Split House Parties Appear at Supreme Court Today

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Whether or not House Speaker Alex Tyler Sr. would survive to remain on his post is expected to be decided today, Monday, August 22, by the Supreme Court.

The decision was due to a recent directive from Associate Justice Jamesetta H. Wolokollie, Presiding Justice in Chambers, requesting Hans Barchue, Deputy Speaker; Numennie T. H. Bartekwa, Chairman; Munah E. Pelham Youngblood, Secretary; and other members of the House of
Representatives who opposed Tyler’s speakership to appear at her chambers today, at 12:00.

Justice Wolokollie acted in compliance with Speaker Tyler’s August 12 request for the Court to issue a “Writ of Prohibition” to preside over the House and prevent the lawmakers who are demanding his recusal from holding separate sessions.

In his request, Tyler’s argument was that there is no provision under the Constitution and the Rules of the House of Representative that provides for recusal of an elected officer of the House.

“There is no provision under the Constitution and Rules of the House of Representatives providing for recusal of an elected officer of the House of Representatives. What the Constitution and the Rules of the House of Representatives provide for is removal of officers or expulsion of members of the House of Representatives,” he said in his petition.

According to the petition, Speaker Tyler said in an effort to remove him, respondents on Thursday, August 11, broke into the Joint Chambers of the Senate and Representatives under the disguise of convening a session of the House of Representatives, presided over by Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue, during which it was said they passed a resolution removing him as speaker.

“The conduct of the respondents… illegally and unlawfully convening a meeting in the Joint Chambers of the National Legislature for the purpose of ousting and removing petitioner, J. Alex Tyler, from the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives is in violation of both the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia and the House Standing Rules,” his petition said.

The Speaker quoted Article 49 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, which provides that the Speaker shall be the presiding officer of the House of Representatives; and Rule 4.1 of the Standing Rules of the 53rd Legislature also provides that the Speaker shall call the Honorable House of
Representatives to order at the commencement of each day’s session, including presiding over each day’s session.

Tyler has been indicted for allegedly receiving over US$70,000 to help change a provision in the Public Procumbent Concession Commission (PPCC) law in favor of Sable Mining Company, a UK based mining entity that eyed an iron ore concession deal for the Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County. It is based on said indictment that some of his colleagues are pushing for him to recuse himself, pending the outcome of the matter.

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