……Over Ombudsman’s Appointment
By Necus M. Andrews
A source closed to the House of Representatives told The NEWS that the appointments made by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for the office of the Ombudsman are not pleasing to members of that august body.
The President late Monday named former Police Director, Chris Massaquoi as Chairman, while Edward Dillon and Massa Jallabah were also nominatedas members.
Our source said the lawmakers have expressed doubts over the independence of these individuals based on their close ties with the President and political parties.
According to our source, the lawmakers are expressing fears that those appointed would not independently enforce provisions of the Code of Conduct because they will work at the will and pleasure of the President.
It is being rumored that the President is supporting the presidential bid of Cllr. Charles Brumskine of Liberty Party over her Vice President Joseph Boakai in the pending elections. A claim the Office of the President has since rejected.
The representatives, according to our source discussed the issue of the OmbudsmanTuesday in an executive session.
Our reporter said on the Tuesday’s agenda, the reading of the Code of conduct appeared for discussion but was done in executive session.
In the executive session, our source said the lawmakers agreed to stand with the implementation of the Code of Conduct and any attempt to compromise it would create problem for the country.
It is believed that the President appointed these individuals based on her close relationship with them and relax certain provisionsin Code of Conduct to allow her associates to contest the October 10, 2017.
The Supreme Court has since ruled that the Code of Conduct is a legal instrument.
Cllr. Massaquoi is a closed associate of the President.He previously served as Director of the Special Security Service (SSS) now Executive Protection Service (EPS), Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) now Liberia Immigration Service and Director of the Liberia National Police (LNP).
Atty. Edward Dillon, the brother of Darius Dillion, Vice Chairman for Governmental Affairs of the Liberty Party is said to have worked in the office of Cllr. Charles Brumskine during the Charles Taylor’s administration.
For Atty. Massa Jallabah, former Miss Liberia contestant representing Lofa County currently serves in the government at the Ministry of Justice.
During the meeting, our source quotes the lawmakers as promising to hold together in upholding the implementation of the Code of Conduct because no one person can change the law around.
Some of the lawmakers are already celebrating the passage of the Code of Conduct because it had prevented their opponents from the Executive Branch from contesting.
Section 5.1 of the Code states that “All officials appointed by the President of the Republic of Liberia shall not: engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected offices; use Government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities; serve on a campaign team of any political party, or the campaign of any independent candidate.”