West Africa: Rep. Hanson Kaizulu Cautions Govt to Honor ECOWAS Ruling On Ja'neh

Monrovia — Representative Mr. Hanson Kaizulu (District #17, Montserrado County) says the decision that led to the impeachment and removal of Justice Kabinah Ja'neh from the Supreme Court's bench should be seen as a collective responsibility and call on government to honor the ECOWAS court ruling on the matter.

Rep. Kaizulu said, though he and many of his colleagues stood against the decision to impeach the former Justice at the level of the House of Representatives, the majority decision is now the decision of the Legislature and the consequences should be addressed as a government.

"Fundamentally, I can tell you because we are with the House of Representatives and if even some of us went against the decision at the rudimentary, we take collective responsibility because majority took the decision and their concern base on the majority vote."

He told journalists Wednesday that he along with few of his colleague felt the decision for the impeachment was untimely and the substance were not enough to warrant his impeachment.

"Some of us at the time taught the decision to impeach Justice Ja'neh wasn't timely but the majority took the decision. There was no procedural error, what I think is that the substantive of the case was not enough to impeach him.

"I want to believe that Liberia should respect the ECOWAS Court because we are signatories to the protocol and for the fact that our representation was at the court hearings, it presupposes that we recognize the Court and it has made a decision that should be respected.

"ECOWAS has made tremendous sacrifices for Liberia and to downplay its ruling is not a good image for Liberia, we can negotiate with Justice Ja'neh."

ECOWAS ruling

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has ordered the Republic of Liberia to pay Counsellor Kabineh Muhammad Ja'neh, the sum US$200, 000 as reparation for moral prejudice suffered for the violation of his rights.

Delivering judgment on Tuesday in a case filed by Associate Justice Ja'neh, the Court also ordered the Republic of Liberia to restore, calculate and pay him all his withheld entitlements, including salaries, allowances and pension benefits as from the date of his impeachment to the date of notification of this judgment.

It further ordered his reinstatement as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court or in the alternative, to grant him the right to retire from service on the date of notification of this judgment with full pension benefits as if he had retired at the normal retirement age for justices of the Supreme Court.

Background of the Case

On March 29, 2019, Associate Justice Ja'neh was found guilty by the Senate following his impeachment by the House of Representatives in August 2018 on four counts, including his issuance of a writ of prohibition as petitioned by major petroleum dealers in the country to stop the government from collecting levy/taxes of US$0.25 (road fund) imposed on the pump price of petroleum products.

He was also accused of stealing the records of the House of Representatives and using his power to unlawfully claim the property of a woman believed to be in her 90s.

During the controversial impeachment trial which was presided over by Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., the Senate acquitted Ja'neh of all the charges, except, the road fund case, thus warranting his impeachment.

Ja'neh, through his lawyer prayed the Supreme Court not to admit the verdict into the Senate's records because the procedure used to impeach him was unconstitutional, but his request was denied. He vowed to seek redress at the ECOWAS Court.

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