Montserrado County Electoral District #8 Representative has alarmed that the recent decision by the House of Representatives to suspend three of its members is in clear violation of the House’s standing rules.
Rep. Acarous Gray, in a communication to the Plenary of the House of Representatives which was read in session Tuesday, indicated that the letter of complaint written by Representative George Wesseh Blamoh against six lawmakers did not take into consideration others vividly seen disrupting session in the video evidence presented to the investigating committee.
Recently, three members of the House of Representatives were suspended without their salaries, allowances and benefits for exhibiting disorderly attitudes not befitting of a lawmaker.
Those suspended last Thursday are Margibi County Representative Roland Opie Cooper (three months), Montserrado County Representative Henry B. Fahnbulleh and Nimba County Representative Samuel Kogar (one month each).
The Rep. Gray accused the committee of failing to recommend any act of punishment for persons, including Rep. William Darkel, who is captured on the video recording using salacious remarks, as well as others who ran up and down and chanted pro-Alex Tyler slogans, disrupting session.
Gray quoted Rules 42.1, of the House as saying that “no member shall insult, abuse or harass other persons within the confines of the house, or cause disturbance to the activities of the house.”
“In my mind, when the committee accused some of our members on contempt of the Legislature in Article 44 of the Liberian Constitution and by extension Rule 4 governing the house, it makes me to wonder why this did not apply to others seen on the video disrupting session or why the punishable fine of L$5,000 and/or imprisonment were not adhered to? Justice must never be selective in this new dispensation of our democracy,” the CDC lawmaker added.
According to him, some members, who presided over the investigation, were part of the fight- those seen at the time during the disturbances include Representative Mariamu B. Fofana and William Darkel are, co-chairman and member of the investigating committee.
He said Rule 45.1 on conflict of interest, calls for withdrawing oneself from a case, “if the case is related to his/her interest.”
He also cited the Code of Conduct Act and the Liberian Constitution frown on conflict of interest.
“Rule 53.1 says ‘each committee shall be composed of not more seven members, except the Committee on Ways, Means and Finance and the Committee on National Reconciliation that shall have 15 persons each representing the 15 counties, instead of seven.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor