SOURCE: AFRED CHEA
In recent times, some members of the House of Representatives have been working towards the impeachment of one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia, His Honor, Kabinah Ja’neh.
In an impeachment bill recently submitted to the Plenary, the highest decision-making body of the Lower House, (House of Representatives), two sitting Lawmakers including Acarous Moses Gray and Thomas P. Fallah of Montserrado County District Eight and Five respectively made a number of serious and hard-hitting allegations against Justice Ja’neh.
According to Reps. Gray and Fallah, both of whom are also top Executives of the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Justice Ja’neh has “committed a serious official misconduct by engaging in a wanton and unsavory exercise of his judicial discretion, far exceeding the bounds of elementary judicial interpretation of issues simply to satisfy his personal ego.”
Additionally, the two Representatives alleged in the impeachment bill that Justice Ja’neh has committed “proved misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of his office by allowing justice to be served where it belongs no matter the status of the party affected.”
For us, at the INSIGHT, we think that the allegations flagged by the two sitting Lawmakers against the High Court’s Associate Justice are not only weighty but have the potential to bring into serious question and put to public disrepute the credibility, integrity, trust, and confidence of Justice Ja’neh.
This is why we feel that such allegations need not to be swept under the carpet but scrupulously and fairly investigated and proven in a court of competent jurisdiction since under the Liberian law an accused person is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
It is in this direction that we had thought over the last few days, and still thinking, that the Honorable House of Representatives needs to cooperate with the Supreme Court as regards the stay order on Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment.
The stay order which was placed on August 18, 2018, through the High Court’s Chamber Justice, Her Honor, Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh, cautioned the House of Representatives not to go ahead with the impeachment proceeding against Justice Ja’neh, pending an outcome of a hearing by the High Court.
Although we are not lawyers, we think it would have been more prudent and in the best interest of both the accused and the accusers for such hearing by the Supreme Court to have been confronted with the merits and demerits of the allegations levied against Justice Ja’neh with the court giving its position as regards the stay order on the matter.
But, as the situation is at the moment, with the House of Representatives contending never to comply with the Supreme Court’s stay order on Ja’neh impeachment, many ordinary Liberians and other stakeholders are wondering as to the direction the nation is heading.
Already, there are increasing perceptions in some quarters of the Liberian nation that the pending impeachment action against the Supreme Court Justice is nothing less than a calculated ploy and ‘political witch-hunt’ which have the proclivity to seriously endanger the hard-earned peace and stability that the Liberian nation currently enjoys.
For instance, the Elders, Women, Youth and Citizens of Nimba County, in a recent statement, characterized the call for Associate Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment as not only “unconstitutional” but also a “political maneuver.”
While re-affirming support to the democratically elected government of President George Manneh Weah, trusting that the Liberian Government will promote peace, reconciliation, unity and integration, under the rule of law, Nimbainas, among others, called on President Weah to ensure that the gains the nation has made over the past decade in participatory democracy will continue to grow according to the expectations of the Liberian people and the international community.
They called on the Liberian leader, to intervene with respect to the Ja’neh impeachment call.
At the same time, we, at the INSIGHT, think that Justice Ja’neh should see it necessary and morally right to demand cogent, irrefutable and prima faci evidence of the allegations levied against him in the performance of his constitutional duties as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
We say this simply because, if nothing is done to establish the truth and/ or falsity in the claims against him, it may sooner or later help to place a big dent of suspicion and misgiven to the already questionable integrity of the nation’s judicial system.
Such move on the part of the accused Supreme Court Associate Justice, in our candid opinion, will go a long way in strengthening and consolidating his credibility, trust, and integrity.
This means, both Justice Ja’neh and his accusers must ensure that justice takes its course in this matter.
This is our plea aimed at safeguarding the nation’s hard-won peace and democracy characterized by the rule of law.