4 August 2017

Liberia: Five Liberian Lawmakers Want Justices of Supreme Court Impeached

Photo: The New Dawn
The Supreme Court of Liberia.

Monrovia — Five out of 103 members of Legislature have submitted a petition for the impeachment of three Justices of the Supreme Court bench.

They include; His honor Kabineh Ja' Neh, Her Honor Jamesetta Howard-Wollokollie and His Honor Philips A.Z .Banks, III.

The Lawmakers include Senators Dan Morais, (NPP, Maryland County), Peter Coleman, (CDC, Grand Kru County) and Jim Tornola (PUP, Margibi County). Others are Representatives Numene Bartekwa, (MPC, Grand Kru County) and George Mulbah (NPP, Bong County).

The lawmaker in their petition accused the Justices of the Supreme Court of violating their oaths of office by engaging in misconduct, gross breach of duty and exhibiting clear inability to perform the functions of their offices as Associate Justices.

"Our petition arises out of the most recent decisions of the Supreme Court, in which these three Associates Justices, by their opinions and Judgements in cases involving the Code of Conduct enacted by the legislature in May 2014," they noted in their petition.

The lawmakers in their petition said the Code of Conduct sought and did effectively usurp the powers and authority of the Legislature to make law and thereby made ineffective and virtually null and void the Code of Conduct.

"We petition you to cite theses Justices to show cause, if any, why they should not be impeached and removed from their offices as Associate Justices of the Supreme Court.

The petition was sent to the Judiciary committee of both houses," the petition noted.

Recently Senator Dan Morias (NPP-Maryland County) threatened to file an injunction against NEC at the Supreme Court if it includes names which weren't on the provisional list.

The Maryland County lawmaker also called for the suspension of the Code of Conduct because, according to him, it is becoming a fallacy.

"Let me put the elections Commission on notice and by extension the Supreme Court that when the final listing comes out and we see names appearing that did not appear on the provisional listing, we will file a protest and seek an injunction from the supreme court from moving forward.

The Liberian Constitution further provides that the chief Justice and Associate Justices of Supreme Court and Judges of subordinate courts of record shall hold office during good behaviour.

They may be removed upon impeachment and conviction by the Legislature based on proved misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of their office.

The Liberian constitution provides that Liberia is a unitary sovereign state divided into counties for administrative purposes.

The form of government is Republican with separate coordinate branches: the legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary.

Consistent with the principles of separation of power and checks and balances no person holding office in one of these branches shall hold office in or exercise any of the powers assigned to either of the other two branches except as otherwise provided in this constitution and no person holding office in one of the said branches shall serve on any autonomous public agency on all legislations.

The Liberia constitution also provides that legislative (law-making) power of the Republic shall be vested in the Legislature of Liberia which shall consist of two separate houses; a senate and a House of Representatives, both of which shall pass on all legislation.

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