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House suspends three

Three  members of the House of Representatives have been suspended with their salaries, allowances and benefits being affected.

Those suspended Thursday are Margibi County Representative Roland Opie Cooper for three months, Montserrado County Representative Henry B. Fahnbulleh and Nimba County Representative Samuel Kogar for one month each.

This means for the next three months, while serving his suspension, Rep. Roland Opie Cooper will have his salaries and other benefits retain in government’s coffers for other development purposes, while Reps. Fahbnulleh and Kogar both will forego theirs for one month each and money apparently retain for similar usage.

The Plenary took the decision following weeks of investigation into what the House has described as disorderly conduct and gangsterism leading to the disruption of sessions on a number of occasions.

The three suspended lawmakers are warned to stay away from all activities of the House of Representatives, including sessions, committee meetings, public hearings and acting in the capacity of their respective offices until the end of their suspension.

On January 15, 2015, the Liberian House of Representatives went amok when a few of its Members, including the three,  physically attacked others, after Speaker J. Alex Tyler attempted reading a list of names appointed in the process of restructuring both statutory and standing committees of the House.

Earlier, they resisted attempts by the Speaker to preside over the session because he was ‘wanted’ by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission in connection with US$25,000 scam involving the National Oil Company of Liberia or NOCAL.

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It began when the Sergeant-at arms of the House, Gen. Martin Johnson, called the session to order- meaning it was time for the normal business of the plenary, while the Speaker was seated in his official chair.

 Upon requesting the Chief Clark to read the agenda, which he immediately did, the Presiding Officer (the Speaker) commenced the session with the announcement of the restructuring of the various statutory and standing committees – an exercise

Rep. Fahnbulleh of the ruling Unity Party disrupted session with a call for observation, but was apparently ignored by the Speaker.

The chamber of the House, then, went ablaze when a few anti-Tyler Representatives ran from their various seats in violent protest against the manner and form, they claimed, the speaker was conducting the affairs of Plenary.

The rebellious disorderliness and militancy displayed by the renegade lawmakers led by Rep. Edwin Snowe , Henry Fahnbulleh, Roland Opee Cooper and others threw the whole Plenary into a hostile environment.

Rep. Adam Bill Corneh of Bong County, realizing the tension, chose to make peace as an elder, but a ‘hot and uncontrollable slap’  from Rep.  Cooper was enough to neutralize  his efforts.

Meanwhile, Rep. Fahnbulleh has threatened to go to the Supreme Court to seek redress,  adding that the decision of his colleagues to suspend them was draconian and unrealistic. 

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor

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