Security at the Legislature, the seat of the Senate and the House of Representatives, is expected to be tightened today, Thursday, February 14, with visitors, central administration and staff being subjected to thorough body security searches.
Vehicles of senators and representatives, visitors and spectators are also expected to be fully checked, and heavily armed police officers are expected to be visible at the various entrances around the perimeter.
Today’s reinforcement of security is due to the beginning of the impeachment trial proceedings against Kabineh M. Ja’neh, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The proceedings will start at 2:00 p.m. at the Joint Chambers of the Legislature.
Therefore, today and any other scheduled day for the impeachment proceedings will be heavily guarded by armed security. Reports say Associate Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment trial will be held every day, excluding Sundays and holidays until it is logically concluded.
Sergeant-at-Arms Toe C. Toe of the Senate and dozens of top brass officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) earlier accessed the grounds of the Capitol Building and the Joint Chambers.
A top police official told the Daily Observer, on condition of anonymity, that the tight security measure at the Capitol Building is necessary. “We received intelligence report that there are planned protests to be held outside and within the Capitol Building,” the source said.
The source continued, “Heavily armed military officers are on standby for support if the situation becomes necessary.”
Last Tuesday, a Notice of Assignment, signed by the secretary of the Senate, J. Nanborlor F. Singbeh, Sr., instructed the Sergeant-at-Arms “to notify the parties and/or their legal counsels to appear before members of the Senate in the impeachment trial at its Chambers in the Capitol Building, Capitol Hill, Monrovia Liberia, on February 14, 2019, at the hour of 2:00 p.m. for the commencement of the trial.”
According to the notice, which was received and signed for by the Legal Counsel for Mr. Ja’neh and members of the House of Representatives, Ja’neh is to face the Senate for impeachment proceedings today, Thursday, February 14.
The impeachment proceedings against Associate Justice Ja’neh were put on the floor at the House of Representatives by two lawmakers of Montserrado County on August 28, 2018, for alleged “misconduct and gross breach of duty” in keeping with the constitutional power assigned to that body to prepare a bill of impeachment and forward it to the Senate for trial.
Accordingly, and in keeping with Article 43 of the Constitution of Liberia, the Senate has extended an invitation to the Chief Justice to preside over the proceedings.
Though sources said the impeachment trial of Justice Ja’neh appears to be well on course, the Senate might not be able to muster votes required to impeach him. Other sources said the Senate is poised to have at least 20 senators, which is equivalent to a two-thirds majority.
Senators Oscar Cooper, Conmany Wesseh and Daniel Naatehn have expressed their opposition to the impeachment trial, and there are indications that Sen. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence will also go against the impeachment of Justice J’aneh.