Senator Teahjay Seeks Justice Nagbe’s Impeachment for Alleged Political Campaigning

12
2264
Flashback: In August 2018, President George M. Weah (right) commissioned Cllr. Joseph Nagbe as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia. Senator Teahjay said he "warned President Weah about Nagbe."

Allegations by Sinoe County Senator Jojlu Milton Teahjay that Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe campaigned for Cllr. Augustine Chea of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), winner of November 20, 2018, Senatorial By-election in Sinoe County, are indeed serious, according to observers, and could provide grounds for impeachment if Senator Teahjay can prove beyond reasonable doubt, that Justice Nagbe did engage in active politics, which is prohibited both by law and by Judicial Canons.

However, questions abound whether Senator Teahjay can establish the veracity of his claims and, if he does, whether Chief Justice Korkpor will muster the courage to preside over impeachment proceedings of a colleague, not being intimidated by the fact that Nagbe is said to bear close ties to President Weah dating from their boyhood days in Sasstown, Grnad Kru, County. The other question is whether, amidst all this rigmarole and the political pressures to which observers say it is being subjected, can the Supreme Court Bench emerge from this imbroglio with its credibility intact.

Judicial Canon 39 under the caption Penalty for Violation states that “The penalty for violation of any provision of the Judicial Canon shall be a fine, suspension, impeachment and/or prosecution in a court of law according to the gravity of the violation.”

Also, Cannon 37 under the caption “Partisan Politics”, states that, “While a judge is entitled to entertain his personal view of political questions, and while it is not required to surrender his rights or opinion as a citizen, it is inevitable that suspicion of being warped by political bias will attach to a judge who becomes an active member of a political party and a promoter of its interest as against another especially those of our judges of the highest courts who by constitutional command, are empowered to review and determine electoral issues under the multi-party system introduced by the 1986 Constitution.”

It continues: “A judge should not appear at political meetings and indicate support of candidates for political office (nor should he permit his wife or her husband to give political teas.).

Recently, Senator Teahjay, speaking as Chief Fund Raiser and Installer of elected officials of the Juarzon United Citizens Association (JUCA), alleged that he saw Justice Nagbe campaigning for CDC ‘s senatorial candidate, Chea. Senator Teahjay, however, did not provide proof of his allegations against Justice Nagbe. Further, it remains unclear if Justice Nagbe did engage in political campaigning prior to or after his nomination to the Supreme Court Bench.

But Senator Teahjay, who appeared irate, declared: “How can a judge who was seen campaigning for a political candidate preside over electoral matters at the Supreme Court level? But let it be known, we will end it up at ECOWAS Court in Abuja, Nigeria.”

Teahjay’s assertion came in the wake of announcements by defeated candidate Othello Nagbe, challenging the results of the elections which he said was marred by fraud and irregularities although the NEC had yet to establish the facts.

Othello Nagbe’s challenge to the election’s result was subsequently announced by the chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Cllr. Jerome Korkoya.

He said the decision of the NEC Board of Commissioners (BOC) to declare Augustine S. Chea winner, who obtained the highest votes of 5,839 out of the total of 16,598 votes cast, was based on the results in keeping with Section 2.9 (g) of the New Elections Law of Liberia but declared however, that winner Chea will only be certificated after the disposition of the complaint filed by the CLP which is currently under investigation.

According to the Chairman Korkoya, the Coalition for Liberia Progress (CLP) filed a 13-count complaint of electoral fraud and irregularities.

12 COMMENTS

  1. After all the challenges and counter-challenges submitted and filed at the Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia, why is the National Elections Commission of Liberia (NEC) today still permitted to receive, hear and determine disputes that grow out of Elections matters in Liberia? Why have civil socirty organizations operating in Liberia, not yet come together to write and submit a bill to amend the New Elections Laws of Liberia to divorce this power from the hands of NEC? Why has a bill to exclusively establish a National Elections Court in Liberia, not written and enacted into law and signed by the President of Liberia? Liberia, speedily needs to reform so many of its outdated laws to meet modern day reality accountability and credibility.

  2. The facts will be presented in due course. The election of Cllr. Chea is not respected and will therefore make no impact in the lives of the real majority of the Sinoe people. Our people believe in democratic transition of power and not imposition.

