From all indications House Speaker J. Alex Tyler’s involvement in the US$25,000 controversy under investigation by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) is causing him (Tyler) bad press, serious embarrassment and most importantly, his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Since LACC announced the launch of an investigation into a US$25,000 scandal linking Speaker Tyler and Representative Adolf Lawrence, the Capitol Building has been very uneasy for Speaker Tyler particularly upon hearing news of a plot to remove him.
Both lawmakers are under probe for their alleged role in a consultancy contract awarded to a Liberia consultant, Michael Allison, which according to Rep. Lawrence was pre-financed with US$12,500 by Speaker Tyler with the expectation of being reimbursed when the contract was fully completed.
Representative Lawrence admitted to the Speaker’s involvement in the transaction noting that his (Lawrence) role was to take delivery of the US$12,500 intended for the Speaker.
Based on these claims and counter claims, over 48 members of the House of Representatives are resolved to dismiss their first amongst equals.
According to sources at the Capitol Building, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday meetings at Bell Dunbar Farm and RLJ Kendeja Resort, Montserrado County, respectively have all been directed to the Speaker’s removal.
“The Speaker of the House cannot be presiding while undergoing investigation by a graft commission. We’re demanding that he recluse himself from the presiding role and submit to either an internal investigation or openly submit to LACC.
“The House is as well interested in probing Speaker Tyler for several reasons.
“The issue of the US$12,500 is one part of the story and we’re demanding other information such as the full amount released by the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) for the entire Nationwide Oil and Gas Consultation.
“US$1.2 million was released by NOCAL to the Legislature for the consultation. US$200,000 was disbursed to the 30 senators while US$1M was intended for the 73 members of the House. Interestingly, Speaker Tyler was able to convince us that the only money received was US$900,000 thereby pocketing the rest.
“Regrettably, the entire money used for the consultation was disbursed before the start of the consultation so I don’t understand when Rep. Lawrence says the Speaker acted based on expediency. Money was not in short supply so how could the Speaker dig in his own pocket to fund government’s project,” our sources asserted.
Another reason lawmakers are citing for his removal include an act of “double standard,” the ruling Unity partisans accused him (Tyler) of, against the party of which he is executive member.
According to some UP Legislative Caucus members, Speaker Tyler has been successful in recruiting several of his colleagues to his new political establishment while at the same time collecting compulsory US$200 from their salary monthly as dues to his party while holding allegiance to the ruling party.
By his actions, a stalwart of UP in the House disclosed; “Many UP lawmakers are supporting the removal action and consider his action as a betrayal to the party.”
However, our sources disclosed that Speaker Tyler has admitted to these allegations and has requested for forgiveness.
During Sunday’s meeting at RLJ, our sources explained: “Speaker Tyler admitted to pocketing the US$100,000 from NOCAL and agreed that he used his position to collect money from colleagues as dues for his new political establishment.”
“He attempted using existing rivalry between him and Representative Emmanuel Nequay to evade the issue but we told him that was not the forum for that.
“We demand a probe into the report that he (Tyler) gave US$15,000 to Amb. George Weah to ensure that one of the ringleaders behind his removal, Rep. Acarous Gray is sent out of Liberia until the political tension can reduce,” our source declared.
When contacted, Speaker Tyler, via mobile phone, refuted the report, stating: “There are no plans to remove me.”
He confirmed the meetings involving fellow lawmakers, but denied the assertion that his removal was ever discussed.
“The meetings were held to discuss our private matters. I don’t know about any money from NOCAL because I was not directly involved. You know who was in charge of the nationwide consultation,” Speaker Tyler declared.