Barely a day after the impeachment of former Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh from the Supreme Court bench, Senator Prince Yormie Johnson of Nimba County squarely blames the former Associate Justice for his removal, disclosing that he (Kabineh Ja’neh) overlooked the people of Nimba.
In a widely circulated audio that has gone viral on social media here, Senator PYJ narrates that all available efforts from elders of Nimba, including his (Johnson’s) personal intervention to have ex-Justice Ja’neh resigned honorably from the Supreme Court bench were rejected.
The audio contains an interview which the senator held with a community radio station in Ganta, Nimba County via mobile phone probably over the weekend, in which he is heard narrating several interventions made to give Ja’neh a dignified exit, since according to him, services of the Associate Justice were no longer needed in the current administration.
He recalls that the entire exercise started while he was in Nigeria, and after the bill of impeachment started in the House, and upon his subsequent return to Liberia, the Nimba Legislative Caucus sought his advice, so he instructed the caucus to boycott the process because it was unconstitutional.
“When I returned from Nigeria, I decided to find out what the actual problem was, and I discovered that this was a political matter, not a judicial trial that was following. And after making some contacts, I discovered that Kabineh Ja’neh was no longer needed among his colleagues on the bench; and that he was not no more needed by the authority of the day”, he explains.
Senator PYJ continues that he was told that Kabineh Ja’neh was no longer needed because he allegedly sabotaged a lot of things against the Republic of Liberia.
“I was told; I wouldn’t tell you who told me; I wouldn’t tell you who I discussed with, but I made every frantic effort, and I was told ‘Kabineh is no longer needed; [he] sabotaged a lot of things for this Republic, but because he is a son of Nimba and you are the godfather of Nimba, and Nimba County stood behind us, we will not want to take him on; What we want you to do is to intervene for a win-win situation. If he can honorably retire, we will pay him off for five years; whatever he makes, we will give him all of the incentives, a diplomatic passport, a vehicle, everything will be given to him; we just don’t want him there because he is saboteur’”, PYJ quoted his purported engagers inside the government to have instructed.
He says immediately, he went to see Ja’neh the following night at 10:00 pm.
“And I went to see Justice Kabineh Ja’neh 10:00 o’clock in the night. And I said to him, I am your leader, I will not fool you; this matter that is pending is not a judicial trial where you will need lawyers to plead for you, they will only eat you money. Political trial requires political solution; political maneuvers, so I have come to tell kindly resign and you will get all of your incentives. I will bring the traditional leaders from Nimba, the 34 paramount chiefs I will bring them they will join me to intervene so that you can now tell the world I’m not guilty, but because my people in Nimba have appealed to me to step down; I honorably bow off, so that you can get your money. But when you put up a fight, you cannot win the power of the government. And Kabineh looked me and said he will never step down; that he will fight on.”
He adds that Muslims from Nimba also went to Ja’neh, including businessman Musa Bility, but the ill-fated former Associated Justice wouldn’t listen to their advice. He instead, continued with his legal battle, challenging his impeachment.
According to PYJ, he did not vote in the Senate for Ja’neh’s impeachment, likewise Senator Thomas Grupee, because they both thought the process was political and not legal, adding, that “anybody who accused us in Nimba, they need to check their brains very well, because we are only two senators, and we are 29 in the place; if two of us cast a vote against, it means nothing!”
Members of the Liberian Senate voted overwhelmingly to effect Ja’neh’s impeachment on Friday March 29, a move which has ended months of political and legal battles initiated in 2018 by the House of Representatives over numerous charges.
The Senate voted for impeachment on account of a decision taken to grant a writ of prohibition that prevented government from collecting a road funds taxed against oil and gas companies because it had not been imposed through legislative act.
Following his impeachment Friday, one of Ja’neh’s lawyers Cllr. Lavala Supuwood noted his client’s exception to the decision, announcing that they will take an appeal at the Supreme Court. Story by Jonathan Browne