8 June 2012

Liberia: Deputy Justice Minister Thrown Out of Senate Chamber

Deputy Justice Minister, Cllr. Freddie Taylor, was on Thursday June 7, 2012 thrown out of the Senate Chamber on grounds that he was not formally invited to appear before that august body. Deputy Justice Minister Taylor had gone to the Senate Chamber to proxy for his boss, Justice Minister Cllr. Christina Tah. Cllr. Tah was summoned by the Plenary of the Liberian Senate to appear before it on Thursday June 7, 2012. The plenary is the highest decision making body of the Liberian Senate.

Cllr. Tah was due to answer questions from the senators about why some armed officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU) of the Liberia National Police(LNP) are assigned with the embattled Monrovia Acting City Mayor, Mary T. Broh in addition to the Monrovia City Police.

The Senators, who Tuesday, June 5, 2012 caste a vote of no confidence in Madam Broh, observed that she has been using armed PSU officers in the enforcement of the Monrovia City Ordinance Number One.

Among other things, city ordinance number one calls for cleaning of the city as well as the free movement of people, particularly at key streets in the city where marketers or petit traders use for transactions thereby causing traffic congestion.

The senators are of the view that the presence of armed PSU officers with Madam Broh during intimidates the peaceful citizens.

Some senators observed that the Ministry of Justice, which has statutory responsibility over the LNP, has done nothing in reprimanding those police officers as it relates the enforcement of the city ordinance.

The senators further observed that most of the alleged brutal acts carried out by Madam Broh were backed by the Justice Ministry through the PSU.

The senators added that they intend to clearly establish the power of the Monrovia City Mayor and the constitutional mandate of the police regarding the enforcement of the city ordinance, particularly number one.

Several members of the Senate, including John A. Ballout, Dan Morias, and John Whitfield argued that the deputy Justice Minister appearance to proxy for his boss was not in keeping with the senate normal proceedings.

The senate therefore stopped the deputy Justice Minister from giving further reasons why his boss Cllr. Tah could not face the plenary of the Liberian Senate.

Meanwhile, the plenary of the Liberian Senate has rescheduled the appearance of Cllr. Tah anytime next week.

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