–Says Judge Kaba
Ignoring the ongoing impeachment proceedings by the majority members of the Lower House against Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, Judge Yussif Kaba of the Civil Law Court ‘A’ at the Temple of Justice yesterday advised both the Executive and the Legislative branches of government not to interfere with the functions of the judiciary.
Judge Kaba made the statement when he delivered his charge at the opening of the Civil Law Courts, “A and B” reminding both houses that any interference would undermine and erode the public’s confidence in the judiciary that includes the Supreme Court.
The court, Kaba maintained, was the highest tribunal in the country for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of Liberia and, as the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged to ensure the Liberian people the promise of equal justice under law and thereby also functions as a guardian and an interpreter of the Constitution.
However, the civil law court judge reiterated that any attempt to interfere with its function would lead the country to chaos.
“Any interference by the other branches would make the public not to have confidence in the court’s system and the citizens may likely take the law into their own hands resulting to chaos and no government would want that to happen,” Judge Kaba emphasized.
It may 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, Representative Thomas P. Fallah of District #5, seconded by Rep. 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 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.
While members of the committee were still reviewing their task and terms of reference, Justice Yuoh issued a Writ of Prohibition, ordering them to stay all further proceedings in the matter.
But on Tuesday, August 14, the House voted to ‘throw out’ the Writ of Prohibition through a motion proffered by Montserrado County District #16 Representative Dixon W. Seboe, who is also a member of the Ad Hoc Committee to review and investigate the Bill of Impeachment as well as the write-up of the Impeachment Proceedings.