Liberia’s Justice Minister resigns

Cllr. Tah says she did not enjoy the support of the presidency

Cllr. Tah says she did not enjoy the support of the presidency

Liberian Justice Minister Cllr. Christiana Tah said she felt a big relief, dumping a big weight off her shoulders Monday as she announced her long-anticipated exit from the government of President Ellen-Johnson-Sirleaf. 

The exit came as a blow to the Liberian government currently in the middle of a major health epidemic which has so far killed nearly 2,000 Liberians and more than 3000 in the West African sub-region.

Cllr. Tah broke the news to a handful of local and foreign journalists after an hour-long meeting with President Sirleaf and described by some insiders as frank, honest and succinct as the minister expressed her disappointment and dismay over the Sirleaf’s administration.

Late Monday evening, the president ‘s office noted that President Sirleaf had received and accepted Tah’s resignation.

Cllr. Tah held no punches as she delved into issues, making headlines recently for which many wondered in a state of bewilderment, even questioning the existence of the ministry of justice or the attorney general’s presence.

One of those headlines had to do with President Sirleaf’s decision to appoint Cllr. David B. Jallah, of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law to speedily investigate the National Security Agency (NSA) for his alleged refusal to adhere to the minister of justice’s mandate to return a Korean businessman’s US$284,000 seized by the NSA upon order of its director of the NSA.

It was clear in the former minister’s tone and body language that distrust and feelings of betrayal were amiss in a government she says lacked support from the presidency as she declared: “It is the same public spiritedness that informs my world view which underpins the ethical dilemma that has compelled my decision to unequivocally draw the line beyond which I cannot continue to fill the position of the Minister of Justice in name without the substantive support of the chief executive.”

Added Cllr. Tah: “This is especially given that my allegiance is first and foremost in our nation. Having relented at retreating at the height of my own personal pain when my hard-earned professional asset was suspended and my credibility called into question, and having deferred to the president she denied my prerogative to promptly exit her administration, it is with justifiable relief that I inform you that I can no longer continue to struggle to vindicate the portfolio designated for the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Republic of Liberia when it is eviscerated and reduced to a pretext to legitimate and perpetrate arbitrary activities and inscrutable practices under the guise of “the rule of law”.

Cllr. Tah said she could not serve as minister of justice and not supervise the operations of the security agencies under the minister of justice to independently investigate allegations of fraud against the National Security Agency as she asked: “What is the rule of law if a duly appointed minister of justice with oversight has grave concerns about what her violation resignation will mean for her own personal security and freedom as a Liberian citizen.”

Story & Photo: Peter N.Toby