BIVAC Managing Director Laurent Koenig Risks Imprisonment or Fine

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The House of Representatives summoned BIVAC to respond to issues relating to their operations in Liberia and the 9.67% increment of cargo goods levied by APM Terminals, but the company has failed on two occasions to appear.

Members of the House of Representatives are expected for the first time today (Tuesday), to grill and unleash their anger, either by ordering the Imprisonment or imposing fines on the head of a privately owned international company, BIVAC, having failed to honor two separate invites from the House.

Section 4.1 of the House’s Rule and Procedures says: “Contempt of the Legislature shall consist of actions which obstruct the Legislative function or which obstruct or impede members or officers of the Legislature in the discharge of their Legislative duties,” and is punishable by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars (US$5,000.00) and/or imprisonment in a common jail for not more than one month or the duration of the current session of the House; after a hearing consistent with due process of law. Decisions rendered from contempt charges are not appealable.”

Last Thursday, the majority of the lawmakers following their stunned expressions and postures, voted to summon under a contempt citation, the Managing Director of BIVAC, Mr. Laurent Koenig for his refusal to comply, which according to the leadership of the House is obstructing their work.

The Belgian company, BIVAC, is the short form of Bureau Varitas Company Group and among other things, is responsible for pre-shipment inspection services for sea import.

The House of Representatives summoned BIVAC to respond to issues relating to their operations in Liberia and the 9.67% increment of cargo goods levied by APM Terminals, but it has failed on two occasions to appear before the House’s Plenary on Tuesday and Thursday, January 26 and 28 respectively.

Through a unanimous vote, the House’s Plenary summoned the defiant BIVAC under contemp to appear before the full Plenary of the House of Representatives tomorrow Tuesday, February 2, 2021. The management is being advised to come with a lawyer.

The communication was delivered by Sergeant-at-arms Martin Johnson.

A lawmaker who asked for anonymity told the Daily Observer that BIVAC is under a compelling obligation to appear to provide testimony or produce requested documents.

The lawmaker said the refusal of BIVAC to appear before the House’s Plenary twice is a “Deliberate disrespect,” and the manager will be penalized for the gross insurbodination to the august body, which is tantamount to imprisonment or fine.

Meanwhile, another lawmaker who also begged for anonymity said in the inherent contempt power, if BIVAC fails to appear before the House’s Plenary today again, a vote will be taken to instruct the Minister of Justice to work along with Sergeant-at-arms Martin Johnson to arrest Mr. Laurent Koenig (or any top manager).

2 COMMENTS

  1. “…after a hearing consistent with due process of law.” This portion of the contempt prerogative of the house, does not give them carteblanche authority to just grab anyone in contempt of the house and throw them in jail. Due process as a constitutional guarantee must be exhausted.

    From what I’ve seen of the so-called House in session, it is a complete waste of time to appear before that body or any of its organ for any serious matter. The House sessions often lack decorum, with each representative or small groups of them engaged in sidebars while the other members are screaming over each other to display their expertise in parliamentary procedure.

    In a previous session with these BIVAC people, the BIVAC representative was standing at the lectern for over 30 minutes, while our so-called representatives ignorantly sortted out what procedure to use in the matter by profferring and modifying one motion after the other. Very childishly. They cited the company executives before realizing the citation should have spelt out what information was needed or expected at the hearing. Obviously people very low on intelligence. And this is no insinuation but rather demonstrated acumen or lack thereof.

    One member was even seen eating banana, yes! eating banana in session, in the chamber of the house!! How uncivilized could that be? And they have the audacity to charge someone with contempt for not willing to waste their time to appear before them?

    You can also tell from the shallow interjections by members in an ongoing discussion, that our representatives are often ill-informed and therefore ill-prepared to delve into the nitty-gritty of matters before them. They therefore base their questioning solely on the presentations of their guests, rather than going into those sessions having well researched the topics or object of interest. Reason why they are in fact provided allotments in their budgets to hire research staffs for those very purposes.

    Bunch of functionally-literate drags og our national coffer, who can’t even justify the fat-cat compensations they get for occupying those coveted offices. But how long is one term?

  2. Go slow eeeeeeeh, my people!

    Our lawmakers should stop being hysterical and work within their prerogatives. I think they have gone beyond bounds.
    Why should our representatives be at loggerheads with a private company? Is the LRA not empowered to do this job?

    My people, it took a lot of negotiations to bring a company like BIVAC to Liberia. The company has invested substantial sums in Liberia. Stop the vain political harassment!

    Where were you when you were taking brown envelops to sign those deals?
    Did you carefully read the deals before affixing your signatures?
    Or were you just interested in the brown envelops?
    Stop this thing, lest the GOL pay huge costs.

    The best thing to do is to negotiate with BIVAC and stop the flexing of muscles. It will not augur well for Liberia.

    Leave the LRA to do its job, my people!

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