There have been major changes at the
justice ministry of Liberia. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has relieved
Justice Minister Philip Banks of his post, replacing him with Christiana Tah, a
professor of sociology, anthropology and criminal justice at Montgomery College in the U.S. state of Maryland.
Police Inspector General Munah Sieh was also relieved of her post but not
reassigned. The president also fired the minister of national security and the
director of the bureau of investigation.
Solicitor General Tiawon Gongloe was
moved to the ministry of labor, replacing Samuel Kofi Woods who is now the new
minister of public works.
Information Minister Lawrence Bropleh said President Sirleaf made the sweeping changes because the
justice ministry has not done enough to execute the president’s war on
Justice Ministry is the prosecutorial arm of government. Those who are
suspected of corrupt activities in government and are dismissed are forwarded
to the justice ministry for further investigation and be prosecuted,” he said.
Bropleh said the justice ministry has not been able to fully get up to capacity
in order to do its prosecutorial job.
a result, he said many cases have been stuck at the justice ministry and have
not been brought to court.
said President Sirleaf made the changes in order to reinvigorate the justice
ministry to move corruption cases forward.
denied the delay in prosecuting corruption cases had been due to the lack of
political will by President Sirleaf to refer alleged corrupt officials for
the contrary, the President has dismissed many, many persons, from deputy
ministers on down in government. But the president cannot automatically forward
them to the court for prosecution,” Bropleh said.
said corruption allegations must first be investigated and only then can the
chief prosecutor and the solicitor general prosecute the cases.
General of Police Munah Sieh was also relieved of her duties but not
said the changes were necessary because the police have done a poor job in
have to say…that the police department has not fare very well. The main reason
for that has been the vetting process. But the police also lacked leadership,”
Tah, the new minister of justice-designate was once nominated by President
Sirleaf to the Supreme Court but rejected by the Senate.
said this time around Tah would be confirmed. He said her rejection to the
Supreme Court was not due to her lack of qualification but rather a political