Citing “abuse of discretion, granting a Writ of Prohibition” in the Road Fund Case
Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh of the Supreme Court has been found guilty by the Senate following impeachment by the House of Representatives on one of the four counts, involving the official misconduct and gross breach of duty of the Road Fund Case.
The petitioners believed that Justice Ja’neh has exercised an “abuse of discretion, granting a Writ of Prohibition” in the Road Fund Case, which denied the government of collecting levy/taxes in the total sum of US$27 million.
In the Road Fund Act, petroleum dealers in the country have been authorized to collect US$0.30 (thirty cents) imposed on the pump price of petroleum products and remit US$0.20 to government revenue, which have over the years summed to US$27m.
On Friday, March 29, in the Senate Chamber, 22 Senators voted guilty on the count of the Road Fund Case in the Associate Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment trial; 4 Senators voted not guilty .
On the count of the Constance Road Case, which also entailed an official misconduct and gross breach of duty, 18 Senators voted guilty; 8 Senators voted not guilty.
As for in the counts of Theft of Records of the House of Representatives and the Impeachment Prohibition, which are considered official misconduct, 14 Senators voted guilty; and 12 Senators voted not guilty.
In all the four counts, 3 Senators were absent or abstained.
The three Senators who were absent or abstained throughout the voting process were Sen. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence (Grand Bassa County); Sen. Dr. Henrique Tokpa (Bong County) and Sen. Edward Dagoseh (Grand Cape Mount).
The Daily Observer has further gathered that the four Senators who maintained their stance to vote not guilty in all four counts include Sen. Conmany B. Wesseh (River Gee County), Sen. Daniel F. Naatehn, Sr. (Gbarpolu County), Sen. Oscar A. Cooper (Margibi County) and Sen. Stephen J.H. Zargo (Lofa County).
The Summary of the Senate Decision on the Impeachment Trial of Associate Justice Ja’neh was signed by Senator Henry Yallah (Bong County), Secretary of the Senate in Trial and President Pro Tempore Albert Chie (Grand Kru County), Foreman of the Senate in Trial.
According to the Summary of the Senate Decision, “Guilty” means at least two-thirds of the current membership of the Senate voted to convict Justice Ja’neh on that charge, while “Not Guilty” means less than two-third of the current membership of the Senate voted for the conviction of Justice Ja’neh
The impeachment and removal of Justice Ja’neh is expected to be admitted into the Senate’s records. A formal notice of the Impeachment and Removal of Justice Ja’neh will also be admitted into the Supreme Court, to declare his seat vacant pending an appointment of a new Associate Justice.
Associate Justice Ja’neh was impeached and removed from office in accordance with Article 71 of the 1986 Constitution.
“The Chief Justice and Associates Justices of the Supreme Court and the judges of subordinate courts of record shall hold office during good behavior. They may be removed upon impeachment and conviction by the Legislature based on proved 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.”
Meanwhile, his lawyers prayed the Supreme Court not to admit the verdict into the Senate’s records. According to them, the procedure used to impeach Justice Ja’neh was contrary to the procedure prescribed by the Constitution.
Justice Ja’neh was impeached by the House of Representatives on August 28, 2018. His impeachment trial began on February 14, 2019 and officially adjourned March 29, 2019.