In an unprecedented development, the Supreme Court of Liberia has adjudged Justice Minister Christiana Tah and Cllr. Beyan Howard guilty of contempt.
The high court suspended Minister Tah, who also doubles as Dean of the Supreme Court for six months while dealing a three-months suspension from practicing law to Cllr. Howard, a member of the legal team representing FrontPageAfrica’s publisher Rodney Sieh.
In a ruling handed down by the court late Friday evening, the court cited the refusal of the Justice Minister who also doubles as Dean of the Supreme Court Bar to send the FrontPageAfrica editor to prison.
Legal analysts say, the suspension could lead to the dismissal of Minister Tah. Since the position of Justice Minister is reserved for a practicing lawyer, the six months suspension would mean Tah would not be able to sign documents on behalf of the government or represent the government of Liberia in any legal matter.
Attorney General Tah is also the direct legal adviser to the President of the Republic.
Cllr. Tah played a pivotal role in several concession agreements between Liberia and foreign firms, notably the petroleum agreement with Chevron ExxonMobil. Part of the Ministry’s function is to procure proper evidence for, and conduct, prosecute, or defend all suits and proceedings in the courts in which the Republic or any officer thereof, as to such officer, is a party or may be interested; Institute all legal proceedings necessary for law enforcement.
The Ministry is also responsible to furnish opinions as to legal matters and render services requiring legal skills to the president and other agencies of the Executive Branch of Government. Oversee the codification of the Liberian Statutory Law; administer the laws relating to admission, deportation and naturalization of aliens, and the regulation of aliens within Liberia.
The Minister is also tasked with the to the extent stated in the Aliens and Nationality Law, administer laws relating to the admission, deportation and naturalization of aliens, and the regulations of aliens within Liberia; Supervise the activities of the National Bureau of Investigation, the National Central Bureau and the National Police Force and oversee all government activities relating to administration of the Vehicle and Traffic Law prevention and control of fires.