A recusal or removal struggle over House Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay has emerged among members of the House of Representatives for the first time this year, and the fourth time since 2006.
Opposition members in the House of Representatives are compelling Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay to recuse himself or be moved or removed from presiding over the 2017/2018 National Budget in order not to use his double positions – Speaker and vice standard bearer of the ruling Unity Party – to manipulate or infuse the budget with unnecessary cash to support the party’s campaigns.
The 2017/2018 Draft Budget is in the estimated value of US$526 million and has been under scrutiny of the Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance & Budget, and Public Accounts of the Liberian Legislature as of Monday, June 5.
Besides the opposition members, other members who are pushing for the Speaker to be recused, moved or removed are the representatives from the three counties who believe they (Nimba, Bong, and Grand Bassa) were ostracized during Nuquay’s selection as the vice standard bearer of the ruling Unity Party.
Nimba County District # 6 Rep. Atty. Ricks Y. Toweh and Montserrado County District # 8 Rep. Acarous M. Gray are leading the campaign for the Speaker to recuse himself.
The chairman of the Majority Bloc of the House of Representatives, Rep. Numene T.H. Bartekwa of Grand Kru County District # 2 has rebuffed the threat and boasted of having about 52 Representatives that are part of the Majority Bloc supporting the Speaker.
The Grand Kru lawmaker, who is also chairman of the Committee’s Post and Telecommunications, told the Daily Observer yesterday in his Capitol Building office that the Speaker’s recusal is neither in the House’s Rules and Regulations, nor is it a precedent.
The Majority Bloc leader said the Speaker will end his tenure as speaker on January 16, 2018.
He said any lawmaker who will use the media to misconstrue the rules to denigrate the Lower House to incite the public “will be dealt with.”
“The Speaker isn’t in any violation, he is not in any corruption web. So he can’t recuse himself,” he said.
Recusal and Removal Struggle
Since President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took state power in 2006, there have been four (4) recusal and removal struggles, which started with the then House Speaker Edwin M. Snowe.
An unconfirmed report said the Montserrado County District # 6 Representative was removed in 2007 due to a “Power struggle” with the president.
Bomi County District # 1 Representative Alex J. Tyler was elected Speaker, but his re-election as speaker was resisted in 2012.
The second recusal and removal struggle erupted in 2015 when the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) investigated then Speaker Tyler and Montserrado County District #15 Adolph Lawrence about a US$25,000 consultancy fee to Bobby Addison. The coup was unsuccessful, and Speaker Tyler survived.
In 2016, the third recusal and removal struggle surfaced when the Global Witness released a damning report in the Sable Mining deal accusing Speaker Tyler of taking a US$75,000 bribe.
Speaker Tyler was removed, making way for the emergence of Margibi County District # 5 Representative Emmanuel Nuquay, who was elected on white ballot in October 2016.