House Orders Police to Arrest Philipbert Browne

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Journalists Phibert Browne goes into hiding?

-For his non-appearance and reaction to contempt charges

Members of the House of Representatives unanimously voted yesterday to command officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) through the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to arrest and enforce the appearance of journalist Philipbert Browne, publisher of the Hot Pepper newspaper, before the full Plenary on Friday, November 30, 2018, at 10 a.m.

The Lower House made the decision during the 14th Day Sitting following the third absence of Mr. Browne. House Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers said Mr. Browne’s action is deliberately callous, violates the constitution and remains contemptuous.

Sinoe County District #3 Representative Matthew Zarzar proffered the motion.

It can be recalled that Mr. Browne was invited to appear on Thursday, November 22, following a communication from Nimba County District #5 Representative Samuel Kogar, inviting the publisher to provide evidence on the involvement of lawmakers in aiding and abetting the printing of L$5 billion and additional L$10.5 billion.

Rep. Kogar recalled on Wednesday, November 14, during an evening phone-in show on OK FM radio, known as the “Afternoon Conversation,” while in studio, Mr. Browne revealed that more than 15 lawmakers of the 53rd Legislature, 12 of whom are members of the 54th Legislature, received bribes from the Central Bank Liberia (CBL) through an inappropriate communication to print additional L$10.5 billion banknotes.

Mr. Browne alleged that some of the lawmakers distributed the “inducement money” at the T-Five Academy, located  in Neezoe Community, Paynesville, and also at the CBL’s parking lot in Monrovia. T-Five Academy is owned by Montserrado County District #5 Representative Thomas Fallah.

In reaction, Mr. Browne, citing poor health, wrote Plenary that his invitation be rescheduled.

The House Plenary on Friday, November 23, voted to invite Mr. Browne to appear on Monday, November 26, 2018.

The failure of Mr. Browne to appear before the House of Representatives on Tuesday, November 27, as scheduled,in order to help in the investigation of the newly printed L$10.5 billion, prompted lawmakers to place him under contempt.

Mr. Browne’s conspicuous absence on Tuesday prompted members of the House of Representatives to vote and mandate the Executive Branch, specifically the Ministry of Justice, through the LNP, to arrest and bring the living body of Mr. Browne to respond to his contempt charge.

Meanwhile, the House has also voted to conclude the investigation of the alleged authorization of the L$10.5 billion involving former governors of the CBL and to forward findings to the Executive Branch of government in order to help with prosecution of those involved.

Those who were involved in the investigations included former Executive Governor Milton Weeks, former members of the Board of Governors Kolli S. Tamba and Melisa Emeh, as well as a sitting member of the Board of Governor Elsie Dossen Badio. Others were Deputy Governor Charles Sirleaf and the Director of the CBL and Deputy Director for Internal Audit Adolphus Forkpa and Joseph Dennis, respectively.

However, the motion, which was proffered by Rep. Zarzar, has been held following a motion of reconsideration from Grand Bassa County lawmaker Vincent Willie.

14 COMMENTS

  1. If Hotpepper newspaper’s story was as specific as stated about who allegedly took bribe, from whom, when, and where shared, it is but fair that the editor should appear before legislators; and one fails to see any evidence of abuse of “power” in compelling appearance were feet-dragging on his part suspected. After all, this approach is best practice, not that authoritarian pivot of the previous administration which ordered LNP’s military-weaponized officers of the Emergency Respond Unit (ERU) to storm, damage, and close the “Chronicle” newspaper’s offices for simply accurate reporting. Let’s stop the double standards vis-a-vis attitudes to this administration and its predecessor. Truth is a defense to libel, not continuously reckless rabble-rousing under the guise of freedom of the press.

  2. Yeah, right, they should’ve sent heavily-armed ERU officers to raid his newspaper… Ours is a puzzling country; some people want others – press, protesters, students, or whomsoever – to continuously taunt political leaderships they dislike. It’s as if they plan to get this government engaged in fortnightly risk-management of one crisis to another in order to not deliver on major pro-poor projections. EJS and Co, assisted by a politically-motivated adversarial press, succeeded with the same agent provocateur-obstructionist tactics between late 1982 and 1984: Deja vu.