  3. Open Letter to the Press Union of Liberia (PUL)
    By Henry D. Johnson
    The Press Union of Liberia is an institution Founded in Monrovia on September 30, 1964. The Press Union of Liberia is the umbrella organization serving Liberian media professionals and institutions. With a membership base of more than 500 journalists, the PUL has oversight responsibility for addressing problems arising from journalists’ reportage and conduct in the face of the ever growing demand for quality news and broadcasting.
    I am particularly concerned about statements coming from the PUL, Reporters Without Borders and ALJA, who controlled journalists in Liberia and the United States of America. The PUL is expressing concern over statements made by some government officials against some journalists within the PUL and becoming so emotional about the statements and not looking into what is provoking the statement. As a watch dog for the society, it is incumbent upon all members of the PUL to report nothing less than the truth. The PUL as an institution is not doing justice to those government officials that are being accused by news outlets of corruption without taking into consideration the damaging effect the publication would have on those officials. Let’s proceed with what is unfolding.
    Prior to President Weah ascendency, the news headlines both print and electronic have either been accusation and counter accusation against officials of government; whether the information is true or not, it remains another question to answer.
    The CODE OF ETHICS AND CONDUCT of the PUL says in the following articles:
    ARTICLE 1
    The journalists shall defend freedom of speech, expression and information.
    ARTICLE 2
    The journalists should make sure of what he/she reports without distortions.
    ARTICLE 3
    The journalist should refrain from plagiarism, defamation, obscenity, slander and unformed accusations. Where there is need to use other materials, it is proper to credit the source.
    ARTICLE 4
    The journalist’s freedom of opinion shall be exercised in respect of the right of the public to information. In all instances, the accuracy of the facts reported or commented on, shall not be misrepresented through the journalists personal opinions.
    ARTICLE 5
    The journalist should respect the private lives of persons when they have no consequence on public life. Journalists should ensure the respect of the rights or reputations of others. Enquiries and intrusions into an individual’s life can only be justified when done in the public interest.
    ARTICLE 6
    Malicious information liable to discredit a person or expose him/her to scorn or hate should not be published /broadcast.
    ARTICLE 11
    The journalist should not engage in negative journalism, misleading headlines and fabrications. The journalist should refrain from publications of sensational headlines. Newspaper headlines should be fully warranted by the contents of the articles accompany. The Photographs should give an accurate picture of an event and not highlight an incident out of context.
    ARTICLE 19
    The journalist should make adequate enquiries and cross-check facts before publication/broadcast.
    ARTICLE 20
    The journalist should be mindful of his/her responsibility to the public and the various interests in society.
    Journalist should not publish or broadcast false information or unproven allegations.
    ARTICLE 23
    Journalists should not publish or broadcast any report or a write-up affecting the reputation of an individual or an individual or organization without the chance to reply. That is unfair and must be avoided.
    ARTICLE 27
    Journalists shall obtain information, photographs and illustrations only by straight forward means.
    The PUL is not kindly observing some of the publications coming from both the print and electronic media in regards to individuals being accused within government, the above mentioned articles in the code of ethics of the PUL is not being applied by journalists in the discharge of their duties. Article 15 (a) of the 1986 Liberia Constitution says “Every person shall have the right to freedom of expression, being fully responsible for the abuse thereof. This right shall not be curtailed, restricted or enjoined by government save during an emergency declared in accordance with this constitution”. This aspect of our constitution is not just for journalists, every citizens of this Republic is entitled to enjoy this right; I see no reason why the PUL and ALJA would want to believe that if a journalist is taken to court that would constitute threat or hostility to the media as being portrayed in the three press statements made by the PUL, Reporters Without Borders and ALJA in the December 21 edition and the online publication of December 25, 2018 all of which from the FRONTPAGE AFRICA Newspaper.
    “Mistruth and falsehood in the media” are ethical issues within the code of ethics of the PUL, why don’t the PUL see this aspect of the media as a bridge to the media profession and call for corrective measure to be taken by its members. The PUL code of ethics calls for a journalist to do a correction or a rejoinder to a story and apologize- Article 9.
    Let me give you a direct quotations of some of the publications in the headlines of Frontpage Africa Newspaper as an example of mistruth and falsehood:
     WHY IS LIBERIA A BAD DESTINATION TO DO BUSINESS- October 11, 2018 edition- FPA
     LOCAL, FOREIGN OWNED BUSINESSES SHUTTING DOWN: AMID DETERIOTING ECONOMY- November 12, 2018 edition-FPA. This edition used two businesses- DITCO and TOTAL as its pictorial that they have closed. DITCO and TOTAL are still in Liberia operating.
    Erroneous narrative in any publication leaves room for legal actions, as long as it borders the integrity and character of individuals within and out of government. The PUL must go beyond suspending its members for the same reason it would criticize a government official for freedom of expression when one of its members who would express his thought as to how the PUL is proceeding within its statutory objectives. The President of our country is not a superman nor any of his Minister, they are all mere mortals liable to errors but you cannot use their errors to correct them with another errors, report nothing but the facts.
    Journalist verse the Court
    It will interest you to know whenever an individual in or out of government is injured by a publication of a reporter and that person decides to seek recourse under the law, than journalist feels threatened by a law suit and make a big headlines out of it. Why would a journalist think that in the discharge of his duty, when the character and integrity of an individual is slandered he/she should not seek recourse to the law? The PUL should recount that in the 2017 elections there were disputes which led to a party seeking recourse to the law on grounds that the electoral process was marred by fraud. The court was the only body cloth with the authority to decide election matters that had disputes, so am usually perplexed when a journalist writes and his story injuries the character of another person whether in government or not, that individual decides to seek legal redress, it now becomes intimidation or hostility to the journalist.
    In any democracy, the media is a key partner that is why they are often referred to as the fourth estate. Since I started following national politics, the media had had some missteps along the way in her quest to educate the public on major happenings, whether in or out of government; make no mistake, the media had played a significant role in exposing ills in the society. There can be on media without the government or the private sector and vice visa; the government, the private sector and the media are partners in the governance system of our democracy. There are some basic ethical principles that must be adhered to by the media in order to bring more credibility to the work they do.
    The PUL or the media must see the government as the biggest business enterprise to work with in order to increase its revenue base; the PUL must not just make it her business to blast at government when issues are trending between the media two, go beyond by investigating who is saying the truth.
    I having heard in a very long while where the PUL has taken issues with media houses for under paying journalists for the work they do, look at the situation currently at the Renaissance Communication, journalists who are in the employ of that media house have not taking pay for nine months, isn’t it an alarming situation for the PUL to get involved with and speak out publicly, rather it is the Reporter Association that is threatened court action if they are not paid. The PUL should now begin to rethink as we enter 2019, the old style of running the PUL must be redirected to an advocacy for the proper governance of our country.
    Over the past twelve years of our governance in our country, the media has got some good scores and some bad scores as well, what I haven’t seen is the PUL rating the bad ones as it is done with the annual awards where journalists are awarded for the good work; there’s a big difference between the media and the PUL- one is the regulating body while the others are the institutions to be regulated, therefore, the PUL must not play the role as though it is a media institution that is in the printing and broadcast business.
    To conclude, the court is an integral part of our democratic system, if anyone feels injured by what anyone says or does the right place to be heard is the court. I see absolutely no reason why a journalist will feel threaten when your story is factual. The PUL must now begin to suspend, fine and revoke the permit of its members for publishing fallacies to the public in line with its code of ethics.
    Thank You and Happy New Year.

