Ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Montserrado County District #8 Rep. Acarous Moses Gray says he and some of his colleagues are to submit a bill of impeachment against Associate Justice Kabinah M. Ja’neh of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
Announcing the plan at a news conference on Friday, 6 July in Monrovia, Mr. Gray however declined to state why they are seeking to impeach Justice Ja’neh, telling journalists that the reason will be reflected in the impeachment bill.
“I’m proud to announce we have prepared a bill of impeachment against Associate Justice Kabinah Ja’neh. The action we are to take was proposed by the late human right activist Melvin Page and we overlooked it, but we think now is the time,” Mr. Gray says.
“I know your next question will be the reason for our action. That will reflected in the bill,” he adds.According to Rep. Gray, Justice Jane’h will face the House of Representatives for his impeachment within a couple of days.
According to him, lawmakers that are leading the impeachment proceedings against Justice Ja’neh have done strong consultations with other lawmakers, adding that the passage of the impeachment bill will take place in the soonest possible time.
Mr. Gray’s failure to immediately give reason for preparing an impeachment bill against Justice Ja’neh appears to leave the public in suspense, particularly given constitutional mandate that Justices of the Supreme Court can be impeached on grounds of gross breach of duty and exhibiting of clear inability to perform the functions of their respective offices.
The last time Justices Kabineh Ja’neh, Jamesetta Howard Wolokolie and outgoing Justice Philip A.Z. Banks faced threats of impeachment from lawmakers was during the 2017 political season when they were accused of alleged ethical breach.
It took the intervention of senior officials of UNMIL to quiet down the political chaos that was emerging through a mediation process when both the Legislature and the Judicial Branch tried to exercise their respective powers in a standoff.
On August 4, 2017, Senators H. Dan Morais of Maryland County, Peter S. Coleman of Grand Kru County, and Jim Tornola of Margibi County accused the three justices of being in gross violation of their oaths of office by allegedly engaging in misconduct, gross breach of duty and exhibiting clear inability to perform the functions of their respective offices as Associate Justices.
The lawmakers claimed that their petition to impeach the justices arose from the decision of the Supreme Court in which the three Justices by their opinions and judgments in cases involving the Code of Conduct enacted by the Liberian Legislature in May 2014, sought and did effectively usurp the powers and authority of the Legislature to make law.
The lawmakers claimed at the time that the accused made ineffective and virtually null and void the Code of Conduct.
According to Article 71 of the Liberian Constitution, the Chief Justice and Associates Justices of the Supreme Court and the judges of subordinate courts of record shall hold office during good behavior.
It says they may be removed upon impeachment and conviction by the Legislature based on proved misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of their office, or conviction in a court of law for treason, bribery or other infamous crimes.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley