22 October 2018

Liberia: Total Falsehood - Speaker Chambers Denies Media Reports

"The Legislature shall assemble in regular session once a year on the second working Monday in January. The President shall, on his own initiative or upon receipt of a certificate signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of each House, and by proclamation, extend a regular session of the Legislature beyond the date for adjournment or call a special extraordinary session of that body to discuss or act upon matters of national emergency and concern". An Article 32 (a.b) of The Liberian Constitution

The Speaker of the House of Representatives at the National Legislature, Dr. Bhofal Chambers, has termed media reports that the lawmakers are demanding fee of US$10,000.00 each from the President before they reconvene as total falsehood.

According to Speaker Chambers, members of the 54th Legislature are willing and willfully decided to reconvene to enable them attend to critical national issues in the supreme interest of the country and its people.

Lawmakers here are currently enjoying their annual legislative break which will end in January 2019.

Recently some media institutions reported that the lawmakers were demanding a fee of US$10,000 each from the President before they reconvene.

Speaker Chambers challenged media institutions that are bent on providing fake information to present any piece of evidence depicting that they are requesting extra money to reconvene.

Contrary to the report, Speaker Chambers said the legislature will cut short its break and reconvene shortly.

Article 32 (a.b) of the Constitution say the Legislature shall assemble in regular session once a year on the second working Monday in January. The President shall, on his own initiative or upon receipt of a certificate signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of each House, and by proclamation, extend a regular session of the Legislature beyond the date for adjournment or call a special extraordinary session of that body to discuss or act upon matters of national emergency and concern. When the extension or call is at the request of the Legislature, the proclamation shall be issued not later than forty-eight hours after receipt of the certificate by the President.

During the House 6th special sitting on Friday, September 14, 2018, and in line with the House's rules; Speaker Chambers adjourned the House first session to resume on the second working Monday in January 2019.

The Legislature usually embarks on its annual break immediately after the passage of the National Fiscal Budget in August or September of each year.

In a separate development, the Speaker call on Liberians, especially those wearing political garments and wishing evil for Liberia to desist, as doing so is only intended to suffer ordinary citizens.

He wants Liberians rally around the Weah-led administration to ensure the government is successful.

The speaker reminded people he described as critics of the government to beware that no matter the negativity, the Weah-led administration is destined to succeed and will do just that to positively impact the lives of citizens.

He further indicated that, working to ensure the gap between the rich and the poor is narrow is high on government's Pro-Poor agenda as such there is a need for all to work to ensure the agenda is successful.

Touching on other critical national issues such as the ongoing investigation to ascertain facts surrounding the alleged disappearance of some Liberian dollars, the Speaker said the House will work to ensure facts surrounding the matter is established.

According to him, the House will present all necessary documents especially the much talked-about "authorization" to the Central Bank of Liberia. He clarified that records in the possession of the Legislature clearly shows that full authorization for the printing of the ten billion dollars did not come from the Legislature.

He therefore called on all to refrain from reaching conclusion outside of the investigation process. As speaker, Chambers said his hands are cleaned and have nothing to hide regarding shading what he know about the Legislature role in the entire saga.

According to him, at the end of the investigation, when the facts is established, those pointing accusing fingers at him will bow in shame as he has absolutely nothing to hide surrounding the missing money. The speaker said his hands are cleaned and the investigation will present the facts.

At the same time, the Speaker has disclosed that the ongoing impeachment proceeding against Associate Justice Kabineh Ja'neh is a done deal from the House of Representatives, stressing that the instrument is now before the Liberian Senate for hearing.

Speaker Chambers noted that the House has absolutely no intention whatsoever to appear elsewhere for any hearings aside from the Senate.

The Speaker's comments comes following the Supreme Court of Liberia decision to hear legal arguments into a petition seeking to prevent Associate Justice Kabineh Ja'neh's impeachment by the House of Representatives.

The court's decision was announced through a notice of assignment to the government and petitioner lawyers to appear last Thursday, October 18, 2018 for legal arguments in connection to the matter.

The Court has once again deferred the petition hearing to today Monday October 22, 2018 due to the government failure to file its legal briefs into the case.

On August 22, 2018, the Supreme Court suspended hearings into Ja'neh's petition proceeding after the government and petitioner lawyers pleaded with the court for additional time to ably file their legal brief.

Thursday's arguments were set despite the refusal of the House of Representatives to adhere to the Supreme Court's halt order.

Lawmakers from the House have hinted that the intervention by the court is in violation of the Constitution of Liberia that calls for separation of power.

Chambers said under the laws of Liberia, only the Legislature has the power to checkmate the other two branches of government.

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