National Patriotic Party (NPP) Chairman Mr. John Gray says prior to the split in the NPP, embattled former Secretary General James Biney signed the party’s amended constitution which was later used by the National Executive Committee to expel him (Biney).
The former Liberian Vice President testified Wednesday, 19 December at ongoing hearing at the National Elections Commission (NEC) which falls out of the crisis within the former ruling party of imprisoned former President Charles Ghankay Taylor.
According to Mr. Gray, the NPP’s amended Constitution empowers the executive committee to expel party officials and members, adding that Biney is a signatory to it.
Mr. Biney and former President Taylor’s estranged wife, Vice President Jewel Howard – Taylor are fighting for control of the party, with each controlling a faction of the NPP.
Biney was still battling his expulsion from the NPP when he and his loyalists retaliated by expelling Madam Taylor as party standard bearer, a decision she challenges.Mr. Biney is claiming wrongful expulsion from the NPP by the Taylor faction.
Some of the instruments presented to Mr. Gray by the hearing officer includes a copy of the NPP’s 2016 Amended Constitution, complaint, resolution of the National Executive Committee and guidelines, among others.
He confirms these instruments as legitimate, and discloses that the expelled party Secretary General Mr. Biney was given due process.Biney has denied this claim, saying he was never provided due process.
Mr. Gray testifies that Mr. Biney was written to by the Grievance and Ethics Committee, requesting his appearance, but he allegedly failed to honor the committee’s invitation.The witness says several other options were put forth by the committee, affording Mr. Biney the opportunity to defend himself but also allegedly refused to appear to make his case.
Gray narrates that to the surprise of the NPP, Biney decided to single handedly conduct his own convention in Bentol City outside of the party National Executive Committee’s endorsement. He says this action contravenes the NPP Constitution. The witness continues that Biney’s refusal to appear for the investigation necessitated a judgment by default against him in keeping with the party’s guidelines and constitution.
The Chairman of NPP’s Grievance and Ethics Committee that probed Mr. Biney is expected to testify in the case.Meanwhile, the Taylor faction NPP’s lawyers have requested the NEC to place a mark of identification on all the instruments confirmed in line with the legal procedures.
By Emmanuel Mondaye–Edited by Winston W. Parley