Liberia: Who Replaces Chief Justice Korkpor?

CJ retires on September 5

Speculation has started here about who will replace Liberia’s Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., ahead of his retirement from the Supreme Court bench this September.

There is no known official decision about who President George Manneh Weah might appoint to succeed Korkpor who is due to step down on 5 September 2022.

But the NewDawn newspaper has gathered as per the succession order Justice Jamesetta Wollokollie is currently the most senior Associate Justice on the Supreme Court Bench and she could be next in line for the top job at the Judiciary.

His exit will also create the room for the appointment of a new Associate Justice by President George Weah just months before the 2023 general and presidential elections.

This paper has learned that Justice Minister Cllr. Frank Musa Dean, and Cllr. Twan Wleh, Assistant Justice Minister for Codification are among the names making the rounds to fill the void that would be created on the Supreme Court Bench.

Other names are that of the Post and Telecommunications Minister Cllr. Cooper Kruah, and Deputy House Speaker Cllr. Fonati Koffa.

Chief Justice Korkpor was appointed by former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf following the resignation of his predecessor, the late Chief Justice Johnnie N. Lewis who resigned due to illness.

Justice Korkpor, who was then the most senior Associate Justice at the time got on the Supreme Court bench during the era of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL), headed by the late Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant.

Over the weekend, he reminded a gathering of his pending retirement during the induction of elected judicial reporters association officials at the Temple of Justice.

His retirement is in line with Article 72 (b) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.

The provision says the Chief Justice and Associates Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of the subordinate courts of record shall be retired at age 70.

Korkpor said during the ceremony held Friday, 10 June 2022 that he will be gone from the Supreme Court bench by September this year.

“It’s not a secret any longer like somebody said. I am going to leave by the 5th of September of this year,” said Chief Justice Korkpor.

“On September 5, this year, I shall have attained the age of 70. This means that at the next opening ceremony of this court on the second Monday in October this year, we may have a new Chief Justice or the Senior Associate Justice in keeping with the practices and procedure,” he added.

He used the occasion to caution people against bad mouthing the judicial branch of government.

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