chea said.

Reports emerged recently that armed police officers besieged the LTA Headquarters to enforce the suspension of the Chairperson and Commissioners of the LTA.

“The presence of the armed officers was clearly an attack on the rule of law,” Senator Chea, who is also an Executive of the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), indicated.

The Senate Judiciary Committee Chair also considers President Boakai’s suspension of the LTA officials as a “total disregard of the Supreme Court’s decision and the Liberia Telecommunications Act, saying “The President appointed an Acting Chairperson and four Commissioners at the LTA—the very same individuals he nominated to the LTA earlier and whose confirmation was put on hold in adherence to the Supreme Court’s ‘stay order’ on the removal of the incumbent Chairperson and Commissioners.”
Cllr. Chea asserted that the President has neither withdrawn those nominations nor complied with the Supreme Court’s decision.

“The deployment of the police to the LTA Headquarters was to facilitate the forceful takeover by the President’s new appointees. The President’s action did not only run contrary to the letter and spirit of the Supreme Court’s decision but equally violated the Telecommunications Act and contravened the ‘separation of powers’ as enshrined in the constitution,” he noted.

Chea: “The Telecommunications Act of 2007 in Part III, Section 10: Disqualification and Removal, provides inter alia: 1. “A person may not be removed from office as Commissioner or Chairman…, prior to the completion of his or her term of appointment [which is four years] unless the person: (a) at the time of appointment, or while holding the position of Commissioner, Chairman or other office, has a conviction or convicted for any offense in Liberia or elsewhere: (i) under the criminal law; (ii) involving dishonesty and corruption; and (iii) where the penalty for such offense includes imprisonment for one year or longer.”

The Senator averred that the law is unambiguous, as does the Supreme Court’s decision.

He therefore called on President Joseph to withdraw his appointees and restore the LTA Chairperson and Commissioners to their positions.

“The President must do the same for the Chairperson of the Governance Commission. I will advise the Senate accordingly! Remember, “what the law does not give, it withholds,” he added.

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