4 Top Empty Seats at Justice Ministry

first_imgAs the nation witnesses the removal and reshuffling of several high profile government officials, some Liberians, particularly employees of the Justice Ministry, have expressed fear for their safety wondering when the Ministry’s new leadership will be announced,. Expressing their misgivings, they want to remind President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the four top empty seats in the Justice Ministry, the government department responsible for the enforcement of law and order and the administration of justice in the country.The four top vacant positions at the Ministry include the Minister, the Deputy Minister for Administration, the Deputy Minister for Qualification and the Assistant Minister for Correction.According to our investigation, the Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs, Cllr. Benedict Sarnor, is relatively acting in all the positions and running the Ministry in consultation with the Solicitor General, Cllr. Betty Lamin-Blamo.Some Liberians yesterday told the Daily Observer that the vacancies at the top echelons of the Ministry, if not filled soon, have the propensity to tilt the statutory mandate of that government department.   These concerned citizens are keenly aware that effectual leadership at the helm is required for the Justice Ministry to carry out its chief responsibilities to enforce the law, defend the interests of the country, ensure public safety against foreign and domestic threats and provide unitary leadership in preventing and controlling crime and punishing those guilty of unlawful behavior.Madam Musuly Morrison and Mr. Jenkins Nah said separately that the absence of the Attorney General and other key officials at the Justice Ministry would undercut the rule of law, jeopardize the maintenance of peace and security, sustainable development, and the protection of human rights.However, the spokesperson of the Concerned Workers of the Justice Ministry, who is known only as ‘Scarface’, indicated that the prolonged vacancies of the top seats at the Ministry would not only slow down the access to justice but also delay the process of fair play and justice in the country.It may be recalled that former Justice Minister Christian Tah resigned a month ago.  Earlier, Cllr. Whetonia Dixon-Barnes and Madam Victoria Leigh-Sherman were relieved of their posts as Deputy Ministers for Administration and Qualification, respectively, as well as Assistant Minister for Correction, Hilary Sackor.Justice Minister Tah, in her resignation letter, said she could not be the Minister of Justice and not supervise   the operations of the security agencies under her Ministry.The letter cited her lack of independence to investigate allegations of fraud against the National Security Agency, which is headed by Mr. Fumba Sirleaf, son of the President.Minister Tah also said it had become “unbearable” to continue as Minister amid “determination to systemically undermine and gut the portfolio of relevance and effectiveness.”In a brief statement issued later, the Executive Mansion said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had “received and accepted the resignation” of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General.  There is no hint of who the President might be considering to fill these top positions at the Ministry of Justice.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Fighter jet used on ‘JAG’ seized

first_img“I don’t know what was on it that was any value … there were no engines in it.” The jet added a realistic touch to footage shot at Van Nuys Airport, where it was housed. Its static mug was matched with computer-generated images of a plane in flight. The $5,000 paid for the castoff jet went to a Navy relief fund at Point Mugu, where the show often filmed before tighter restrictions after the Sept.11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the producer said. “JAG” was filmed at the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch in Bouquet Canyon, as well as at College of the Canyons, neighborhoods in Newhall and other spots around Santa Clarita. The plane was sold before the show ended its 10-year run in 2005. Agents seized the jet from a hangar at a Victorville airport. The three other planes were at museums in Chino. Agents from ICE, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are continuing to investigate how the jets were improperly transferred to private owners. judy.orourke@dailynews.com (661) 257-5255160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – Federal agents seized four decommissioned F-14 fighter jets this week, including one used as a prop in the popular TV series “JAG,” which filmed in Santa Clarita for a decade. The Navy retired the planes in the mid-1990s, and private owners were found. But investigators said the military failed to fully remove sensitive equipment, and on Tuesday immigration and customs enforcement agents seized the jets. “Now, their ultimate fate is in the hands of the courts,” said Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “Short-term, they’re being taken to Tucson (Ariz.), where any sensitive parts will be removed from the aircraft.” Investigators looking into the possible sale of aircraft parts to Iran discovered the decommissioned planes. Iran still flies F-14s, but it’s illegal for U.S. citizens to export or sell military parts to foreign nationals without the U.S. government’s permission. Government officials confiscated the jets after a multiagency investigation found that the Navy improperly transferred the aircraft because military rules require retired planes to be dismantled to protect any proprietary technology. In addition to security issues, safety issues became a concern because the jets’ ejector seats and canopies are operated by pyrotechnic devices. The unfolding saga could have been fodder for an episode of “JAG,” a drama about top-flight naval officers who investigate and represent military members accused of on-the-job crimes. The show’s F-14 was a shell, used mostly as a backdrop for the action, the show’s producer said. “We dragged it around a lot … as far as I knew, the plane was (demilitarized),” said Don Bellisario, whose Bellisarius Productions now films the show’s spin-off, “NCIS,” at Valencia Studios. last_img read more

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