Justice Minister Nomination Withdrawn Amid Public Outcry

MONROVIA, Montserrado – Amid pressure from the public, President George Weah has withdrawn the nomination of Charles Gibson as justice minister.

Gibson was among the first few individuals nominated by Weah to serve in his government, hours after his inauguration on January 22. His nomination was met by public criticisms and calls for the president to reconsider his decision on accusations that Gibson lacked the necessary integrity to serve in the position.

His license to practice law in the country was restored only days before his appearance for confirmation hearing at the Senate, after being suspended for nearly one year. He reportedly duped a client of more than US$25,000.

According to a 2017 Daily Observer report, the attorney general designate instituted several lawsuits to recover loans and other business remittances for his client, Anwar A. Saoud, from which he embezzled the amount.

The news report said his action was in breach of the guiding tenets of the client-lawyer relationship, which forbids lawyers from taking advantage of a client’s confidence to seek personal benefits.

A release from the Executive Mansion disclosed that the president’s decision was communicated to Gibson and the president pro tempore of the Senate, Albert Chie, on Wednesday.

The release did not state reasons for the withdrawal, but Gibson is the only individual whose confirmation has also been withheld by the Senate after confirmation hearing. Four of the five initial cabinet members appointed have since been confirmed. They include Information Minister Eugene Nagbe, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, Defense Minister Daniel Ziankahn, and minister of state for presidential affairs, Nathaniel McGill.

Meanwhile, the president has nominated the lead lawyer of the National Elections Commission, Musa Dean, for the justice minister post.

Featured photo courtesy of Zeze Ballah

Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah is currently a senior student at the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. In 2017, Senah won three Press Union of Liberia awards: Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Land Rights Reporter of the Year.

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