Will Speaker Chambers attend?
About three days since House Speaker Bhofal Chambers and members of the House of Representatives deliberately refused to submit to Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh’s August 18 stay order imposed on the impeachment proceeding of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, the Full Bench of the Supreme Court has now resolved to cite Speaker Chambers and his colleagues to appear before the Court by today, August 22, at 2:00 p.m.
A copy of the Supreme Court’s mandate addressed to Court Marshall, Brigadier General Amos B. Kesseh, and which is in the possession of the Daily Observer reads: “You are hereby commanded to notify the parties in the Petition for Writ of Prohibition or their legal representatives that the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the said case on August 22 at 2:00 p.m.”
But this latest decision, according to legal analysts, is another faux pas by the Supreme Court and intended to shield their colleague from probity. They told this newspaper that the Justices’ decision to cite the lawmakers was merely a futile show of strength intended to regain its image, considerably weakened by Justice Yuoh’s action.
”If the lawmakers decide not to attend the hearing it would amount to a constitutional crisis,” legal analysts suggested, adding:” Let us wait to see what would happen today.”
The question remains whether the Representatives would change their minds and attend today’s hearing, which is intended to find an amicable resolution to the Ja’neh impeachment saga.
Legal analysts maintain that despite insistence by members of the House of Representatives to pursue Ja’neh’s impeachment, such could only happen should one-third of the House membership in plenary session vote to adopt the Ad Hoc Committee’s findings.
It can be recalled that confrontation between some members of the House of Representatives and Justices of the Supreme Court started in July this year, when a petition, signed by the acting chairman of the ruling CDC in Montserrado County Representatives Thomas P. Fallah of District #5 and Acarous Gray of District #8, a staunch member of the CDC, called for Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment.
In a communication addressed to Speaker Chambers, the two CDC lawmakers argued that Justice Ja’neh should be impeached, ousted and removed from the Supreme Court of Liberia on grounds of “proven misconduct, abuse of public office, wanton abuse of judicial discretion, fraud, misuse of power and corruption.”
Shortly afterwards, on Tuesday, July 17, a Bill of Impeachment Petition, together with a motion, was submitted by Grand Kru County District #1 Representative Nathaniel Barway and that submission received a favorable vote in the House of Representatives. In an apparent attempt to fast track his colleagues’ submission, Speaker Chambers then set up an 8-man Ad-Hoc Committee to review and investigate the Impeachment Bill as well as to write-up the process the proceedings were to take. That committee was given three weeks, as of July 17, to begin work and report to Plenary.
The committee is chaired by Gbarpolu County District# 2 Representative Karnie Wesso and co-chaired by Bong County District #5 Representative Edward Karfiah.
Others are Representative Dickson Seboe of District #16, in Montserrado County; Representative Jeremiah Koung of District #1, Nimba County; Representative Dr. Isaac Roland of District #3, Maryland County; Representative Clarence Gahr of District #5, Margibi County; and Representative Rustonlyn S. Dennis of District#4, Montserrado County.
While members of the committee were still reviewing their task and terms of reference, Justice Yuoh commanded to be issued a Writ of Prohibition ordering them to stay all further proceedings in the matter.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has completely ignored Justice Yuoh’s Prohibition order and continued on course with Ja’neh’s impeachment proceedings. But whether they would again ignore the Supreme Court’s invitation remains the unanswered question? But legal analysts suggest that the Speaker is more likely than not to ignore the Supreme Court’s latest move.