Editorial: Supreme Court’s Advice: Bong Caucus Must Negotiate
At last, there may be ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for the recent legal challenge placed before the Supreme Court of Liberia against the Bong County Legislative Caucus. Complainant Emmanuel Diabolo, also former Comptroller of the Project Management Committee of Bong County, sought redress from the Supreme Court against the Caucus for his summary and unceremonious dismissal last year.
He had argued that his dismissal by the Chairman of the Caucus, Representative George S. Mulbah and others was illegal and in violation of the Budget law of Liberia, insisting that he was disallowed to continue his three-year term of service on the Project Management Committee of Bong County. When members of the Bong Legislative Caucus thought that the case would have followed the usual pattern initially perceived by them, very little did they realize that the highest court of the land would have pursued the matter to its logical conclusion.
Members of the Supreme Court of Liberia who should have handed down a final opinion on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, called on defendants George S. Mulbah and others and the Complainant to enter into a negotiation. While we hail the Supreme Court for its decision for negotiation in the case Emmanuel Diabolo (Complement) vs Bong County Legislative Caucus (defendant), we are of the belief that Mr. Diabolo considers this as true justice. In view of the Court’s decision, it is only hope that Chairman Mulbah and members of the caucus will place sincerity and promptness at the core of such negotiation.
The Bong Caucus must also regard the decision as a verdict against them and wholeheartedly consider such as a lesson well learnt, as well as ensure that such a heartless attitude exhibited against a citizen they claim to be representing is not repeated. While it may seem that the Bong County Caucus would prefer negotiating a ‘pay-off scheme’ of Mr. Mulbah, it must also be done without any form of compromise. That is to suggest that while they may not want Mulbah to return to the PMC because of his firmness on the disbursement of the County and Social development Funds, they must also give him severance benefits, as well as pay for damages caused him in addition to his salaries for the remaining two years for which he should have worked before being arbitrarily dismissed.
The Legal challenge posed by Emmanuel Diabolo must now be considered as a springboard to discourage the Bong Legislative Caucus and others from regarding the County and Social Development Funds as their “diamond creeks”. When this is done, projects financed by these funds, including the Gboveh Community College in Gbarnga, would progress speedily around the country. It is no secret that most of these projects are stalled as the results of the manipulations and trickeries characterizing these funds.
It is indeed disheartening and humiliating that these lawmakers would be earning huge salaries, special allowances, daily domestic sustenance allowances and other benefits and at the same time, micro-managing and tapping into funds allotted for the growth and development of their respective counties. The task now for citizens and civil society organizations in the counties to begin more actively involved in the monitoring of the funds so that they physically impact their counties, as well as the socio-economic well-being of citizens.