By Melvin Jackson
MONROVIA – Former representatives of the 53rd legislature have petitioned the honorable Supreme Court of Liberia for a writ of mandamus against the government of Liberia through the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Samuel D. Tweah, Jr and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr. Bhofal Chambers.
The civil procedure law section 16.21.2 defines mandamus as a special proceeding to obtain a writ requiring a person to perform an official duty.
The lawmakers represented by former representative Worlea –Sawah Dunah and George Mulbah Sr, in their petition said the government of Liberia has allegedly failed to pay them their salary arrears and benefits owed in the tone of Eight Hundred Thirty –Two Thousand United States Dollars [US$832,000,00].
The former lawmakers in their petition dated January 18, 2023 revealed that they were duly elected on October 11, 2011 for a period of six years and were subsequently inducted into office and served their constitutional terms from January 16 2012 up to and including January 22 2018.
The 73 former lawmakers said that predicated upon their services rendered to the government of Liberia they were legally qualified to earn all salaries , benefits and perquisites associated with the duties and functions of the offices of a representative as provided for by law.
“Upon leaving office the respondents [Chamber and Tweah ] owed us eight Hundred Thirty –Two Thousand United States Dollars representing unpaid salaries and benefits for services rendered as members of the House of Representatives of the 53rd National Legislature”. The petitioners said.
Accordingly, they said in their petitions for a writ of mandamus that they have passed a resolution authorizing honorable Worlea-Saywah Dunah and honorable George Mulbah to lead and direct the process to ensure that all arrears are paid by the respondents.
The petitioners who are also former representatives under the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf regime termed the actions by the government of Liberia and the leadership of the 54rd legislature headed by speaker Bhofal Chambers and Deputy Speaker Fonita Koffa, as total disbelief, unacceptable and illegal actions by them.
“This is unacceptable that Speaker Chambers and Koffa will include our money for payment under the domestic debt in an act to approve the special budget for the fiscal period beginning july 1, 2021 and ending December 31, 2021 providing for the expenditure of the government of the republic and that said arrears were never paid to us”. The petitioners noted.
The petitioners noted that further series of meetings with the leadership of the House of Representatives were held but nothing has been done to have the issues at bar amicably settle the issue of their salaries since 2018 and upward to present.
Meanwhile, the former representatives of the 53rd legislature want the honorable Supreme Court grant unto them and order the leadership to pay or cause to be paid the petitioners arrears as prayed for and grant unto petitioners any and all further relief that will be deemed necessary.