Members of the House of Representatives have ‘thrown out’ the Writ of Prohibition filed before Justice-in-Chambers, Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh, on the impeachment proceedings against Associate Justice Kabineh J’aneh
On Tuesday, August 14, in its 48th day sitting, 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.
This means the House has resolved to continue with impeachment proceedings against Associate Justice Kabineh J’aneh and will not attend the August 18 Prohibition Hearing before her Honor Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh, prayed for by Justice Ja’neh’s lawyer, Arthur Johnson.
The motion of reconsideration put forth by Nimba County District # 5 Representative Samuel Kogar was defeated. Rep. Kogar inplored his colleagues to accept the Writ of Prohibition and honor the August 18th Prohibition Hearing.
But one of the campaigners for the Bill of Impeachment against Associate Justice Kabineh J’aneh argued that the Writ of Prohibition from the Justice-in-Chamber is a gross insubordination to the Legislature, because the First Branch of Government has the constitutional right and authority to remove the Chief Justice and Associate Justices upon impeachment and conviction based on proven misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of their office, or conviction in a court of law for treason, bribery or other infamous crimes.”
The House of Representatives resumed working sessions yesterday, Tuesday, August 14, after a three-week break to observe the country’s 172nd Independence Day celebration, which marked the closure of its first Independence break on Thursday, July 19, giving them leave for 25 days.
Timing is Important?
With less than 16 days to the Annual Break of the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate on the 31st of August, and five working session days, many are wondering if the impeachment proceedings will be concluded and signed by at least 49 Representatives constituting 2/3 majority of the House of Representatives to be forwarded to the Liberian Senate for action.
It may be recalled that, last week, Justice-in-Chamber Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh issued a Writ of Prohibition on the impeachment proceedings against Associate Justice Kabineh J’aneh.
But two consulting lawyers in the offices of the Legal Section and Legal Drafting of the House of Representatives, names withheld, said over the weekend they briefed the lawmakers re-emphasizing that Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh’s decision last week to stay the impeachment process of her colleague Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, until the Supreme Court can fully review its merit is erroneous.
The lawyers said the action of Justice Yuoh has created an embarrassing situation because the matter has yet to proceed to the House of Senate for hearing.
The House’s lawyers further said the Justice-in-Chamber’s decision would affect Chief Justice Francis Korkpor and the entire Bench, were the House of Representatives to go ahead with Ja’neh’s impeachment proceedings.
The lawyers argued that the House of Representatives have the authority to suspend their rules and appoint an Ad Hoc Committee. Their position runs contrary to that of Justice Ja’neh’s lawyers who maintained that House Speaker Bhofal Chambers violated Section 57.3 of the Rules and Procedures of the House of Representatives by constituting a Special Ad Hoc Committee and immediately forwarding Ja’neh’s impeachment bill to the committee.
That section, Ja’neh’s lawyers argued, confers exclusive jurisdiction on the House Committee on the Judiciary to hear, among other things, all matters relating to judicial proceedings, civil and criminal.
Section 57.3 of the House’s Rules says: “COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY: To which shall be referred all proposed legislations, petitions, memorials and other matters relating to the work of the committee, as follows: a. The administration of justice in the Republic of Liberia; b. Judicial proceedings, civic, and criminal, generally; c. Constitutional amendment (s) and Constitutional matters; d. The Courts and judges of the Republic of Liberia; e. Repeal, amendments, revision and codification of status an d other legal matters; f. Prisoner, prison houses and prison reforms; g. Protection of trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies; I. Bankruptcy, mutiny, espionage and counterfeiting; j. Inter-and intra-country boundary disputes; k. Courts martial law and military law; l. Civic rights and code of ethics and conduct; and m. the Liberia National Police and private security.”
It may be recalled, the 8-man ad hoc Committee was appointed on Tuesday, July 17 to review and investigate the Bill of Impeachment as well as the write-up of the Impeachment Proceedings. They are expected to report this week, if by then the Ad Hoc Committee isn’t dissolved.
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 Representatives Dickson Seboe of District #16, in Montserrado County; Jeremiah Koung of District #1, Nimba County; Dr. Isaac Roland of District #3, Maryland County; Clarence Gahr of District #5, Margibi County; and Rustonlyn S. Dennis of District#4, Montserrado County.
The establishment of the Ad Hoc Committee followed a communication of the Bill of Impeachment from Representatives Thomas Fallah and Acarous Gray. On July 17, 2018, a petition signed by the acting chairman of the CDC in the House of Representatives for 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.
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.”