By Grace Q. Bryant & Bill Cooper
The Justice-in-Chambers has cited members of the House of Representatives to a conference schedule for Thursday, April 22, by 3:00 P.M. at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.
But following the court’s notice of intervention aimed at reaching an amicable solution, the Montserrado County District 10 Representative, has also vowed to attend session tomorrow, Tuesday, April 20 following.
In an interview with journalists at his Old Road residence over the weekend, Yekeh guaranteed residents of his District that he will be present in session on Tuesday, due to the House Speaker’s decision to reopen session on April 20, following the Easter break.
“Following a brief visit by my constituents, I am here today to say that I Yekeh Kolubah will be in session on Tuesday. My reliance is based on the law because there is a law in Liberia and the Supreme Court will rule by law. We don’t want anything to get out of hand, because the people are suffering. There’s no money, no food to eat and everybody has turned to sellers and no buyers anymore,” Yekeh intimated.
“We also have a proceeding ongoing and hopefully, we will be going to the Supreme Court to seek redress because no law should have a conflict with the Constitution of Liberia and not even my colleagues’ action will stop me from attacking the Presidency. Any time the President throws talk on me, I will do the same,” the Montserrado County lawmaker vowed.
“I am not going for the Presidency but after the individual who got in his official car and went to the Congress for Democratic Change headquarters and said he did not go there as President, which is reducing the Presidency to a ‘musician house’,” he said.
According to Yekeh, the suspension levied on him by his colleagues has elevated his manner of behavior to “Ambassador Weah”, who he said usually throws talk on him, emphasizing, “Amb. Weah is my friend and we are just throwing talks on each other, that’s all.”
The District 10 Rep. further stated, “I was elected like you, Ambassador Weah, and you can’t denigrate the seat of District 10 because if you do, I will disrespect you. I stand by my statement and do not have any regret. Again, I will be working on Tuesday because those people want to satisfy you. My lawyers are working.”
He added, “Although Rep. Acarous Moses Gray said the Supreme Court will send me back because it has no jurisdiction over the House; I, Rep. Kolubah do believe that the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the House because that place is not a country.”
“We respect the Supreme Court because I went there and defeated the government. You look at unserious people and call them lawmakers; how can you close the session today and open on Tuesday? The CDC lawmakers are jokers and I will show them something in Liberia,” Yekeh stressed.
It can be recalled that lawyers representing the Representative of District 10 Yekeh Kolubah prayed the Supreme Court to issue the Writ appropriate to stop what he termed as an illegal act by the House of Representatives to suspend him for 30 days.
The Lawyers, Cllrs. Jimmy Saah Bombo and Lavela Supuwood filed a seven-count petition to the Associate Justice in Chambers, Joseph Nagbe requesting him to grant all that seem legal and equitable.
The petitioner stated Article 20(a) of the Constitution which stated that, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, security of the person, property, privilege or any other right except as the outcome of a hearing judgment consistent with the provisions laid down in this Constitution and in accordance with due process of law. Justice shall be done without sale, denial or delay; and in all cases not arising in courts not of record, under courts martial and upon impeachment, the parties shall have the right to trial by jury.”
The petitioner further explained that the Rules and Procedures of the House of Representatives provided in Rule 48.1 states that “The House shall take disciplinary measures against any member who violates or fails to comply with the House Ethics and Procedure specified in this rule.” In furtherance, the petitioner said that 48.2 also states that “Where any member is aware of the existence of a breach of the code of conduct and procedure, he/she may request the House to take the necessary disciplinary measures against any member who is alleged to have committed the breach.”
“In support of Article 20(a) of the Constitution, the House’s Rule 48.4 states that “The Speaker shall refer the matter to the Committee on Rules and Order, the House after examining the report and recommendation submitted, shall render its decision; and the decision is final,” and Rule 48.5 says “Any member against whom the request which demands the taking of disciplinary step is presented, has the right to due process of law.”
According to the petitioner, he received a letter from the Respondent under the signature of Mildred N. Sayon, Chief Clerk indicating that, “The petitioner has been suspended by the Honorable House of Representatives for 30 days of meeting/session of the Honorable House beginning Tuesday, April 13, without salaries, allowances and immunities. Attached hereto and marked as Exhibit “P/1” is copy of the suspension letter to form a cogent part of this proceeding.”
The petitioner explained that he was denied his right to due process as provided by the rules and procedure that govern the House of Representatives and that Rule 48.3 requires that “the request to be presented pursuant to Chapter XI of this rule shall be in writing and submitted to the Speaker together with the evidence,” and Rule 48.4 compared the Speaker to refer the matter to the Committee on Rules and Order. However, contrary to this rule on due process, the Respondent failed, refused and neglected to submit the matter to the Committee on Rules and Order to investigate the matter in keeping with the House Rules and Procedure.
The petitioner added that a complaint was filed with the Honorable House of Representatives (Respondent) against the Petitioner and that the complaint was neither submitted to the Committee on Rules and Order, as prescribed by the rules and procedure of the respondent nor did the Rules and Order Committee submit report and recommendation to be examined by the House to render a final decision.
The petitioner expressed that the respondent (House of Representatives) rendered final decision against the petitioner without the guide on due process as prescribed in the Rules and Procedure of the Honorable House of Representatives. More to that, there had been no investigation done by the Committee responsible to authenticate the truthfulness of the allegation.
For emphasis, Rule 48.4 says “The Speaker shall refer the matter to the Committee on Rules and Order, the House after examining the report and recommendation submitted, shall render its decision; and the decision is final.” Attached hereto and marked as Exhibit “P/2” as copy of the complaint against the Petitioner to form a cogent part of this proceeding.”
The petitioner also said that the penalty imposed by the respondent for the alleged act of the petitioner is vague and ambiguous. That is to say, what constitutes 30 days of meeting while Rule 2 says “daily sessions of the House of Representatives shall be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week from the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., at which time roll call and votes are taken, while Mondays and Wednesdays are set aside for committees’ meetings and Fridays to be observed for constituency business.” By this rule, it implies that there are 16 meetings/sessions in a month.
Meanwhile, instead of the appropriate Writ, the Justice in Chambers has deemed it expedient to call the concerned parties to a conference.