The House of Representatives says, nothing has changed its decision to continue its impeachment proceedings against three Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
Nimba County Representative Worlea Sayway Dunah who chairs the House’s powerful Judiciary Committee told Legislative Reporters Tuesday Article 43 and 71 of the 1986 constitution gave the Legislature the sole authority to investigate impeachment related allegations against the President, Vice President, and judges.
He said the legislature is simply asking the accused High Court Justices to “Come and explain why they think they should not be impeached on the allegation of misconduct among other accusations contained in the impeachment petition filed with the House.”
Representative Dunah said he has not heard any lawyer arguing that the Legislature is wrongly proceeding with the impeachment process.
“Things are on course,” he said as per the mandate given the committee, it is going to report to the plenary session Thursday for legislative action”
He confirmed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the religious community , the Traditional Chiefs, are mediating but noted mediation is normal in such situation.
House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay will handle the mediation issue but the judicial committee is reporting Tomorrow for action.
The Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives on August 4, served a write of summon on three Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia to appear for trial after five legislators accused the jurists of undermining the rule of law and filed petition with the House to draw a bill of impeachment against them.
Three Senators, H. Dan Morais (Maryland), Peter Coleman (Grand Kru), Jim Tornola (Margibi) and Representatives George Mulbah (Bong County) and Numene Bartekwa (Grand Kru) filed the petitioned on account of the Justices’ role in a July 19, 2017 ruling, which they claimed the High Court judges violated their “oaths of office by engaging in misconduct, gross breach of duty and exhibiting clear inability to perform functions of their offices as Associate Justices.”
The justices were given 10 days ending August 14 to respond to the charges contained in the impeachment petition. According to the impeachment rules and procedures, which the House plenary session adopted on August 8, following the August 14 deadline, the Judiciary committee will hold a preliminary hearing to afford the judges the opportunity to defend themselves against the allegations consistent with the constitutional requirement of due process.
Should the jurists fail to file their returns, a declaration of default will be rendered and a bill of impeachment drafted for debate and voting, the resolution reads. Up to press time there was no indication that the justices have responded to the allegations as requested.- Writes Alex Yomah