Supreme Court Refutes Story on Dual Citizenship

MONROVIA : The Supreme Court of Liberia has refuted a story carried by a local daily under the headline, “Only the Court can Established Dual Citizens, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor says, and had quoted the Chief Justice as saying “We have told the Government through the Ministry of Justice that, if a Liberian left the country and obtained dual citizenship, it is the court that can establish dual citizenship, and not the government” during the hearing of a petition to admit Atty. Alvin Teage Jalloh to the Bar of the Supreme Court.

According to a press statement issued by the apex court and signed by the Director, Judicial Public Information, Atty Darryl Ambrose Blamo Nmah Sr, the headline of the daily was not only false, but also a serious attempt to mislead the Liberian people and other nationals around the world as the said story in its third paragraph, misquoted the Chief Justice as saying” Liberians can hold dual citizenship until the government takes them to court and a judgment is given against them”.

“The Supreme Court states emphatically that at no time has the Chief Justice, speaking within the Chambers of the Supreme Court declare that the Supreme Court or any other court within this Republic has the power or authority to “Establish Dual Citizenship or that Liberians can hold dual citizenship until the government takes them to court”, the statement said.

The statement went further by saying “The Court also find astonishing the assertion made by the Newspaper that the Chief Justice “clarified” that the Supreme Court ruling in the Alvin Teage Jalloh case did not nullify any section of the Alien and Nationality Law that automatically takes away the citizenship of any Liberian who acquires another nationality, whilst at the very end of the same story the paper quotes, verbatim, the judgment of the Supreme Court of Liberia declaring that section 22.2 of the Alien and Nationality law is in violation of the due process clause under Article 20 (a) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia and was therefore null and void without any force and effect of law”.

“What kind of journalist does such unprofessional work for such reputable newspaper, if not with the intend to sow confusion amongst the people?”, the statement stated.

The statement said the Supreme Court clarified that the Full Bench of the Supreme Court, through the Chief Justice, first inquired of Atty. Jalloh if he was the self-same person who file the petition before the Court? To which he responded in the affirmative.

The Court further said that its ruling in that case did not touch on dual citizenship as was being misconstrued in the public and that the Constitution of Liberia does not permit dual citizenship therefore the Court does not make laws to grant dual citizenship. The Court emphasized its ruling that due process, through a court of competent jurisdiction is the only forum by which a Liberian can be stripped of his/her citizenship.

“The Court then inquired of Atty. Jalloh if he was a Liberian? To which question he answered yes, and if he was an American citizen? To which question he also answered that he was a naturalized citizen of the United States of America, following his response the Court reserved ruling on his petition for admission to the Supreme Court Bar”, the court clarified.

Expressing its displeasure to the news story, the Supreme Court said it saw the publication as a disservice to the people of Liberia and foreigners alike who are readers of the Daily Observer Newspaper, as the paper denied its readers the benefit of professional journalism and accurate information and fed them with total fabrication and misrepresentation of the facts.

“We also urge the Liberian Media to treat the Liberian people with fairness always in the exercise of their reportorial duties as the information consumed by your audience could have a positive or negative consequence on our Nation and its people. The Liberian Judiciary stands prepared to work with the media and any other public interest group desirous of obtaining factual information of and about the Liberian Judiciary”, the statement concluded.

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