Liberia: Jail or Pardon?

.... FDA Boss Faces House's Contempt Charges Today

The Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), C. Mike Doryen is expected today to face the wrath of members of the House of Representatives on “Contempt Charges” for refusing to appear before Plenary to answer questions on the management of the Country’s forest sector.

The non-appearance of the FDA Boss on March 1, according to Plenary — the highest making decision body — obstructed the working of the House of Representatives. The Contempt of the House of Representatives is the act of obstructing the work of the House's Plenary or of its committees.

In today’s session, if the FDA boss fails to absolve (clear) himself of the claim that his behavior on last Tuesday exhibited simple disregard of a House's summon, he will either be sent to jail or fined, or be made to apologize publicly in daily newspapers.

The Legislature, as of 2006, became notorious for sending agents of the Executive branch to jail. Those sent to jail by either House included Morris Saytumah, then Minister without Portfolio and then Deputy Finance Minister, Francis Karpeh; Mr. Darius Dillion, then assistant to Senator Jewel Taylor;  Montserrado County Superintendent Grace T. Kpaan; Sinoe County Superintendent Milton Teahjay; Deputy Information Minister for Press and Public Affairs, Eugene Fahngon and most recently, Mr. and Mrs. Kamara, who collared a lawmaker for having hit her car in traffic without stopping.

It may be recalled, last week Tuesday, during the 15th day sitting of the House of Representatives, Mr. Doryen was held in contempt for deliberately refusing to appear before the august body to discuss and provide information on the management of the country’s forest sector.  Doryen was expected to appear along with the Leadership of the Community Forest Development Committee.

A motion from Rep. Ivar Jones of Electoral District 2 Margibi County, was seconded that the FDA Boss should appear along with his legal counsel on Tuesday, 8th March 2022.

The House's decision was prompted by a complaint from River Gee County District #3 Representative, Francis Dopoh, who requested the House to invite the FDA Managing Directors, the Land Rights Authorities, and the leadership of the Community Forest Development Committees (CFDCs) to answer questions of our forests in Liberia.

“The Forests, which are owned by our people, are becoming a curse to them,” Rep. Dopoe said. “They are not getting the required benefits and or support as intended in the formation of the Forest Benefit Fund. Most of the Forest Communities have not been assigned Community Forest status, least to mention obtaining benefits from the conversion program.” 

The River Gee lawmaker added: “Today, as we speak, though River Gee County is blessed with many forests and other bountiful resources, River Gee has its people living in poverty and are heavily relying on the scarce resources of the Government. This presents a picture that our forest is becoming a curse rather than a blessing to our people.”