Members of the House of Representatives on Thursday, March 12, 2015, abandoned their constitutional obligation for no cause.
The Lawmakers, elected to represent the people of their respective districts, were compared to adjourn session due to the poor attendance, preceded by a motion raised by Grand Bassa Country District #4 Representative J. Byron Brown.
Brown’s motion was in consonance with the rules of the House of Representative which states that in the absence of a quorum for Plenary, the Sergeant-At-Arms is mandated by the Presiding to visited the offices of the lawmakers, asking them to attend sessions; and if the Sergeant-At Arm returns without lawmakers, the motion for adjournment is raised and carried.
But speculations within the Capitol Building suggested yesterday that members of the House abandoned session as protest against what they considered the unjustifiable decision taken against their colleagues.
On February 26, 2015, members of the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to suspend three of their colleagues form active Legislative politics.
Margibi County Representative Roland Opie Cooper was suspended for three months, while Montserrado County Representative Henry B. Fahnbulleh and Nimba County Representative Samuel Kogar were suspended for one month each, affecting their respective salaries, allowances, gasoline, and other benefits for the period of their suspension.
Some Members of the House, who confided in this paper, said the decision of Plenary was actively influenced by the Chairman on Rules, Order and Administration, Grand Bassa County Representative Jeh Byron Brown, Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue and Speaker Alex Tyler respectively.
They argued that the rules of the House did not support their decision; unfortunately, the decision was been taken.
“If we continue to boycott sessions, the Liberian people- who are our employers, will ask why. The brother is so afraid that he thinks his colleagues wants to undermine him,” they claimed.
But when the acting Spokesman of the House of Representatives- Nelson Gai, was contacted for verification, he dismissed the reports, noting that the Lawmakers failed to hold session because there was no quorum. He indicated that the Plenary of the House operates through simple majority, suggesting many of the Representatives were absent because they were either apparently busy with their respective district works or engaged with other development initiatives that would move the country forward.
On January 15, 2015, the House of Representatives went amok when a few of its Members, including the three, physically attacked and assualted others, after Speaker J. Alex Tyler attempted reading a list of names appointed in the process of restructuring both statutory and standing committees.
Earlier, they violently resisted attempts by the Speaker to preside over the session because he was ‘wanted’ by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission or LACC in connection with a US$25,000 scam, involving the Speaker and Representative Adolph Lawrence and the National Oil Company of Liberia or NOCAL.
It was widely reported that the LACC recommended prosecution for Speaker Alex Tyler and the former Chairman of the Committee on Gas and Oil, Representative Lawrence, after completing the first phase of investigations into the US$25,000 corruption saga.
Since then, tension has been brewing within the Capitol Building, especially after calls for the Speaker to submit to the LACC and exonerate himself.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor & Ben Wesee