    In any case, since as Santayana said “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, some of us are going to keep on looking at the rearview mirror and reminding our people. They say once bitten twice shy, but it would seem the bravura of boastful bookish malcontents is mesmerizing others while emboldening them. Remember, folks, the tale of the pied piper of Hamelin town.

  3. Sooner or later the House of Representatives will be constructing a holding cell for Liberians they want arrested. The time is coming.

  4. You better do not come back. You are a diabetic. You will die in jail from diabetes.No insulin in that jail to treat or lower your blood sugar. Your presence in that jail will increase your blood sugar.

  5. Elijah Taylor, tell me how come you know that mr. Brown is going to jail? You must be living under a stone to think that people put are in jail befor they are judge.mr P. Brown is gonna appear befor the lower house to give clearity of a news story published in his news paper, the Hotpepper.well, mr. Taylor, just so you know mr Brown will be back by God’s will and he is surely gonna put plenty people butt outside.

  6. Elijah Taylor, tell me how come you know that mr. Brown is going to jail? You must be living under a stone to think that people are put in jail befor they are judge.mr P. Brown is gonna appear befor the lower house to give clearity of a news story published in his news paper, the Hotpepper.well, mr. Taylor, just so you know mr Brown will be back by God’s will and he is surely gonna put plenty people butt outside.

  7. That is all the House of Legislature does!! If you check this year alone how many times they have cited individuals to appear before them and sent those individuals to jail, you would be astounded. WE need to call them the House of Citations and Jail Enforcement. To be making all that money and doing nothing for the Liberian people, it is pathetic. As soon as you ridicule/criticize them, they are ready to cite you. But of course they Supreme Court or any other court of that matter can cite any of their members.
    BUNCH OF IGNORANT SYCHOPHANTS!!

  8. The legislature has the power to summon for interrogation or questioning but does not possess the Executive function of arrest levied on the executing aspect of the laws given by the Liberian people. If a member or lawmakers feel these journal allegations made are not justifiable or are untrue, they may seek justice through appropriate court proceedings just as much as any ordinary people may. In other words, voting in the law making branch to arrest instead summon or for questioning creates a constitutional crisis because it is only the Judiciary that can interpret the law to be handed over to the Executive branch which has the final arresting powers. The arresting officer is directly subjected to execution of the law under Executive orders not any persons but stipulations wherewith under court interpretation with Presidential understanding and pardon if applicable under the constitution. The Liberian Government should stay within branch functions to avoid law making crisis or law braking. Liberian law makers should no longer be known as law makers who break the law. Tell the people.
    With the silent majority too.

  9. I don’t remember anytime In Liberia recent history when legislators were above the laws of Liberia. Today’s legislators can commit rape, jail citizens without due process, demolish homes of poor people on grounds of constructing roads without being questioned by Justice Ministry. Shouldn’t the Pro Poor Government be protecting the interest of the underprivileged? Dortu Sieboe-Doe where are you ?

  10. Why is it they are summoning all of these people but have yet to summon Mulbah Morlu?! Didn’t he state that he knew who took the money, how AND where?! Are members of the House trying to say that their reputations are more important than finding out who stole the people’s money?

  11. Wow!!So Pathetic to see Liberia going down the drain while majority of the people and Citizens continue to suffer and seeing no hope and aspirations for they and their children future in mama Liberia now a day.After decades of practicing the same unresponsility of embezzlement and mortgaging the future of our”s children and great grandchildren future.That which is so sad and forstriting after all we been been as a people and nation all those decades.I hope and pray for mama Liberia to help hold this small country not to continue falling in such drainage of corruption and deceit but a positive dream a and aspirations to will open the opportunity and mindset of our people in lifting mama Liberia up for prosperity and justice tou’s People and state,Ameena!God bless mama Liberia!!Ayo from Bucks County Pennsylvania -Pa(United State of America’s)U.S.A

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