Police assigned at the Capitol Building in Monrovia have been ordered to seize the vehicle of the Sergeant-At-Arm of the House Representatives and turn its key over to the Chairman on Rule and Order, Rep. Byron Brown of Grand Bassa County.
According to the House, Brigadier General Martin Johnson is already facing two months suspension without salary for failure to report to session after an official communication sent to him to act accordingly.
Gen. Johnson was on Thursday prevented from entering the Joint Chambers where members of the majority bloc heading by Presiding Officer and Deputy Speaker, hands Barchue have been meeting for regular session.
He was told not to go anywhere around the chambers until his suspension is over. On August 11, 2016 the majority bloc sitting in session requested the Sergeant-At-Arm to report for work, but he allegedly refused on grounds that his allegiance was still with the indicted Speaker Alex Tyler, who had until yesterday, been consistently defiant to call from his colleagues lawmaker to recuse from office in order to exonerate himself from criminal charges brought against him by the government.
Under mounting pressure and unable to muster a two-third majority to legitimize his function as Presiding officer, Speaker Tyler eventually bowed, announcing that he was recusing himself from presiding, pending his trial.
According to report, Gen. Johnson refused to accept the communication, which obviously implied he did not recognize the authority of Deputy Speaker Barchue as Presiding Officer, although Barchue had the quorum (two-third majority) as required by the rule of the House hence, the majority bloc was left with no alternative but to have him reprimanded for demonstrating gross disrespect to the body.
The duties of the Sergeant-At-Arm are among others, to enforce the decision of plenary – the highest decision making body in the House and escort to prison those charge with contempt and sentenced under the House’s rules.
By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne