Petition On CBL Amended Act Premature?

By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie

One of the lawyers representing the National Citizens Solidarity Council at the Supreme Court  over the controversial Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) amended Act, Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould has told reporters that Justice in Chambers, Jamesetta Howard Wolokolie views the petition filed as “premature” because the Act has not been signed into law by President Sirleaf.

In a brief comment yesterday with journalists, minutes after he attended a conference called by the Supreme Court, Cllr. Gould explained that the opinion of the Justice in Chambers does not in any way discourage the plaintiff’s legal counsel for pursuing the case against the National Legislature.

The learned lawyer argued that his team still maintains that the amended Act establishing the Central Bank of Liberia just passed by the lawmakers as unconstitutional.

As an experienced lawyer, Cllr. Gould intimated that no law should be passed to prevent citizens from contesting public offices or to seek employment. He described the passage of the Bill as selfish, segregated, barbaric and most of all unconstitutional.

“The legislature acted unconstitutionally. The amendment contravenes 15, 11 and 18 among others. We maintain the petition and we will not relent. This matter will still be pursued. Although Justice Wolokolie says the petition is “premature”, we will follow it up once it is signed by the President,” Gould asserted.

But one of the lawyers representing the 53rd National Legislature, Senator Fredrick Cherue of River Gee County told reporters that the Legislature has no regret for what it has done.

In the conference hearing yesterday, Cllr. Cherue said the Justice in Chambers wanted to know the merits and demerits of the case and his team was able to do that.

Despite the mounting criticisms in some parts of the country regarding the passage of the CBL Act, the River Gee County Senator believes the action of the Legislature to pass the Bill is good and he is convinced that they will become victorious before the court.

But on the contrary, if the decision of the court goes against them (Legislature), the Legislators will bow because the highest court is the final arbiter (authority) of justice in the country.

The decision of the National Citizens Solidarity Council to file a petition before the Supreme Court came as a result of the passage amending certain  portions of the Act establishing the CBL on March 18, 1999. The amended Act states “The Executive Governor of the CBL and members of the Board of Governors shall be prohibited to contest political office(s) while serving in their respective offices and shall not be qualified to contest any electable office within three years consecutively after the expiration of their tenure and in his/her resignation from the Central Bank of Liberia.”

The Bill has been sponsored by Gbarpolu County Senator Armah Jallah, co-sponsored by Lofa County Senator Sumo Kupee and Grand Kru County Peter Coleman. The Senate plenary passed the Act on February 13, 2014, followed by the House of Representatives’ concurrence within the same week.