Amidst intense wrangling among members of the Sinoe County Legislative Caucus, three out of the five-members Caucus have elected Senator J. Milton Teahjay as their chairman.
Sen. Teahjay on Thursday, February 13, replaced Senator Joseph Nagbe at the second meeting of the Caucus since its members resume session at the 54th Legislature on January 15.
Prior to his election, Teahjay served as co-chair of the Caucus since 2016.
Also elected as co-chair was the county District #1 Representative, Crayton Oldpa Duncan, while the county District #2 Representative Jay Nagbe Sloh, becomes the secretary general.
Rep. Sloh made the announcement to the press yesterday in his Capitol Building office.
Senator Joseph Nagbe and the county District #3 Representative, Matthew Zarzar, did not participate in the election, because the two Legislators and their elected colleagues are in disagreement with the ruling by the 14th Judicial Circuit Court of River Cess County that imposes a fine after finding Sen. Teahjay guilty of violating the procedures and processes of the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC) in the awarding of contracts for the implementation of county development projects.
Although the aggrieved lawmakers welcomed the ruling, they expressed concern about the Judge’s decision to ignore other charges in the indictment against Teahjay that carried greater magnitude, including Economic Sabotage, Criminal Conspiracy, Criminal Facilitation and Misapplication of Entrusted Property.
The court has fined Senator Teahjay US$50,000 to be paid into government’s revenue within the period of nine months; failure to do so would lead to his arrest and imprisonment.
The case against Senator Teahjay was brought to court and prosecuted by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).
The two lawmakers said Sen. Teahjay should have been sentenced for five years instead of simply being fined, and therefore urged the LACC to reassign the case for the former Superintendent to be properly prosecuted. Both lawmakers also threatened to seek appeal to the Supreme Court on behalf of the people in the county for Sen. Teahjay to be fully prosecuted.
They also requested Sen. Teahjay to recuse himself from the Caucus or they will distance themselves from its activities.
Meanwhile, Sen. Teahjay has thanked his colleagues for his preferment, but said he would pay the US$50,000 fine within the time frame set by the court.
Rep. Sloh has vowed to launch a campaign, “The Teahjay Redemption”, to help pay back the US$50,000, which they believe Teahjay did not personally use, but for the purpose of the county’s development.