Legislators Petition Impeachment Proceedings Against 3 Associate Justices

What appears as clash of power is looming between the National Legislature and the Supreme Court following a petition for impeachment proceeding by some members of the National Legislature against three associate justices of the Supreme Court’s bench

In a petition signed by Senators Dan Morias, Peter Coleman, Jim Tornola and Representatives Numene Bartekwa and George Mulbah, the petitioners alleged Associates justices Philip AZ Banks, III, Jamesetta Howard-Wolokollie and Kabineh Ja’Neh all of the Supreme Court of ‘misconduct.

The petitioners also alleged those members of the Supreme Court bench of violation of their oaths of office by engaging in misconduct; gross breach of duty and exhibiting clear inability to perform the functions of their offices as associate justices.

They indicated that their decision arise out of the most recent decisions of the Supreme Court in which the three associate justices by their opinion and judgments in cases involving the Code of Conduct enacted by the National Legislature in May 2014, sought and did effectively usurp the powers and authority of the Legislature to make and thereby made ineffective and virtually null and void the code of conduct.

In their wisdom, the petitioners want these associate justices to show cause if any, why they should not be impeached and removed from their offices as associate justices of the Supreme Court.

They argued that the country has three distinct branches, but coordinating branches which have to do with checks and balances as provided for in the constitution.

The Constitution further provides that the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of Subordinate courts of records shall hold office during good behavior and they may be removed upon impeachment and conviction by the Legislature based on proved misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of their office.

And the power to prepare a bill of impeachment is vested solely in the House of Representatives and the power to try all impeachments is vested solely in the senate.

The Petitioners’ Arguments:

They argued that the Supreme Court has since considered the constitutionality of the National Code of Conduct, meaning all clauses in the law are considered for legal implementation ahead of the much anticipated elections.

The petitioners further argued that the decision to clear Harrison Karnwea, the vice running mate to Cllr. Charles Brumskine of the Liberty Party to contest despite resigning less than two years as well as Ambassador Jeremiah Sulunteh, Dr. J. Mills Jones and others is a breach to the law.

The petitioners want these associate justices to show cause if any, why they should not be impeached and removed from their offices as associate justices of the Supreme Court.

After the reading, a motion was filed by Bong County electoral district#5 Representative Edward Karfiah for the petition to be sent to the committee on judiciary to report in one week and copy of the petition be given to each member of that august body for perusal and make an informed decision after the one week.

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About Cholo Brooks 12206 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.