– Lawmakers threaten
Some Lawmakers on Capitol Hill in Monrovia are threatening to prevent President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s annual State of the Nation Address, if embattled House Speaker J. Alex Tyler remains in office on the fourth working Monday, January 26, 2015.
After an alleged attack against Speaker Tyler compelled the House to adjourn session yesterday, Nimba County Representative Samuel Coakar told a live interview aired on Radio LIB 24, that “except… different person presides on that day, we’re going to prevent” the nationwide address,” emphasizing that he and other disgruntled members of the House of Representatives have tried to prevent Speaker Tyler from presiding because of ‘his criminal motive’.
“… Basically, I want to tell you that this [is] very clear that Speaker Tyler, the President of the Republic of Liberia will not be reporting to the people of Liberia before Speaker Tyler’s throne,” said Rep. Coakar.
In line with Article 58 of Liberia’s 1986 Constitution, the President has a mandate to report to the Legislature on the state of the Republic on the fourth working Monday in January of each year.
Representative Coakar of Nimba County and two others of Montserrado County- Henry Fahnbulleh and former dethroned House Speaker Edwin Snowe, were leading a desperate campaign against the Speaker over claims of his failure to appear before Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission or LACC to answer to corruption allegations.
As it stands, Rep. Coakar has admitted that “the House is divided” because he and his colleagues insist that Speaker Tyler submits himself to the LACC investigation, while some of their colleagues, who claim to be in the majority in support of Speaker Tyler, hold different view that he could not be charged simply on grounds of alleged procedural error in requesting for $25,000.
The Speaker began facing corruption allegations last year after allegedly using his personal cash to make advance payment to lawyers for services they were asked to render in a nationwide oil consultation, to be reimbursed upon receipt of their funds from the National Oil Company of Liberia or NOCAL.
“The man had lied to the public that at no point in time that he received communication from the LACC inviting him for investigation. I have in my possession a letter that was written by the LACC… inviting the Speaker to give clarification as it relates to the [ordeal]- the contract between those three lawyers,” Coakar claimed.
He said they requested that the Speaker withdraws himself from presiding because he had a “tainted record”, and upon the conclusion of the investigation, they will be determining whether he will remain or not.
Earlier, Representative Henry Fahnbulleh described Speaker Tyler as a coward for adjourning session during the tussle that erupted in session yesterday, claiming further that the Speaker went wrong in the order of the agenda.
“The Speaker is a coward… [He] adjourned the session; I thought he was man enough. … The Speaker went wrong in the order of the agenda,” he said, adding that they had a petition on the agenda that needed to be read first.