There appear to be a brewing tension up on Capitol Hill, the seat of Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and members of the Legislators as the sitting Vice President has dragged a staff of Deputy House Speaker Prince Moye to court over a Facebook post.
Mrs. Taylor, the estranged wife of jailed former President Charles Taylor and another representative of Bong County, Mr. Josiah Marvin Cole on June 12, last week dragged the Deputy Speaker who also hails from Bong County staff to court for what both officials term as criminal libel following a Facebook post on social media allegedly by the accused Aliue Sackor (alias ‘Haircrates Sackor’).
Information gathered by this paper suggests that Mr. Sackor was dragged before Associate Magistrate Judge William Capehart at the Gbarnga Magisterial Court in Bong County for criminal libel and criminal malevolence in violation of Section 11.11 and Section 11.3 (a) of the New Panel Code of Liberia.
In addressing the issue of presidential immunity in legal suits and proceedings in Liberia’s Constitution, Article 61 did not particularly name the Vice President of the Republic, but the Article says the President shall be immune from any suits, actions or proceedings, judicial or otherwise.
It says the President shall be immune from arrest, detention or other actions on account of any act done by him while President of Liberia pursuant to any provision of this Constitution or any other laws of the Republic.
But it concludes that the President shall not, however, be immune from prosecution upon removal from office for the commission of any criminal act done while President.
Some have concluded that the fact that the president is immune from lawsuits, the president cannot also sue, which they suggest might be the case with the Vice President.
But Vice President Taylor’s legal action against Mr. Sackor is reminiscent of former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s lawsuit in 2009 filed for Action of Damages against a local daily New Broom Newspaper.
Mrs. Sirleaf demanded up to US$5 million dollars after the paper published in September 2009 that she took US$2 million dollars bribe to award a contract. The latest case involves Vice President Taylor and Rep. Cole who have taken legal action against their kinsman on 12 June in Bong following a Facebook post reportedly on the page believed to be that of Mr. Sackor.In that post, he is alleged to have rained insults at Vice President Taylor and Rep. Cole.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley