The Plenary of the House of Representatives has rubbished the Writ of Subpoena Ad-testificandum for House’s Chief Clerk Mildred Sayon to testify before Criminal Court “C” in the US$950,000 Sable Mining alleged bribery case or be held in contempt of disobedience to the court.
On Thursday, July 4, 2019, during the 44th day sitting, the House voted to reject the subpoena for the Chief Clerk to appear on Friday, July 5, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. In turn, the House mandated the Chief Clerk to write Criminal Court “C” to explain to the ‘House’ on the specific issues regarding the testimony and, if possible, what documents to produce.
The motion was proffered by Nimba County District #8 Representative Larry P. Younquoi and unanimously accepted by his colleagues.
“The subpoena is ambiguous and did not state the specifics of the testimony and the House Chief Clerk, who cannot testify if members of the House of Representatives she work for do not know what she is going to testify on,” Younquoi argued.
Montserrado County District #8 Representative Acarous Gray also said: “Mildred Sayon is the chief scribe of the House of Representatives, who cannot be subpoena to testify if the House is not inform what she is going to testify about.”
The Writ of Subpoena Ad-testificandum says, “You are hereby commanded to subpoena Mildred Sayon of the House of Representatives to appear before the first Judiciary Criminal Assizes “C” for Montserrado County in its May Term 2019, at the Circuit Court House, Temple of Justice Building on Friday, July 5, 2019 at the precise hour of 10:00 a.m., for the defendants in the ongoing trial mentioned supra.”
It also added, “You are further ordered to inform Sayon that upon her failure to appear before this court as mentioned herein above will with leave no other alternative, but have her held in contempt of disobedience to the order of this court contained herein.”
Madam Sayon is the current House Chief Clerk, and has been in employment since 2011, during the Speakership of then Rep. J. Alex Tyler.
Meanwhile, Senator Varney Sherman and 11 others were indicted in the Sable Mining bribery scandal for allegedly receiving money from the British Company (Sable) to bribe former government officials to change the Public Procurement Act of 2010 in favor of the company to acquire a mining concession for the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County.
They have been charged with economic sabotage, bribery, criminal conspiracy, facilitation, and solicitation. They have since denied the charges.
Those indicted with him are former House Speaker J. Alex Tyler, Bomi County Senator Morris Saytumah, former Mines and Energy Minister Eugene Shannon, and former Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, E.C.B. Jones.
Former PPCC boss Willie Belleh, businessman Christopher Onanuga, Andrew Groves, Klaus Piprek, Sable Mining Company, among others, are also among those indicted.
Office of the House Chief Clerk
The Chief Clerk and other support staff including the Deputy Chief Clerk and Sergeant-at-Arms, are elected by members of the House of Representatives for six years, but can be removed by two-thirds (at least 49) members of the House of Representatives.
The Chief Clerk is responsible to supervise all clerical businesses of the House of Representatives and ensure that the properties of the House are safeguarded.
She is the custodian of the bills, amendments, resolutions and other legislative documents that are in possession of the House and ensure that the Journals and Records of the House are properly kept, and that the Records are deposited with the Archives of the House immediately after the adjournment of the House.
She provides the House Drafting Service with copies of all bills and resolutions introduced in the House and make available all information required for its work and preside over the House during the elections of the speaker.
The Chief Clerk also carries out all directives addressed to her by the House through the presiding officer and prepare and distribute at the beginning of every session a list of reports required to be made to the House.
She is responsible to attest and affix the seal of the House to all writs, warrants, subpoenas and formal documents issued by the (plenary) of the House and she cannot permit a bill, amendment, resolution or other legislative document to be removed from the chief clerk’s custodian except in the course of regular business of the House and receive all communications, including but not limited to messages from the president and the Senate when the House is not in session.