Drama unfolded Thursday, 9 June at the chambers of the House of Representatives when members of the House resisted conduct of regular session on grounds that embattled Speaker Alex Tyler failed to provide the agenda for the sitting.
The lawmakers in their numbers claimed rules of the House of Representatives call for agenda to be served to each lawmaker a day before their regular sitting pn Tuesdays and Thursdays, but Speaker Tyler failed to follow such rule.
Severe heat took over the chambers when the Liberia Electricity Corporation or LEC failed to supply electricity to the entire building. The lawmakers argued normal business of the plenary cannot be done in the dark and as such, it was expedient to postpone session to next Tuesday.
Tyler, who found himself in an uncomfortable situation for the first time since the Global Witness report linking him and several others to receiving bribes, could not control the drama, as members who are not loyal to him continue with their disobedience attitude in the presence of the Speaker.
Speaker Tyler with no option requested Grand Gedeh County Representative Zoe Emmanuel Pennue to move for adjournment, but why Rep. Pennue was in the process of making the motion, some members had already walked out of the chambers.
Speaking to reporters after session, Montserrado County Electoral District #6 Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe, said Tyker’s insistence to preside despite his scandal record from Global Witness is embarrassing for the entire country.
He promised to combat Speaker Tyler’s administration morally and legally, stressing that it is morally downward for a senior government official to be in this international bribery case and wantonly battling to preside over an honorable body such as the House of Representatives.
Global Witness, alleging that more than $950,000 in bribes and other suspicious payments were made to top Liberian officials by the Britain-based Sable Mining Company and its Liberian lawyer, Varney Sherman, is reportedly on the verge of indicting at least four persons named in the report.
The report uncovered that over US$950,000 in bribes and other suspicious payments were made in an effort to secure one of Liberia’s last large mining assets, the Wologizi iron ore concession in northern Liberia. House speaker Alex Tyler is alleged to have received US$75,000 as ‘consulting fees’ out of the US$950,000 provided by the company. Since the release of the report, there have been mixed reactions and political in-fights relating to the exposure of a corruption syndicate by the UK-based watchdog group.
Speaker Tyler’s alleged involvement in a US$25,000 scandal from the now bankrupt National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) in 2015 was a serious controversy under investigation by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) which almost led to his removal.
Tyler, having been arrested by Criminal Court “C” based on request by the Special Presidential taskforce constituted by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to immediately investigate the Global Witness report and those accused, he presided over the House’s Plenary 24 hours later on Thursday and announced his own probe without any remorse.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor -Editing by Jonathan Browne