LIBERIA: Impeached Justice Ja’neh Breaks Silence, Says Lawmakers ‘Violated’ His Rights
BAHN, April 17 (LINA) – Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Kabineh M. Ja’neh, has said that the members of the Legislature violated his rights to have impeached him, in a rare interview with reporters at his residence in Bahn, Nimba County.
Ja’neh’s conversation with the press was his first post-impeachment public comments, weeks after the quasi-judicial battle that ensued between his defense team and lawyers representing the House of Representatives, the crafters of the impeachment bill that later surfaced at the Senate.
Senators concurred with members of the House of Representatives on March 29 to oust Ja’neh from the Supreme Court Bench on grounds he granted a Writ of Prohibition petitioned by petroleum dealers in the country to stop the collection of levy or taxes of US$0.30 Road Fund imposed on the pump price of petroleum products.
He said his removal from office “was done hastily without any regard for the Constitution of Liberia.”
In his view, Ja’neh believes the penalty of impeachment and being barred from holding public office was hash in the given circumstance and the gravity of offense he might have committed.
He said that as per the verdict of the Senate, such offense warranted a reprimand or suspension, and not impeachment.
He asserted that the House of Senate, which has the sole responsibility to try all impeachments, according to Article 43 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, did not consider the constitutionality of the case, because, according to him, senators were in a hurry to conclude the trial.
“In this particular case, it appears that the Senate, in a hurry, hurry mood, forgot and did not pass any judgment upon me,” Ja’neh asserted.
When quizzed whether the first aspect of his impeachment by House of Representatives was politically motivated, Ja’neh said he did not see it having a political undertone.
“The issue is a constitutional matter and in my view, constitutional matters should not be viewed politically,” he added.
A bill of impeachment against Ja’neh was in August proffered by Montserrado lawmaker Moses Acarous Gray and co-sponsored by colleague Thomas Fallah, all of the Coalition for Democratic Change party, accusing him of several counts they said amounted to abuse of public office.