30 May 2014

Liberia: Assassination Claim Under Probe

Reports of an imminent assassination conspiracy to unseat President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has reached the leadership of the Liberian Senate ordering an investigation with a Senator from Nimba county being implicated.

The decision for the probe was triggered by a communication from the Senate Committee on National Defense and Intelligence, Security and Veteran Affairs chaired by former rebel General, Senator Prince Johnson of Nimba County.

In his communication dated 26 May 2014 and read behind closed doors, Sen. Johnson highlighted the leadership of the Senate to immediately investigate Nimba County's junior Senator Thomas Grupee who publically linked Vice President Joseph Boakia as being involved in an imminent assassination conspiracy against the presidency ahead of presidential and general elections scheduled in 2017.

The purported statement by the Senator amounts to act of treason and breaches Article 76 (4) (5) which states: "attempting by overt act to overthrow the Government, rebellion against the Republic, insurrection and mutiny; and (5) abrogating or attempting to abrogate, subverting or attempting or conspiring to subvert the Constitution by use of force or show of force or any other means which attempts to undermine this Constitution."

Sen. Johnson's letter, a copy of which is in possession of New Democrat quotes the Nimba Senator and former General as saying that "said matter is worthwhile to profit by examples of September 11 attacks in the United States and the attacks on Northern Nigeria by Boko Haram, among others."

"This matter should not b taken lightly," he urged his colleague senators yesterday. According to Sen. Johnson, these "horrendous acts" have often been accompanied by forewarnings which in past were overlooked by national securities including the media. "This House of Elders must therefore be proactive and act now in this regard before it is too late," Sen. Johnson's letter said. The discussion, which was held behind closed door according to our reporter, later saw members of the Senate ordering the investigation of Senator Grupee, a senate source hinted.

Senate sources quoted some senators as saying that the matter was grave because it borders on the integrity of the Vice President and blemish his political future.

Heated arguments later ensured in the chambers of the Senate between the two Nimba County Senators, with Senator Grupee declining to submit to the ordered said investigation. Several other Senators were seen intervening into the matter aimed at restoring peace and harmony between the two Nimba senators. However, attempts to get words from Senator Grupee failed as he walked out of the Senate Chambers yesterday in protest. This is not the first time, assassination reports are being reported against the presidency. In one instance several months ago, an official from the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) accused Defense Minister Brownie Samaukai of plotting to overthrow the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Although he denied the report, the matter is yet to be decided by the court.

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