At the time proceedings into the impeachment trial of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh is ongoing at the Liberian Senate, this paper has received information corroborated by multiple sources that Civil Law Court ‘A’ Judge Yusu Kaba has been lined up as Ja’neh’s possible replacement if the latter is convicted by the Senate.
Justice Ja’neh is standing impeachment trial at the Liberian Senate for alleged proved misconduct, abuse of public office, wanton abuse of judicial discretion, frauds, misuse of power and corruption.
One of the cases which triggered his impeachment trial relates to a land dispute involving the embattled Justice and a private citizen, Madam Annie Yancy Constance.
Associate Justice Ja’neh has been accused by lawmakers of using his influence as Associate Justice to secure a ruling in his favor at the Supreme Court to take possession of the land.
Justice Ja’neh has since denied these allegations.
However, sources within the corridors of the President’s temporary office at the Foreign Ministry told the New Dawn that President George Weah has been in consultations with stakeholders and have concluded that Judge Kaba, would be a possible replacement for Justice Ja’neh to enable the Supreme Court Bench maintain its ethnic balance.
The current embattled Associate Justice Ja’neh hails from the Mandingo tribe and is a key leader within the Muslim community. His lined up replacement Judge Kaba also hails from the Mandingo tribe and is a key figure within the Muslim community as well.
Some ruling party faithful says should Justice Ja’neh be convicted and replaced by Judge Kaba, then it simply demonstrates the Coalition for Democratic Change led government resolve that it is not targeting any tribe and religion but would root out individuals in positions of trust who may be engaged in practices that have the propensity to undermine the peace and justice system of the state.
Other sources said the appointment of Judge Kaba is expected to be done quickly to avoid the Supreme Court Bench being short of its require number. The Liberian Senate would be appealed to fast tract the confirmation process to enable the Superior Court Bench perform its duty unhindered.
It could be recalled that on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, the House of Representatives, received a an impeachment petition against Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh and in accordance with a motion proffered by Grand Kru County District #1 Representative Nathaniel Barway, which was voted in favor of, House Speaker Bhofal Chambers accordingly set up an 8-man Ad-Hoc Committee to review and investigate the Impeachment Petition as well as write-out proceedings.
In the Impeachment Petition, the petitioners gave 12 counts, to support their claims that Associate Justice Ja’neh had been allegedly involved in misconduct, abuse of public office, tempering with public documents, wanton abuse of judicial discretion, fraud, misuse of power and corruption.
The lawmakers accused Justice Ja’neh of stealing information (minutes) from a meeting held by an ad hoc committee chaired by Representative Kanie Wesso, Co-chair on Judiciary that drafted the rules and procedure that led to his impeachment trial.
The petition to impeach Justice Ja’neh was filed before the House by Representatives Acarous Gray of Montserrado County, Electoral District# 8 and Thomas Fallah of Montserrado County, District#5 respectively.
Both alleged that Justice Ja’neh “committed a serious official misconduct by engaging in a wanton and unsavory exercise of his judicial discretion far exceeding the bounds of elementary judicial interpretation of issues simply to satisfy his personal ego”.
However, the impeachment petition has not been void of legal challenge especially as it relates to the interpretation of Article 43.
Article 43 of the 1986 Constitution gives the House of Representatives the power to prepare a bill of impeachment.
On August 28, 2018, the Bill of Impeachment of Associate Justice Ja’neh was passed and forwarded to the Liberian Senate for trial.
Article 43 states: “The power to prepare a bill of impeachment is vested solely in the House of Representatives, and the power to try all impeachments is vested solely in the Senate. When the President, Vice President or an Associate Justice is to be tried, the Chief Justice shall preside; when the Chief Justice or a judge of a subordinate court of record is to be tried, the President of the Senate shall preside.
No person shall be impeached but by the concurrence of two-thirds of the total membership of the Senate. Judgments in such cases shall not extend beyond removal from office and disqualification to hold public office in the Republic; but the party may be tried at law for the same offense. The Legislature shall prescribe the procedure for impeachment proceedings, which shall be in conformity with the requirements of due process of law.”
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor -Edited by Othello B. Garblah