By Bill W. Cooper
The plenary of the House of Representatives has mandated its joint committees on Information and Judiciary to look into an allegation levied against that august body by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) former Commissioners, Cllr. Jerome V. Verdier.
The House took the decision yesterday, through a motion by Maryland County District 3 Representative, Isaac B. Roland and amended by Nimba County Rep. Samuel G. Kogar mandating the committees to investigate the allegation and report on Thursday for further action.
The lawmakers’ decision was however triggered by a compliant from Rep. Kogar in which he alleged that Cllr. Verdier, during the US congressional hearing on the Establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court accused the Legislature of taking money from the Executive Branch of Government to stall the establishment of the court in Liberia.
“Hon. Speaker and Distinguished Colleagues, to be exact, Cllr. Verdier clearly stated that the Legislature received about 1.5 million from the Executive in order to not pass the war crimes court and this statement from the former TRC boss is not only diminishing this august body but also has the propensity to enroll the high earned reputation that each of us earned from our electrics,” he stressed.
According to him, the platform used by Cllr. Verdier to spew out the allegation is worldwide; therefore, there is a need for the House to speedily issue a statement of rebuttal and make the TRC former boss to provide evidence concerning assertions made against them.
The Nimba County lawmaker explained further that no lawmaker has ever received a ‘dime’ from the Executive for the stalling of the War and Economic Crimes Court, clarifying that the US$15,000 that lawmakers recently received was a budgeted allocation for development in their respective counties.
Rep. Korgar added, “For one to insinuate that we as lawmakers received money from the Executive is something that should now meet the concern of all lawmakers and as such, Cllr. Verdier need to be invited by this body and show cause why he is indicting this body for something that never happened and this body should also come up with a formal communication reacting the assertion made.”
Montserrado County District 4 Rep. Rustolyn S. Dennis who is one of the lead campaigners for the establishment of court condemned the assertion made by the TRC former commissioner, noting that said allegation has already undermined the working of committee and the 54 lawmakers that have signed, stood and still standing for the court.
She added, “This is not about being personal or having hatred for anyone because some members of this House have stood, remain resolute and are also willing to support the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court. So for a counselor to go on such platform to spew lies against members of this body, this drastically affects our efforts.”
It can be recalled, Cllr. Jerome Verdier, during the US Congressional hearing on the Establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia, told panel on zoom that Liberians have lost trust in the Weah administration for what he termed as endemic corruption thereby citing the recent dishing of US$1.5 million and apportioning US$15,000 to each lawmaker.
Cllr. Verdier who is also the Director for the International Justice Group (IJG) then appealed to the U.S government to attach seriousness to the cry for justice in Liberia, maintaining, “Because the current government of our country is allegedly corrupt and does not want to institute justice because by doing so is indicting itself.”
Representatives Take Issue With Verdier’s Testimony On War Crimes Court Issue
By Bill W. Cooper