Monday, April 25, 2011

Liberia: Departing Justice Johnson Worried Over Millions Stolen For Foreign Banks

Source: All Africa

Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice K. Gladys Johnson says she leaves the bench 'saddened' by an avalanche of corruption charges against the Judiciary, adding that she, too, was subjected to bribery attempt involving a law firm she did not name.

During a farewell reception in her honour last Thursday at the Temple of Justice, retired Justice Johnson said after she rejected the bribe, she was warned about the dangers of being 'too straight' in Liberia.

She said: "Somebody tried bribing me. I got so angry and cited their whole law firm, but they all came and denied. Few weeks after, a lawyer came to my office and said I'm here to give you some advice. He said Justice, you are too straight. I said so what is your advice? He said the people in this country don't like people to be too straight. You're too straight. I said to him. I should stop being straight? What a good advice? I said, I like that, you telling me I'm too straight. Thank God you are not saying I'm too weak. He said his uncle was straight and he is dead..."

The US State Department, in its 2010 Human Rights Report on Liberia, said judges and jurors demanded bribes for a not guilty verdict, while emphasizing that corruption is pervasive in the judicial system.

Continuing her statement, Justice Johnson said another aspect of corruption that is worrying entails officials siphoning millions intended for development and depositing the money in their private bank accounts:

"The corruption that I'm worried about in the country is the one that is carrying down our economy, where people take millions of dollars that have been allotted for schools, roads and hospitals and then they deposit it in their private accounts. Most of the time in their private bank accounts abroad because they don't want for Liberians to know that they have much money in banks here. And that's what is wrong seriously," she said.

But the former Associate Justice rejected many of the criticisms directed at the Judiciary, contending that the key problem facing the judicial system is corrupt jurors. Announcing her intent to contest a seat in the Legislature in the scheduled elections, she said one of her first objectives is to sponsor a bill punishing jurors who accept bribes. Nevertheless, she appealed to lawyers and judges for a collective effort in giving the judiciary a better image, saying:

"So I'm asking lawyers and judges. Let us try to change this image that people have about this branch of government, that we are corrupt...I'm saddened each time I read the newspapers about how corrupt this judiciary is. It saddens me."

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Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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