Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) president-elect Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe is calling on the Liberian Senate to send back to the House of Representatives the impeachment bill presented against Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh because it is a product of disrespect to the Supreme Court of Liberia.
In an interview with this paper, Cllr. Gongloe argues that there was a prohibition issued by the Supreme Court against impeachment processes initiated by the House following Justice Ja’neh’s petition for a writ of prohibition, but the House defied the Court and proceeded with the impeachment bill against Ja’neh.
In the wake of this disregard to the authority of the Supreme Court by the House, Cllr. Gongloe says the bill of impeachment crafted, passed and submitted to the Senate to subject Ja’neh to trial is a product of disrespect to the Supreme Court.
He notes that while majority members of the Supreme Court bench had voted contrary to Justice Ja’neh’s request for prohibition against his impeachment process, the House of Representatives acted illegally inasmuch as a Supreme Court stay order was disrespected by the lawmakers.
Further, Cllr. Gongloe thinks that no justice including the Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., should preside over the impeachment trial at the Senate if Senators refuse to return the bill of impeachment to the House of Representatives which drew the instrument out of disrespect to the Court.
He equally reminds that lawmakers here took oath to protect the Constitution, and they cannot be seen as violating the very Constitution that they should protect.
The LNBA president – elect warns that if constitutional crisis develops as a result of the lawmakers’ action, they will be blamed, [particularly where Justices boycott the impeachment trial in retaliation to the disrespect] shown the Court.
Justice Ja’neh stands accused of alleged proved misconduct, abuse of power and abuse of judicial description, and the engine behind these allegations are ruling party Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Representatives Moses Acarus Gray and Thomas Fallah.
On 15 November, the House of Representatives presented to the Liberian Senate, instruments intended to be used to impeach Justice Ja’neh, in spite of two separate challenges against the process at the Supreme Court.
While Justice Ja’neh was challenging the process, four members of the Liberian Senate similarly filed a separate action against their colleagues for amending Rule 63 of the Senate’s Standing Rule which they did to pave the way to impeach Ja’neh.
In the case at the Supreme the Ministry of Justice strangely stood as legal representative against Justice Ja’neh in the interest of the House of Representatives which remains on record to date that it would not appear before the Supreme Court in hearing Ja’neh’s petition for prohibition.
The Ministry was simply invited by the Supreme Court to argue on the side of the law, but suddenly the Ministry took sides to fight against Ja’neh.Majority members of the Supreme Court bench including Chief Justice Korkpor, Associate Joseph Nagbe and ad – hoc justice J. Boima Kontoe said the House did nothing in violation of Ja’neh’s due process right, terming his petition for prohibition as premature.
But in their dissent, Associate Justices Jamesetta Howard – Wolokolie and Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh termed the majority’s decision as troublesome precedence and hilarious. They refused to be part of the majority’s decision.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah