For His Link To Alleged Bribery, Parliament Divided Over Speaker “Recuing Himself” From Presiding Over Session

House Speaker, J. Alex Tyler
House Speaker, J. Alex Tyler

Several members of the House of Representatives are rejecting the presence of their Speaker, Alex J. Tyler to preside over regular session in the face of his alleged link to bribery allegation recently exposed by Global Witness, stressing that he should recues himself from presiding over session until he is exonerated from the allegation.

Speaking to reporter today at the Capitol, the official working place of the Liberian lawmakers, dozens of the Representatives including Tokpa Mulbah of Bong County called on their colleagues to continue their support against Speaker Tyler by rejecting him presiding over session at the National legislature.

The London-based Watchdog Group, Global Witness recently alleged that more than $950,000 in bribes and other suspicious payments were made to top Liberian officials including Speaker Alex Tyler by the Britain-based Sable Mining Company and its Liberian lawyer, Varney Sherman.

For his part, former House Speaker Edwin Snowe  of Montserrado County who is heading the group told reporters that he will proposed a legislation to compel Speaker Tyler to recues himself from presiding over session until he is exonerated from the bribery charges leveled against him by the GW.

Representative Gabriel Smith of Grand Bassa County also joined his colleagues for the House Speaker to recues himself from presiding over session.

But to the contrary, Grand Gedeh Alex Grant speaking on the issue rejected the call my his colleagues for the Speaker to recue himself from presiding, noting, “ This will be a bad precedent if the Speaker allow himself to be used by few group of lawmakers forcing him to recue himself from presiding over session. I will not support this call by my colleagues on this issue,” Representative Grant speaking on a local radio station noted.

The House of Representatives recently resolved to constitute an independent committee to probe the corruption allegation by Global Witness in a report released recently.

The international corruption watch group, Global Witness alleged in its report that top officials of the Liberian government, including House Speaker Alex Tyler, Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney Sherman, among others, took bribes from Sable Mining, a British mining company.

Global Witness said Sable Mining, through Cllr .Sherman, who served as its legal representative when it arrived in Liberia in 2010, dished out huge sums of money to officials to obtain mining rights to the Wologizi Mountain, which is believed to have a billion tons of iron ore.

The House’s decision to constitute a committee to probe these allegations, amidst concerns raised by Maryland County Representative, Bhofal Chambers, in a communication addressed to plenary.

Chambers in his communication said the report by Global Witness which implicated several public officials, including some members of the National Legislature, has the propensity to bring the Government to public ridicule.

Chambers stressed that such report also has the proclivity to demean the image of the Legislature, and thereby erode public trust and confidence in the honorable body.

He entreated the body to protect the public trust by instituting the necessary safeguards that will ensure an independent investigation of the matter so as to also protect the sanctity of the National Legislature.

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About Cholo Brooks 9281 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.