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Prince Johnson Wants Weah Summoned …On LACC Chair’s Citizenship Issue

By Alex Yomah

Nimba County Senator, Prince Johnson has joined his colleagues in the Liberian Senate to unconditionally boot out the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission’s (LACC) Chairperson Austin Ndubusi Nwabudike.  

Senator Johnson’s alignment comes amidst fear of being booted out along with the 14 senators who will be seeking re-election in 2023 if they do not remove Nwabudike from the LACC.

Apparently, the Nimba County senator believes that Liberians expressed distrust in the Legislature evidenced by the election of two out of the 15 senators who went into their counties seeking to be retained during the just ended elections.

Making his contribution in session yesterday, Senator  Johnson  said the failure  for  this government  to remove  a non-citizen from  an integrity institution like the LACC, is not only a flagrant violation of the Constitution of Liberia  and slap in the faces of Liberians, but also  a high level  of insensitivity on the part of President George Weah who  has  the appointing and dismissal powers despite calls to have Nwabudike dismissed.

Sen. Johnson whose political party, the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) collaborated with the CDC in the just ended election to boot out the incumbent senator Thomas Grupee by the election of Jeremiah Koung, admonished his colleagues especially the new senators to shine their light more because Liberians have hope in them if they are to maintain their respect as senators.

“But for us who are going for election in 2023, the line is drawn on the issue of the LACC boss. This man is not a Liberian and he should have been booted out ever since. I don’t know whether he has something that makes him so in dear to the Executive,” he warned.

“We have the power to invite the President here if he refuses to remove this man from his position. We need to summon the President to tell us why he does not want to dismiss this man when it has been proven that he is not a citizen?” Sen. Johnson wondered.

The communication that sparked the debate to remove the LACC boss was written by Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon in which he craved the plenary’s indulgence to a take decision on Nwabudike’s citizenship.

“In June last year, the issue of Nwabudike is before this body to make a decision. Or else the Liberian people will not forgive us. This body confirmed Nwabudike to the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission. In my view, there was no sufficient information. But today we have information to take a position. The Executive says, the court of law hasn’t determined that Nwabudike is not a citizen of Liberia,” Dillon’s communication explained.

Dillon claimed that the Ministry of Justice has challenged Nwabudike that it is not aware of him being a citizen of Liberia. “We think the Liberian Senate, the leadership of this body has not only failed and refused but it has neglected to act on this issue,” the senator said.

Meanwhile other senators who injected their views were Sen. Daniel Naatehn who added, “I will place this Nwabudike’s issue at the feet of the leadership and since the discussion and confirmation report has not been placed in the plenary, because they do not his confirmation to be discussed.”

Grand Bassa County Senator Jonathan Kaipay’s contribution was, “I think the matter raised by Senator Dillon has been discussed for months. This plenary should take this matter from leadership to plenary. We have come from one session to another. We need to meet and take a decision on the matter.”

Senator Teahjay who headed the Committee on Autonomous and Agency that probed Nwabudike also expressed frustrations, stating that the “Liberian people are tired with this issue therefore let’s make a decision today and move on by communicating with the executive.”

Sen. Teahjay describes Nwabudike’s issue as more political than legal expressing, “Nwabudike produced three birthdays and we had to adjourn prematurely, so what are we waiting for to take decision? I don’t subscribe to legal technicality. We cannot sacrifice the integrity of this Senate because of friendship. We have to make sure and take our own decision.”

He disclosed that since his committee ended the public hearing on Nwabudike, a report was produced and unfortunately only one person has signed it and because of that, the committee is unable to submit the report to the leadership.

Meanwhile, a decision was reached  in session  to allow  the  Teahjay Committee Report to be submitted on next Thursday to leadership  for onwards submission to plenary for action. 

The issue of Nwabudike’s return to the LACC according to the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary Smith Toby’s justification is that because that is a tenure position, the President cannot take any action until his tenure expires.  

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