By Bill W. Cooper
A communication to invite the Justice Minister to explain reason why an autopsy has not been conducted on the Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent, Robert Toe, is seen as being strangulated by some members of the House of Representatives.
Assembled in their plenary’s 2nd sitting, the communication from the Grand Bassa County District #3 Representative, Mathew Joe, surfaced with a motion proffered by Montserrado County District #4 Representative, Rustonlyn Suakoko Dennis suggesting a buttress from her colleagues for the Minister Musa Dean to be held under contempt for “being selective in conducting or releasing an autopsy report of a citizen since his death two years ago.”
Rep. Dennis’ motion did not get seconded as several lawmakers took exception on grounds that it was out of order and violated Chapter 2, Rule 4 of their standing rules on Contempt Power.
Chapter 2, Rule 4 on Contempt Power states, “Contempt of the Legislature shall consist of actions which obstruct the Legislative function or which obstruct or impede members or officers of the Legislature in the discharge of their Legislative duties, and is punishable by a fine or not more than US$5,000 and/or imprisonment in a common jail for not more than one month or the duration of the current session of the House; after a hearing consistent with due process of law. Decisions rendered from contempt charges are not appealable.”
Speaker Bhofal Chambers seized the motion noting that, “Before one is held under contempt, that person needs to be heard as maybe there might be other factors and if the justification is not satisfactory to this body, he/she can now be held under contempt.”
Representative Joe’s communication to that august body is seeking the indulgence of his colleagues to invite Justice Minister Dean to explain why an announced autopsy has not been conducted on agent Toe since two year and the body is still in the custody of the government.
In his communication, Rep. Joe explained that it was since July 8, 2020, he wrote his colleagues explaining the Justice Ministry’s delays when the Bassa Legislative Caucus has similarly authorized the conduct of the autopsy on the Agent Toe whose death remains mysterious in Grand Bassa County.
He disclosed that the family of the deceased is now furious and are demanding that if the autopsy cannot be conducted, the government through the Justice Minister should allow them carry on the burial of their relative.
The Grand Bassa County lawmaker lamented that it is disheartening to have the remains of someone’s loved one deposited at a funeral home for two years without burial.
“It is against this backdrop that it will be prudent were the plenary to invite Cllr. Dean to explain why the autopsy has not been conducted so as to instruct the decease’s family to go ahead with the burial rites,” Rep. Joe expressed.
He added, “As we speak, this issue has caused a serious tension in my district; although Minister Dean promised us sometimes last year that he was going to release the autopsy report but because it has not been done, I am being pressured by my constituents.”
“Some of them on various media platforms are now accusing me of not doing anything to ensure that the autopsy is conducted so that the report can be published in order for the deceased family to carry on the peaceful burial of their love one and with this, I think it is time that we as lawmakers get to know what has been the actual cause behind the Justice Minister decision,” Rep. Joe intoned.
It can be recalled, the late DEA agent, Robert Toe mysteriously died in the City of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County two years, something which prompted serious agitation from citizens calling on the Liberia National Police for an speedily investigation as well as the conduct of an autopsy so to ascertain the actual cause of death in order for the perpetrator to be brought to justice.
Attempt To Invite Justice Suffocates In House
By Bill W. Cooper