The Supreme Court Monday halted the process of electing a new Speaker at the House of Representatives to replaced criminally indicted former Speaker Alex Tyler amidst widespread bribery claims.
“By directive of her Honor Sie. A. Nyene G. Yuoh, Associate Justice presiding in chambers, you are hereby citied for conference in chambers with her Honor on Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at the hour of 12:00 noon..,” a Supreme Court communication from the office of the clerk of court on Monday, 3 October to Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue reads.
There were reports of alleged bribery as means of soliciting votes on the eve of the election which was scheduled to be held today October 4. Correspondents at the Capitol Building said they saw members of that august body receiving cash as form of inducement from two of the main contenders in the impending speakership race.
Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue and Margibi County Representative Emmanuel Nuquoi are the two main contenders in today’s election. Correspondents said they first saw the distribution of cash being carried out allegedly by Margibi County Representative Emmanuel Nuquoi, who had parked his green private vehicle (with license plate #A53565) in the parking lot at the Capitol, while his campaign manager, Congress for Democratic Change or CDC Thomas Fallah visited the offices of lawmakers with financial packages.
Representative Fallah, carrying a folder, requested his colleagues to sign a commitment resolution following which undisclosed amounts were presented to lawmakers. Though receipt of the money was contingent on signing the commitment resolution, lawmakers were seen leaving the vehicle with huge visible United States dollars.
There are indications that 38 lawmakers have already signed the ‘commitment resolution’ in favor of the former Chairman on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget of the House, Nuquoi, for the post of Speaker.
The commitment resolution to which the signatures of the lawmakers are affixed, is the document intended to ensure that they will indeed cast their ballots for the Margibi lawmaker. Following the departure of several excited and smiling lawmakers from Nuquoi’s vehicle, Rivercess County Representative Alfred Juweh confirmed the bribery, saying to the media that he was offered US$3,000 to vote for Rep, Nuquoi during the election, but refused on the basis of support to former Speaker Alex J. Tyler.
Representative Juweh indicated that during the battle for the removal of former Speaker Tyler, he was offered US$40,000 – an amount he reportedly rejected. Nimba County Representative Larry Yonquoi was also seen receiving two brown envelopes from a vehicle with license plate number HOR-2, occupied by an office staff of Deputy Speaker Barchue.
When a reporter of the New Republic newspaper – Jackson Clay, attempted photographing the scene, Rep. Yonquoi ordered his arrested – something that did not materialize as reporters trooped to the scene.
Later, the four-door pickup with license plate number HOR-2, believed to be assigned to Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue, was seen with huge sums of both United States and Liberian dollars, while a white four-door Toyota Pickup, believed to be assigned to Montserrado County Representative Electoral District #10, Representative Julius Berrien, was also used as another venue for cash distribution.
Meanwhile, former House Speaker Alex Tyler has sued the plenary and presiding officer of the House of Representative for what he termed his ‘illegal’ removal from office. Tyler argued that he had earlier requested for six weeks for medical attention outside the country – a request granted by plenary, but to his surprise, while still on the medical leave, the plenary of the House removed him without the due process of the law.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor& Bridgett Milton