Despite intellectual fight among senators on the impeachment bill submitted by the House against embattled Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, the Liberian Senate Tuesday, 4th September voted and subsequently sent the document in committee to advice plenary within one week.
The decision came as a surprise to many, who had gathered in the chambers of the senate to witness contrary position against the House’s move.Members of the Liberian Senate in a heated debate voted yea and nay to commence the impeachment proceedings of embattled Associate Justice Ja’neh.
Senators bitterly argued Tuesday about procedural errors by the House in preparation of the bill, while others said the senate will research whether any precedence does exist.
Last week, senators, including Conmany Wesseh of Rivergee County, Daniel Naatehn of Gbarpolu County and others strongly argued there is no impeachment bill before the plenary.But strangely, Senate President Pro-Tempore Albert Chie, over turned the decision and instead, ruled that the leadership of the senate will take charge of the document.
Following few days of consultations and negotiation with senators, the Albert Chie leadership reported to plenary that the impeachment document be turned over to the Senate Committee on Judiciary with additional three senators added to the already seven-member committee.
Rivercess County Senator Dallas Gueh moved that the report from the committee be accepted, which was bitterly argued by Presiding Officer Chie adding that the term of reference of the Judiciary Committee are proposed as follows; review any rule of the senate on impeachment and related matter; and complement the senate rules with other rules and procedures to ensure adherence to the principle of due process as enshrined in the 1986 Liberian Constitution and other laws of the land.
The motion states that the Judiciary Committee headed by Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney Sherman, who looks very comfortable with the impeachment proceedings, prepares a matrix of activities with timeline for the trial of the impeachment, and that the committee report to plenary of the Liberian Senate through the leadership within a week of the endorsement of the briefing by plenary.
On 28th August during the 52nd day sitting of the 54th Liberian Legislature, the House voted to pass a Bill of Impeachment against Associate Justice Kabineh Mohammed Ja’neh.
After more than 20 minutes of intense arguments, which resulted to a break-in over the incompletion of the sheets that contain the “Bill of Impeachment,” and the annulment of a “yea and nay voting,” for head-count voting, 23 members of the House of Representatives finally voted for the passage of the Bill.
On July 17, a petition seeking the immediate impeachment of Justice Kabineh M. Ja’Neh, was submitted to the House Plenary by Montserrado County Representatives Thomas Fallah of District #5 and Acarous M. Gray of District #8, respectively.
They, among others, charge 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.”
They also want him impeached for “Proved misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of his office by allowing justice to be served where it belongs no matter the status of the party affected.” Justice Ja’neh is however fighting back, terming the lawmakers’ proceeding as illegal. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne