“Judges Should Not Be Members of Masonic, UBF, Others” -Cllr. Gongloe

By: Yassah J. Wright

The Guest Speaker at Trial Judges Association’s 7th annual convention, Cllr Tiawan Gongloe, has told  judges not to be members of Masonic, UBF, and other fraternal organizations if they are to play the role of sustaining peace in Liberia.

Cllr. Gongloe warned judges to refrain from becoming members of any fraternity group in order to become neutral and impartial: to treat all parties before them equally.

The former Solicitor General said, such attitude by a judge could be influenced by the rules and sanctions of such fraternities. “Judges should avoid being chairpersons or members of boards of any organizations because they could make decisions favorable to those organizations and they should not be pastors or Imams as well,” he added.

The counselor informed magistrates and judges that “it is not every dispute in Liberia that is taken to court”. According to him, some disputes or cases are taken to community leaders, chiefs, religious leaders and civil society leaders. “But when disputes are taken to the courts of our country, the parties that appear in court expect to get nothing less than transparent justice, based on evidence and the law,” he maintained.

At the same time, Cllr. Gongloe warned judges against taking bribes if they must sustain peace.

Cllr. Gongloe said bribery is the most deadly and effective means by which public confidence in the integrity of any public servant is eroded.

“Bribery reduces a public servant such as a judge or magistrate to a mere commodity that can be purchased by the highest bidder,” he contended.

Cllr. Gongloe reminded judges that bribery is a second degree felony, irrespective of the amount received or the value of the thing received. He noted that the one who bribes a judge will never keep it secret.

He further noted that this kind of conduct of a judge erodes public confidence in the justice system and the way to avoid that is to improve on calendaring so that on the basis of first come first serve, without the request of a lawyer or a client, cases can be automatically assigned by clerks of courts, in order to reduce the frequency of party X contact with a judge.


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