–As Senate goes on annual break; confirms controversial Gurley Gibson as Liberia’s Ambassador to London
The First Session of the 54th Senate finally took its annual break yesterday, December 4, after being recalled for two extraordinary sessions, but failed to resolve the saga surrounding the missing billions of Liberian dollars and the impeachment trial of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh.
At a press briefing at his Capitol Building office, Senate Pro Tempore Albert Chie told the press that during their extraordinary session, the Senate took a three-pronged approach, which included the issue of the economy, the missing currency, and the issue of the US$25 million that was reportedly infused into the economy.
Pro Temp Chie, during inquiries, disclosed that the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) maintained that “as far as they are concerned, no money is missing, and we had a very short time to ascertain whether money is missing or not; the CBL said they have infused 90 percent of the money into the economy. With all these explanations, we needed to look at all the tons of documents, which we did not have the time to do, because the Senate decided that we suspend the hearing and wait for the report from the Presidential investigating team before further action from the Senate.”
On the question of assets declaration, Senator Chie said members have declared their assets through the secretary of the Senate, “and I did mine since June.”
He said on the issue of Justice Ja’neh’s trial, the Senate has already taken steps toward it.
“We have taken a look at our Rule 63 for impeachment, we will ensure that all elements of our rule conform to the principles of due process in line with the Constitution of Liberia,” said Chie.
Pro Tempore Chie said on those rules, “the Senate has summoned Justice Ja’neh so that he can have the opportunity to exonerate himself from the charges levied against him by the House of Representatives, which we believe is his constitutional right.”
He clarified that whatever matter is pending before the Supreme Court, there was no prohibition to stop the Senate’s actions and no date has been set to commence the trial.
Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday concurred with the House of Representatives on the concession agreement between the Government of Liberia and Fouta Corporation which is to build a cement plant at the Monrovia Industrial Park, and also pass an act naming the Bali Island and the Mahatma Gandhi Convention Center.
In a related development, the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, after few hours of confirmation proceedings, made recommendation to fast track the confirmation of Madam Gurley Teta Gibson, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Court of St. James, United Kingdom.
According to reports, Madam Gibson was earlier this year nominated by President George Weah as Ambassador to the United States, but was reportedly rejected by the American Government on grounds that she is an American citizen. It is not known whether the issue of her being an American citizen was raised during her quick confirmation hearing by the Senate.