Bar Assoc. Empowers Committee…To Review CBL Act And Draft Bill

By Edwin Wandah in Zwedru, Gd. Gedeh Co.

The Liberia Bar Association (LNBA) has ended its first quarterly Assembly in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County with several decisions.     Among them, the Bar after a lengthy discussion on what action to take regarding the amended Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Act, agreed and expanded the Wright’s Committee on the amended Jury Law and Magistrate Jurisdiction to review the CBL Act and draft bill to amend the CBL act and report to the Executive Council within one week.

Recently, the National Legislature passed a legislation which prohibits the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia and members of the Board of Governors from contesting political offices while serving their respective offices and shall not be qualified to contest any electable office within three years consecutively after the expiration of their tenure with the CBL.

The legislature which many described as the ‘8G’ Bill for the hasty manner in which it was passed by the lawmakers also mandates the CBL to supply legal tender and banknotes and coins, among others.

During its assembly, LNBA resolved that a committee be set up for the drafting of the appropriate legislation to provide for appropriate retirement benefits for judges of the courts of Liberia. Those named on that committee include, Wilfueh Sayeh, Chairman, Atty. Jonathan F. Yancy, Co-chairman, Counselor A. Blamo Dixon, member, Atty. Mardea Martin Wiles, member and Counselor Tiawon Gongloe, Advisor.

It also agreed that in view of budgetary constraints experienced by the LNBA, the LNBA resolved to increase the yearly Bar due of Counselor–At-Law from US$150 to US$360 and Attorney –At- Law from US$120 to US$180, respectively, and that, this decision is not retroactive for members, who have already paid 2014 dues prior to this decision being taken. The decision took immediate effect after the adoption of the resolution.

Members at the assembly also resolved that the LNBA after a lengthy discussion on the Report submitted by the Special Committee set up to examine and advise the Executive Council on the challenges and way forward on the amended Jury and Magistrate Expansion laws agreed on several decisions.

Among them are that the Committee remains in force and will work with Counselor Gayah Karmo, who is also a member of the Legislature for the drafting of the appropriate legislation in the premises; the Magistrate Court is and shall remain a Court not of Records despite amendments made for expansion of its jurisdiction and appeals from its judgments.

The Bar also resolved that the Jury Law be detached from the Law expanding Magistrate jurisdiction; the number of Jurors in a Trial shall be nine (9) with three (3) alternates, whilst two-thirds (2/3) shall  constitute the majority for a verdict; Section 50.9 of the Penal Law amended to allow for changes in fines for convicted individuals shall be US$500 or its Liberian Dollars equivalent for Misdemeanor of the First degree, US$200 or its Liberian Dollars equivalent for Misdemeanor of the Second degree and US$100 or its Liberian Dollars equivalent for Misdemeanor of the Third degree; and (f) the challenges posed by the Jury Law shall be further examined by the Committee and report be made to Executive Council  within one week.

Meanwhile, the Bar resolved that the Second Quarterly Assembly for 2014, scheduled for May 2014 in Fish Town, River Gee County be hosted by the River Gee local bar. See full text of Resolution in inside.