The Senate yesterday received an Act calling for the repeal in its entirety of “The Act of the Legislature prescribing a National Code of Conduct for all pubic officials and employees of the Government (2014).”
Maryland County Senator H. Dan Morais, in his three-page communication read before Senate plenary yesterday, argued that his action is in line with the cardinal purpose of the Code of Conduct as prescribed in its preamble, which “has now been reversed by the ruling of the Supreme Court.”
The Code of Conduct was approved March 31, 2014, and printed and published on June 20 of the same year, became enforceable law, and was used in the special senatorial election in 2014.
“The purpose of the Code of Conduct becomes unattainable when ruling from the High Court, renders laws made by the legislature only enforceable when it is validated by its constitutionality,” Senator Morais said.
Outlining further reasons for his proposed Act, Morais said when a law that was in force since 2014 is now opinionated by the Supreme Court in the form of a ruling in the case of “Karnwea versus National Election Commission, the Legislative response to this Judicial Review cannot be less than the entire repeal of the Code.”
Sen. Morais is the Senate chairman on the Committee of Foreign Affairs. He wondered where the impartiality, objectivity, transparency, integrity, efficiency and effectiveness lies when “people who have wantonly and fragrantly violated the Code of Conduct, which became an eligibility criteria almost three years ago and a subject of a judicial review in 2017, can celebrate.”
“Where is the justice and fairness in a level playing field to a free, credible, transparent and democratic election,” the Maryland County lawmaker wondered, noting, “when the violation of an eligibility criterion of an election is now a subject anything than a disbarment or disqualification?”
Sen. Morais reminded his colleagues that “as gatekeepers of the people we must ensure fairness that Abu Kamara, the assistant minister, who the NEC denied from contesting cannot and must not be the only Liberian whose disbarment or disqualification is applicable to. Justice is not blind when it sees only Kamara and sees no other violator.”
But in a brief debate following the reading of the communication, Senator Varney Sherman, chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Claims and Petitions, said instead of repealing the entire Code of Conduct, the author of the Act must be requested to do another letter requesting an amendment of the code that is found conflicting, adding: “we cannot repeal the entire code when there is no code to replace it.”
Sen. Sherman was returning to the Capitol Building for the first time since he fainted a few months ago minutes before the commencement of a program to endorse the presidential bid of the President of the Senate and Vice President of Liberia, Joseph Boakai, by 19 Senators.
Other Senators agreed that the Supreme Court was not clothed with the authority to make law, and cited that its recent decision constitutes law-making.
The letter was later unanimously voted on and sent to the Judiciary Committee to report next Tuesday and advise the Senate plenary.