By Lennart Dodoo

MONROVIA – Cllr. Bobby Livingstone, a renowned lawyer and a former prosecutor for the Liberian government was poised to sit his confirmation hearing for his nomination as Deputy Information Minister for Public Affairs, alas, he was slapped with the sudden withdrawal of his nomination by the President with no stated reason.

Cllr. Lafayette Gould Sr, who was nominated as Assistant Minister for Litigation, Adana Paye, Assistant Minister for Corrections & Rehabilitation and Mr. Joseph Cooper as Executive Director for Liberia Refugee Repatriation & Resettlement nominations were also withdrawn.

The withdrawal of the nominations was disclosed to the Liberian Senate through an April 4, 2024 communication from the President to the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate. The President stated no reason for the withdrawal of the nominees. It was quite embarrassing that the nominees, including Cllr. Livingstone was already seated for his confirmation hearing when the Secretary of the State read the communication from the President.

After the communication of the President was read on the floor, a motion from Maryland County Senator, J. Gbleh-bo Brown was proffered that the letter be received and acted upon by the plenary in session.

In his motion, Senator Brown, who chairs the Senate Committee on Rules, Order and Administration (ROA) stressed that it is the prerogative of the President to do whatever he decides in keeping with his constitutional responsibility.

But in a sharp reaction, Grand Bassa County Senator, Gbehzohngar Findley termed the decision of President Boakai to withdraw nominations repeatedly as troubling and embarrassing, thus indicating his amendment to the motion to open the President’s communication for discussion on the floor by fellow senators.

The amendment to the motion was rejected by the movant, Senator Brown.

Cllr. Livingstone, upon being made aware of the cancellation of his nomination posted to Facebook: “I thank the President for the nomination. He has seen it fit to withdraw the nomination. I owe absolutely no apologies for my role as a Prosecutor in the Gloria Scott case. 29year-old Charloe Musu was murdered. There is no evidence of entry by an intruder.”

Speaking on the President’s action, Rev. Dr. Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull, a legal luminary with over 40 years of experience expressed her dismay in the President’s decision to withdraw Cllr. Livingstone’s nomination because of his involvement in the prosecution of former Chief Justice Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott. Cllr. Livingstone was one of the government’s lead lawyers in the prosecution of the former Chief Justice and members of her household for the murder her 29-year-old niece.

Cllr. Scott who has taken an appeal to conviction to the Supreme Court was a lawyer for the ruling Unity Party.

Cllr. Bull expressed concern that Cllr. Scott’s lead defense lawyer, Cllr. Augustin Fayiah has been appointed by President Boakai as the Solicitor General of the Republic, yet, bringing the lead prosecutor in the same case to public disrepute.

Cllr. Bull: “…especially so when her lead lawyer, Cllr. Augustine Fayiah, who served as deputy minister for justice under the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s regime, wo prosecuted many other Liberians and foreigners and who is presently on record as one of the lead counsels in Gloria Scott case as her lawyer is also currently appointed as Solicitor General of the Republic of Liberia for the same Justice Ministry, I think it shows bias, it shows malice, it shows hatred, it shows tampering, it shows a very bad sign for not just professional lawyers or professionals, but for the common people who need protection, who need to seek their rights in the court whether for murder, whether for criminal offenses, civil offenses, property rights, I think that is bad.”

Cllr. Bull emphasized that the President’s action must not be tolerated as it does not augur well for nation building. “I call on those in authority not to start this way. It’s bad. Pres. Boakai might mean well but because of these alliances – people who decided to run and make parties for the sole purpose of being part of the list to get jobs and to show their vengeance and revenge on people and on citizens and residents, it’s bad. I consider them to be come-by-chance people, some of them are lawyers, some of them are professionals and I say it’s spoiling the reputation of the Unity Party government,” she said.

Cllr. Bull, an advisor to the Liberia National Bar Association anticipated that the Bar would take the matter seriously as its consequences could be far-reaching including professionals shying away from government jobs for fear of being haunted afterwards.

“When the Association of Female Lawyers, the women and some men were demonstrating that justice in the murder case, they were not only demanding justice for Cllr. Scott, I believe they were also seeking justice for the young lady who was found dead. Cllr. Livingstone should not be held responsible for the conviction of Cllr. Scott. He was a government lawyer doing his job,” she stated.