Four of the Senators who voted against the impeachment of former Associate Justice Kabine M. Ja’neh have called on the Senate Committee on Judiciary to suspend the confirmation of his designated successor, Judge Yussif D. Kaba until the Senate determines the penalty to impose on impeached Justice Ja’neh.
Through a majority vote the Liberian Senate impeached Justice Ja’neh on 29 March, concurring with an earlier decision taken by the House of Representatives to remove the former justice from the Supreme Court Bench for issuing a writ that denied government from collecting taxes for road funds imposed on oil and gas companies.
But four Senators are demanding that the Senate convenes to discuss the Judgment of impeached Justice Ja’neh to determine the action to be taken against him, like a warning, suspension or the maximum penalty of removal from office and further disqualification to hold public office in the Republic.
Senators Daniel F. Naatehn, Sr (Gbarpolu County); Sando D. Johnson, (Bomi County); Conmany B. Wesseh, (River Gee County; and Oscar D. Cooper, (Margibi County) expressed their concern in a letter written to the Liberian Senate on 8 April.
According to them, the Senate’s mere vote in the impeachment trial of former Justice Ja’neh to determine the verdict of guilty or not guilty is not a judgment which imposes a penalty as required by the Constitution.
They are claiming that impeached Justice Ja’neh still occupies the position of Associate Justice, in the absence of a judgment by the Senate declaring a vacancy on the Supreme Court Bench.
“The fact is that Article 43 doesn’t say that upon conviction, those persons are deemed automatically removed from office; rather, Articles 43 and 71 together state very clearly that a Justice or Judge upon being impeached by the Senate may or may be removed from office,” the anti – impeachment Senators say.
Article 43 of the Constitution partly says judgements in such cases [impeachment] shall not extend beyond removal from office and disqualification to hold public office in the Republic; but the party (person) may be tried at law for the same offense.
Further, Article 71 sets the basis for the removal of impeached persons on proved misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of their office, or conviction in a court of law for treason, bribery or other infamous crimes.
But the Senate Committee on Judiciary has recommended that plenary confirms Associate Justice – designate Yussif D. Kaba on grounds that he is qualified for the position.
Judge Kaba was nominated to the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Bench by President Weah, few days after former Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment.By Ethel A. Tweh–Edited by Winston W. Parley