Members of the House of Representatives have elected a new Speaker on white ballot, following the removal of criminally indicted Speaker J. Alex Tyler. The new Speaker is Margibi County Representative James Emmanuel Nuquay, who was formally inducted Wednesday, 5 October to steer the affairs of that august body until 2018.
This followed a Supreme Court refusal to grant separate writs of prohibition sought by Montserrado County Representative Adolph Lawrence and former Speaker Tyler. Tyler had challenged his removal from office, while Representative Lawrence sought redress from the High Court for what he termed administrative mal-practices in the House of Representatives.
But Justice in Chambers, Sie Nyene Youh lifted the stay order and declined to issue the writ of prohibition, giving the plenary of the House of Representatives the legal basis to conduct its election, replacing Tyler.
Making the motion of nomination in the joint chambers of the House, Montserrado County Electoral District #8 Representative Acarous Gray said Nuquay has lived above reproach legislatively, served the people of Margibi and the country at large. Gray said besides, Nuquay holds a BSc degree in Economics and is an Attorney-At-Law therefore, he should be given the option to serve as Speaker.
Addressing reporters following his election, Speaker Nuquay promised cordial relationship with his colleagues and the Executive branch of government, stressing that the foremost interest of the state and its people is development.
According to him, the House of Representatives under his leadership will not become rubber stamp as was being perceived by the public, promising to closely work along with colleagues in building strong relationship that brings development to the citizenry.
The session that brought Nuquay onboard as Speaker, also intensified the investigative team constituted by plenary to give Deputy Speaker Han Barchue a last option to submit to investigation.
Plenary had earlier constituted a five-man committee headed by Bong County Representative George Mulbah to investigate Barchue for alleged violation of the House’s standing rule, but the committee Chairman, Representative Mulbah said Deputy Speaker Barchue failed to show up for investigation despite his office reportedly receiving a formal citation.
Representatives Solomon George, Edwin Snowe, George Mulbah, Julius Berrien and few others begged that thet Deputy Speaker should be pardoned following his open apology to plenary.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has taken its annual break to return in January.
On September 27, lawmakers at the House of Representatives for the second time removed a sitting speaker for acts of corruption and other administrative reasons.
The first speaker to face such embarrassing situation was Montserrado County Representative Edwin M. Snowe twelve years ago when he was ousted by his colleagues for a letter he unilaterally wrote to the People’s Republic of Taiwan, affirming Liberia’s relationship.
Now, it is Bomi County District #2 Representative J. Alex Tyler, who was compelled to relinquish the Speakership for being criminally indicted in connection with a Global Witness Report, linking him and several other officials to bribery.
Tyler served as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2007 to September 27, 2016. He is the second longest serving Speaker after the late Richard Henries. Lawmakers who supported his removal were seen in session soliciting signatures and finally obtained a two-thirds majority to kick him out.
The 49 lawmakers prepared a resolution based on the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, referencing Article 49 and Rule 9.1 of the House’s Rules and Procedures as the basis for Tyler’s removal on Tuesday, September 27.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor & Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne