Ex-speaker J. Alex Tyler has been granted leave by his colleagues to allow him attend an economic sabotage trial that results from a Global Witness report which accuses him and others of receiving US$950,000 bribes from U.K. - based Sable Mining to change a concession law here.
His office wrote the House of Representatives to allow him stay away from legislative sessions on grounds that he would be attending to his trial at the Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.
He is jointly on trial along with former ruling Unity Party Chair, Sen. H. Varney G. Sherman, former Lands and Mines Minister Dr. Eugene Shannon, former Minister of State for Economic and Legal Affairs, now Sen. Morris Saytumah and former National Investment Commission Boss Dr. Richard Tolbert, among others.
They are standing trial along with Sable Mining executives Andrew Groves and Klaus Piprek for economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, criminal solicitation and criminal facilitation, after being accused of taking bribes to change a concession law to declare Mount Wologizi in Lofa County a non - bidding concession in favor of Sable Mining.
Reading a communication in session on Thursday, 16 March, the Chief of Staff to former Speaker Tyler, Mr. Edwin Clark informed the House that his boss will not be in session due to the court trial at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.
Mr. Clark said his boss would attend trial on a daily basis, and as such he was unable to attend legislative sessions. This is the second time Rep. Tyler has written Plenary to grant his excuse from session since his removal as speaker of the House of Representatives.
Tyler’s excuse was prompted by a warning letter from the House of Representatives to lawmakers who were observed to have abandoned legislative sessions without any excuse.
Mr. Tyler was removed late last year from the post of House Speaker by majority members of his colleagues at the Lower House due after he had been indicted by government following Global Witness report of alleged corruption involving him and several others. Mr. Tyler was not alone in seeking legislative leave, as Rep. James Barney has also sent in a letter of excuse for medical checkup without telling his colleagues how long he would be out of the country for medication. Rep. Barney has however promised to provide detail information based on his doctor’s advice.
By Bridgett Milton--Editing by Winston W. Parley