Two ruling party legislators Tuesday filed a petition with the House of Representatives requesting Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh’s impeachment.
“The Supreme Court Judge has been involved in misconduct, abuse of office and power, fraud and corruption, Montserrado County and Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Representatives Acarous Gray and Thomas Fallah,” have alleged.
Ja’neh engages in fraudulent acquisition of land from the poor and hijacked the enforcement of a lower court verdict until the successful party that should have benefited one million United States died without getting his reward, the petitioners said.
According to the petitioners “Justice Ja’neh has reduced and exposed the judicial sanctity of the Supreme Court and his office to public ridicule and mockery by demonstrating in clear terms that justice is no longer blind but belong to those who can afford it either by the use of their powers or authority and for this reason, he must be investigated, impeached and removed from office.”
Article 71 of the country’s 1986 Constitution provides for the impeachment of the Chief Justice and Associates Justices of the Supreme Court and the judges of subordinate courts of record based on proved misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of their office, or conviction in a court of law for treason, bribery or other infamous crimes.
The CDC lawmakers argued constitutional guarantee of immunity to judges and justices under Article 71 of the Constitution is only sacrosanct when justices and judges express views or opinions or render judgments or rulings on matters of law by applying both statutory and customary laws in accordance with the standards enacted by the legislature. But the immunity is lost when they perform otherwise including proven acts of corruption and abuse of office.
Legal minds have also argued that unless the petitioners can prove that their charges against Justice Ja’neh is not merely political and not associated with his function and decisions as Associate Justice, he is, as well, protected by Article 73 of the 1986 Constitution, which states: “No judicial official shall be summoned, arrested, detained, prosecuted or tried civilly or criminally by or at the instance of any person or authority on account of judicial opinions rendered or expressed, judicial statements made or judicial acts done in the course of a trial in open court or in chambers, except for treason or other felonies, misdemeanor or breach of the peace. Statements made and acts done by such officials in the course of a judicial proceeding are privileged and subject to the above qualification. No such statements made or acts done shall be admissible into evidence against them at any trial or proceeding.”
The House’s plenary session has set-up a seven-person specialized committee to scrutinize the petition and report findings and recommendations to the body within three weeks within three weeks for legislative action.