By Tina S. Mehnpaine
Sen. Prince Y. Johnson
… in Ja’neh’s impeachment case
Nimba County Senator Prince Yormie Johnson has admitted that the Senate and the Government acted without wisdom in impeaching former associate justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh.
The impeachment, according to Senator Johnson has cast a dark cloud over the country’s judicial credibility, therefore, the government should see reasons to either reinstate Ja’neh or give his incentives to him so that the country can be saved from “this shame.”
“We acted wrongly, we acted without wisdom and our action has cast a dark shadow over Liberia,” Senator Johnson admitted in his Chapel of Faith Ministry on Sunday, November 15, 2020.
Sen. Johnson added, they will begin negotiation with Justice Ja’neh in a few weeks from now in Nimba County. “We will be holding negotiation with Kabineh; he’s is a son of Nimba and the son of Liberia as well. We acted wrongly.”
However, Sen. Johnson admission of guilt has been rebutted strongly by Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephas, the Solicitor General of Liberia who has refused to accept the ECOWAS Court of Justice ruling that the Republic of Liberia pay Counsellor Ja’neh, an impeached Judge of the Supreme Court of Liberia, the sum of US$200,000 as reparation for moral prejudice suffered for the violation of his rights or reinstatement.
“As you may know, judgment was rendered against the government and the general impression created was that the Republic of Liberia has lost the case that is not the case,” Cllr. Cephas said.
According to Cllr. Cephas, the impeachment case between the Liberian government and the ECOWAS Court of Justice has no precedence before the court and as such, the government is going to file a petition for judicial review on the numbers fundamental issues of the matter, which they considered as wrong judgment.
“See, all the cases the ECOWAS court cited in the writ of execution are all criminal cases. This case was an impeachment case. It was a political trial,” Cephas said.
On March 29, 2019, former Justice Kabineh Ja’neh was impeached by the National Legislature after being investigated for “Misconduct, abuse of public office, wanton abuse of judicial discretion, fraud, misuse of power and corruption.” The impeachment proceedings, as required by the Liberian Constitution, began in the House of Representatives and was led by Montserrado County District #8 lawmaker Acarous Gray, a staunch member of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change and true loyalist of President George Weah.
The proceeding ended up in the Senate and was presided over by Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, and Senators Prince Johnson and Thomas Grupee, despite resistance by their fellow members of the Nimba County legislative caucus that the proceeding was unconstitutional, proceeded to vote in favor of impeaching Ja’neh, thereby raising public outcries that they allegedly received bribes from the Executive to vote against Kabineh Ja’neh.
Ja’neh and his legal team, not content with the proceedings, went to the ECOWAS Court, where justice was served in his favor. According to the court’s ruling, the government is to provide US$200,000 as reparation for Ja’neh, reinstate him with retroactive payments of all his salaries and benefits, or give him US$25 million if the government cannot reinstate him. The court has also warned that if its ruling is not adhered to, ECOWAS stands ready to impose sanction on Liberia, a big blow that the government and people of Liberia will receive as the fragile peace here is held firmly by this regional grouping, which role in the Liberian civil crisis is laid in history.
The government, represented by its Solicitor General, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus has argued that the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain argument or rule on the suit filed by Cllr. Kabineh M. Ja’neh that his impeachment violated his human rights, particularly the right to a fair hearing and impartial trial.
The ECOWAS Court of Justice also denied arguments from the Government of Liberia that the regional court is “Incompetent to review, interpret, and apply the national constitution and domestic laws of Member States.”
Preaching on the theme: “Lord teach us to number our days so that our hearts can gain wisdom”, Senator Johnson said if indeed they had wisdom, they could not have impeached Ja’neh not knowing that there is another higher court called the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) Court of which Liberia is a member. “The ECOWAS Court of justice is an international court; so, whatever decision they came up with is binding upon us as a nation to comply with,” he added.
Senator Prince Y. Johnson, the general overseer of the Chapel of Faith Ministry on Weaver Street in the LBS Community in Paynesville, said it is time for Liberia to operate in wisdom just as King David prayed to God in the book of Psalm 90:10-12.
Culled Daily Observer.