Alva M. Wolokolie
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s nominee for the post of Chief Justice His Honor Francis S. Korkpor says he has been nominated at a time when the judiciary is faced with many daunting challenges.
Fortunately for him, Justice Korkpor acknowledges that he has identified the problems and challenges of the judiciary because he is the longest serving Justice on the Supreme Court Bench.
Cllr. Korkpor who has acted as Chief Justice Ad Interim for about seven months following the resignation of former Chief Justice Johnnie Lewis said he has already started confronting some of the problems and challenges in recent time in an effort to improve condition with that third branch of government.
Justice Lewis resigned last year due to his poor health and immediately departed the country to seek medication in the USA. It was for that reason that President Sirleaf appointed Justice Korkpor to act as Chief Justice Ad Interim pending the nomination of a new Chief Justice.
Appearing before the Senate Standing Committee on Judiciary, Claims and Petition yesterday at the Capitol Building, the Chief Justice Designate Justice Korkpor told the committee that the issue of confidence crisis in the court system and inadequate budgetary allocation are some of the problems confronting the Judiciary.
He named the limited number of untrained manpower, especially at the lower courts-the courts of first instant and the shortage of logistics and inadequate infrastructure among others as some of the problems the system is faced with.
After his brief and humble presentation to the Committee, Cllr. Korkpor begged the Senate to confirm him so that he and his teammates (other Associate Justices) can continue on the path of reform that he has already started within the court system.
“You may know that the Supreme Court took decisions some time ago suspending some judges and lawyers for ethical transgressions. This is a clear signal that the reform within the judiciary involves all of us. Anyone found wanting will bear the appropriate penalty,” Chief Justice Designate Korkpor said.
For her part, Associate Justice Sie-A-Yeaneh Youh promised to be conscious that the decisions she will make as a member of the Bench will promote or support the stability of the court.
Cllr. Yeaneh Youh indicated that when confirmed she will resolve to be independent in thought but will be a team player in moving the judiciary forward.
The learned lawyer told the Senate Committee that she pledged to utilize all that she has to strengthen the judiciary with God being her helper. “As a lawyer of 32 years of practice experience, including occupying senior positions of trust, be assured that I will be a valuable asset to the judiciary when confirmed,” Associate Justice Youh told the Senate Committee yesterday.
If confirmed by the Senate, the two nominees will join the full Bench of five, with the three others already there. They include; Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, Jamesetta Howard Wolokolie and Philip A.Z. Banks, III.