Atty Grisby Justifies Boakai’s LTA Decision -Says “Legal precedents Support Action”

MONROVIA: Amidst the contrasting views and perspectives on the decision taken by President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to appoint a new board of commissioners of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) despite the current board enjoying tenure status, the immediate past Chairman of the Liberia Small Arms Commission, Atty Maxwell Teklo Grisby has said there was nothing wrong the President did in his clear discharge of his constitutional duty adding there are legal precedents already set to back the action taken at LTA.

Speaking on a live interview program on OK 99.5FM which was anchored by Julius Jeh and monitored by The Analyst, Grisby said that people are knowingly getting emotional about the decision without objectively taking a deeper look and said there are enough reasons to justify the President’s action.

Giving background to his argument as it relates to the creation of regulatory institutions and their tenure status, Atty Grisby said that article 89 of the 1986 constitution gives the national legislature the power to create institutions such as the National Elections Commission (NEC), the General Auditing Commission (GAC), among others to aid in the governance process of the country.

He said because most of the institutions were regulatory in nature and there was a need to make them independent they are given tenure security and by extension individuals holding these tenure positions in the institutions are insulated are given tenure security.

He said because Regulatory institutions and because of that they are given tenure security and by extension individuals holding these tenure positions in these institutions are insulated from being removed from power for no reasons. He pointed out the system was in place until the advent of the CDC led government under former President George Manneh Weah.

“In 2018 we saw a shift because there were changes in government by the CDC, you could see that only institutions holding regulatory power can have tenure power while other institutions not necessarily regulatory but being creatures of the national legislature, excluding anti-graft regulatory institutions were not touched.

He contended that there were efforts made by the government at the time to remove people with tenure positions such as Martin S. Kollie whose tenure at the National Lottery Authority was still active when Reginald Nagbe was named to his position and that of Isaac Jackson whose position at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) came under threat of being taken from him.

He said the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Kollie clearly stated that his tenure was still active and could not be removed without just cause such as being linked to corrupt acts. He maintained that though he supports tenure security for institutions as a way to protect them from undue interference, institutions that have no regulatory functions should not enjoy tenure security.

Attorney Grisby who said he was not a member of the Unity Party but supports President Boakai told his audience that the whole idea of seeking to remove tenure security from institutions was conceived by the CDC administration under former President Weah to the extent that after the Martin S. Kollie debacle, it still found a way around to remove the tenure security even without a cause, citing the case of how a former Chairman of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission(LACC), Cllr. Edward Kla Martin and his entire board were removed.

“In 2022, the CDC government said they wanted to amend the LACC ACT so as to enhance the capacity of LACC and while doing that they decided to gerrymander that law to the extent that they could terminate the tenure security of the chairperson and the deputy and other commissioners at the LACC”, he said.

He said some aspects of the Supreme Court ruling in the matter have given room or justification for President Boakai to remove people with tenure positions and at the same time get compensation in the process such as what he has initiated at LTA with the naming of a new board when the tenure of the current board is still in tight.

“In concluding the Kla Martin case, that the letter of the statue implied that all tenured officials hold contract with the government of Liberia.That the government of Liberia can remove a tenure official for proven misconduct, for a cause and in their definition of their ruling and where necessary, can remove a tenure official but in taking that decision the GOL must recognize the rights of the tenure official to the contracts even though the court said employment is a privilege but if you have contract, there must be terms for separation.

“The supreme court in its conclusion made compensation to satisfy the tenure official unexpired term who were removed before the expiration of their tenure”, he said.

When asked if he according to the understanding of the President’s decision that there are reasons to believe the affected LTA could be on the wrong side of the law, Attorney Grisby said information to his disposal has it that some of the officials are in serious violation of the code of conduct, citing section 5.8 and 5.9 and urged to those who are “making noise about the case should take time to read code of conduct and see for themselves”

He said to begin with most of those who are claiming to have tenure positions do not have such in the true sense of the law as their appointments were not properly done “and until the proper thing was done, they do not have such tenure jobs”

“I can tell you that some of them  did not fulfil all the conditions to hold public office. It starts from nomination, it goes to confirmation, then appointment after your confirmation by the senate and you get commissioned by the President.

“The appointment process must be exhausted which must end with commission. Under the CDC government the appointment process was not complete, after nomination and confirmation, most of them do not get commissioned, the President just gave a letter of appointment to act immediately and so some of them cannot even show you a letter of commission”, Grisby said.

Atty Grisby further said that some of those who had tenure positions expired must be removed adding that some of them with such expired positions did not get them extended by the President and as such should not be baseless agitation for tenure security.

Responding to a question about the issue of proving corrupt charges to warrant a tenured official to be removed, Grisby said he is a firm believer of the rule of law and the law says the President must appoint an ombudsman so that persons standing accused will defend themselves.

“Besides appointing an ombudsman the president can also appoint any specialized body to investigate these people and I am sure the President has already initiated that and those involved are being contacted”, he said.

He said if President Boakai had had the benefit of the court ruling of 2019 in favor of Martin S. Kollie , he would have not gone the route of appointing people in positions when the said positions are tenured just as if the Supreme Court had not ruled against Cllr. Edward Kla Martin and his co-commissioners at LACC where a justification was given that those who work with the government are expected to respect a binding country between them and the government and that employment with government is a privilege.

“So the same court they may want to approach also has set a precedent that President Boakai is not wrong to remove those with tenure positions”, he said.

Asked whether there was any economic sense of government spending money to remove people when the same money could be used for pressing needs of the country, Grisby said though he believes that government must  spend its money judiciously for the benefit of its people, “but remember we were looking for money to hold elections at the time when the government was using about $400,000.00 to compensate Kla Martins and his co-commissioners”

“But why do you even think that if the court says you should receive $1million today you will receive it? How much has been given to Kabineh Ja’aneh upon what all the courts have said or Nancy Doe? How much has been given to them?

‘Bad governance is terrible, that is why we should not have bad government. If you celebrate bad governance, you reap the fruit of bad governance. Have you paid Kabineh Janneh back what all the courts told you to pay him? So what do you think that if the court says they should pay you 1m you will get the amount? Bad governance, so is it what we want to encourage? Despite our political practice, we have to respect the dignity of labor of our people”, he said.

2 Comments
  1. Jake Doe says

    Mr. Grigsby, you are badly ignorant of the law. A president ARBITRARILY making illegal appointments, and illegally and arbitrarily dismissing boards on the one hand, and on the other hand, the Supreme Court’s ruling based on the NECESSARY AND PROPER CLAUSE, ARE NOT THE SAME, AND HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO LIGAMENTS NOR SEMBLANCE, WHETHER IN EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED TERMS!

    And this is why you are recklessly ranting such rubbish that “So the same court they may want to approach also has set a precedent that President Boakai is not wrong to remove those with tenure positions”, WHEN THE PRECEDENCE TO WHICH YOU ARE ALLUDING IS BASED ON THE ELASTIC CLAUSE …THE NECESSARY AND PROPER CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION WHICH GIVES THE LEGISLATURE THE RIGHTS AND POWERS TO MAKE AND ABROGATE LAWS AS IT DEEMS NECESSARY!

    JURISPRUDENTIAL INSIGHTS
    LAW IS NOT ARITHMETIC
    NEITHER JUDGES NOR COURTS ARE TRAFFIC LIGHTS.

  2. Ryann Buckridge says

    a. 1. The educators summarizing tool

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