The whereabouts of House Speaker Alex Tyler are becoming the concerns of Liberians a week after he sought excuse to go for medical checkup outside of Liberia.
According to a local daily, quoting sources closed to the Speaker closed aids and confidants of the embattled House Speaker Alex Tyler have revealed that he is still in Monrovia contrary to claims that he has left the country for medical checkup outside.
Reasons for his stay in the country instead of departing country as was requested from his colleagues after his recusal as Speaker are due to alleged refusal by the Division of Passport at the Foreign Ministry to renew his diplomatic passport which reportedly expired.
All government officials, especially at the senior levels carry diplomatic passports which give them undue advantages in some cases, to the extent where they are not subject to the routine checks, mainly at the Roberts International Airport (RIA).
Though this paper could not get words from authorized officials at the Passport Division to ascertain the information, it is alleged the decision was based on the fact he remains indicted by the State, the reason for which he was forced to recuse himself from presiding over Plenary of the House of Representatives.
But whether it is the passport division clothed with such powers to deny him the rights to travel by renewing his passport or the court that is hearing the case remains the sticky question.
As per standard, any indicted person seeking travel opportunities should be granted such by the court that is trying him/her. It is alleged the Speaker’s passport could not be renewed on grounds that he remains indicted as the case is pending before the court.
The source further said that had the Ministry renewed the indicted Speaker’s book, it could have somehow helped him leave the country, while he is standing trial.
In similar fashion, activist Vandalark Patrick who was indicted by the state sometimes ago was prevented from leaving the country to seek medical attention.
He was facing label charges brought against him by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Patrick eventually left the country when the court after reviewing his health situation allowed him to do so.
Speaker Tyler, former chairman of the ruling Unity Party and Senator of Grand Cape Mount County, Cllr. Varney Sherman and several others were indicted for numerous charges ranging from criminal conspiracy and economic sabotage in connection to the Global Witness bribery scandal.
According to court experts or lawyers, the recues and indicted Speaker cannot leave the country to seek medical checkups while he is indicted without the consent of the court, nothing that it is the court that is to allow him to travel through his lawyer based on medical reports.
The recused Speaker had already written the plenary of the House of Representatives acknowledging that body of his travel to enable seek medical treatment which according to him has long been overdue.
Tyler took the decision about three days after he decided to recuse himself as was demanded by some of his colleagues. Tyler in the communication to plenary said he was to travel on September 6, 2016 but up this publication he is still in the country.
“I present my compliments and inform you that I will be travelling out of the country for my medical checkup which is overdue. I will be leaving on Tuesday September 6, 2016 and shall be away for approximately six weeks,” he said in the communication to plenary.
Meanwhile, when contacted, the office of the Speaker, his chief of office staff, Edwin Clarke told journalists that the recused speaker was at no point in time denied renewal of his passport and that he is still in the country.
“The Speaker was never denied the renewal of his book. Though he said he will be traveling, but he has not yet left. He is to leave very soon for his medical checkup as he said in his communication to his colleagues,” the COS in the office of the Speaker told journalists Monday at his Capitol Building office in Monrovia.
Information about him being in the country was confirmed by some of his aides who could also not confirm reports of his passport not being renewed.
This article was contributed by Jackson C. Clay, Jr (New Republic Newspaper)