    Note: This is not a comment to the above story.

  4. In another elevation: Ambassadors and Ministerial positions should be at executive options and should not be confirmed by the Legislature. When the Legislature is not in section, absent, it is the will of the President of the Republic of Liberia to replace such standard positions at his option. Even as when there is the need to mint or print currencies to prevent inflation. The 1847 constitution was inflated by an illegitimate Government of 1971, after the death of a President, which caused a constitutional crisis. Thus an illegal order from the military junta which ignited the 1986 constitution did not help either, when extended bills approval length during and prior to the Liberian civil war were ordered. The present legislature should revise or reinstate such power to the executive or sifter out decrees and tyrant orders imposed attachments to these enactments through amendments as as soon as possible. These lawmakers should refrain themselves from executive and judicial functions so that they do not over power constitutional provisions. The right of the Liberian people given by our forefathers must be reinstated. No foreign Government will refuse the appointed of an elected Liberian President. The United States Government will no interfere with the functions of the Liberian Government and will therefore accept any necessary function of a democratically elected President with full recognition. Any Lawmaker who prevents such measure becomes a suspected traitor to the Liberian nation and not worthy of such trust of the Liberian people. Let the Liberian people know. Do not answer me.
    With silent majority.

  5. While the U.S. Government is struggle to get a very small amount $5.6B in their dollars to fund a simple wall, Liberians in the United States of America are requesting 6.75 Billion Liberian monies from the Liberian Government as a condition to come home to draw the line between the haves and have nots in Liberia and help the pro-poor administration solidify if possible. It appears to be a conflict of interest between the pro-poor and pro-plan over the missing billions. Speaking Liberian. Do not answer me. Contact the Liberian people.
    In silence with majority rule.

  6. While the U.S. Government is struggling to get a very small amount $5.6B in their dollars to help fund a simple wall, Liberians in the United States of America are requesting 6.75 Billion Liberian monies from the Liberian Government as a condition to come home to draw the line between the haves and have nots in Liberia and help the pro-poor administration solidify if possible. It appears to be a conflict of interest between the pro-poor and pro-plan over the missing billions. Speaking Liberian. Do not answer me. Contact the Liberian people.
    In silence with majority rule.

Leave a Reply