The delay by justices of the Supreme Court to decide whether they should grant or reject a prohibition request asked for by suspended Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh is not going on well with Ja’neh’s lawyers.
The judgment is very much important because, whichever way it goes, will determine whether the Chief Justice should preside or not over Ja’neh’s impeachment trial at the Senate.
Ja’neh’s legal team in August this year requested justices to prevent majority members of the House of Representatives from proceeding with his impeachment, of which the justices had heard and could not find a tie. The request was first heard in October 2018 by four of the five justices that excluded Ja’neh, which judgment ended in a 2 to 2 tie causing them not to get a quorum to decide on the matter.
It was based on that decision that Chief Justice Francis Korkpor wrote President George Weah to appoint an ad hoc justice to fill in the vacancy to decide the tie vote, which the president did by appointing Judge Boima Kontoe.
Judge Kontoe’s appointment caused the justices to start the case afresh, to enable Kontoe to familiarize himself with the matter.
That new argument was heard on Friday, November 9, 2018, but exactly a week later there has been no sign as to when the justices would rule in the matter.
When the Daily Observer on Friday, November 16, asked Cllr. Arthur Johnson, one of Ja’neh’s lawyers, what was responsible for the delay of the judgment, he replied, “I don’t know what they are doing with it because it has been a long time since we argued the case and the justices reserved their judgment, but up to the present we don’t know why the delay.”
He added: “We were only told that they were going to call us for the judgment, but it has not happened up to now. I am frustrated over the way they are delaying with the ruling.”
He did not say what would be their next action, though the Supreme Court is the final decision maker of justice in the country.
The case grew when the Supreme Court of Liberia through its Justice in Chamber Sie-A-Nyene G. Youh instructed members of the House of Representatives to stop all further actions of impeachment proceedings against Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh pending the outcome of a hearing.
Associate Justice Youh further ordered both parties to return to the status quo ante, pending the disposition of the petition. The writ of prohibition grew out of a petition for the impeachment of Justice Kabineh Ja’neh for his alleged proved of “misconduct, abuse of public office, wanton abuse of judicial discretion, fraud, misuse of power.”
Justice Youh’s order came on the heels of a petition for a writ of prohibition filed with the court by Cllr. Arthur Johnson on behalf of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh (petitioner) against the action of some members of the House of Representatives of the 54th National Legislature led by Speaker Bhofal chambers (respondents).
The stay order is also in reference to a petition for the impeachment of Justice Ja’neh by two of CDC’s lawmakers (Acarous Gray and Thomas Fallah) on allegations of misconduct, abuse of public office, wanton abuse of judicial discretion, fraud, misuse of power and corruption, among many others.
In the order, Justice Youh commanded the House of Representatives of the 54th National Legislature through its Speaker Bhofal Chambers to appear before the Associate Justice presiding in the Supreme Court on August 18, 2018, at the hour of 9:00 am, to show cause why the petitioner’s petition as prayed for should not be granted.
It may be recalled that on July 17, 2018, Representatives Thomas Fallah of District #5 and Acarous Gray of District #8 (Montserrado County) submitted a petition to the House of Representatives through Bhofal Chambers, Speaker of the House of Representatives, for the impeachment of the petitioner (Kabineh M. Ja’neh) Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
The petition’s allegations included “proved misconduct, abuse of public office, wanton abuse of judicial discretion, fraud, misuse of power and corruption” as the basis for the impeachment of the petitioner.
Upon receipt of the impeachment petition, the Speaker forwarded it to the Special Ad Hoc Committee which he constituted to review the petition and submit a report to the plenary within three (3) weeks.