By R. Joyclyn Wea
The Supreme Court of Liberia has set the stage for this Thursday, October 18, 2018 to entertain arguments into Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh impeachment proceeding by members of the House of Representatives.
The high court on August 22, 2018 suspended legal arguments into Ja’neh impeachment temporarily. The Justice In-Chamber Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh placed stay order on the Legislature to discard all forms of impeachment proceeding against Associate Justice Ja’neh until the matter can be looked in by the court.
The decision to suspend the matter in August follows the alleged refusal of members of the House of Representatives to honor the high Court citation to appear before that honorable body to show cause why the petitioner petition as prayed for should not be granted as well as in preparedness by petitioner’s (Justice Ja’neh) counsels to file their legal brief and the Ministry of Justice which was invited by the high court to give expert opinion on the situation at hand.
It can be recalled the Honorable Supreme Court through its Justice in Chamber Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh on August 18, 2018 issued a writ of summon against the House of Representatives instructing both parties to return to status quo ante pending the disposition of the petition.
The Justice Yuoh further placed a stay order on the House of Representatives to stop all impeachment proceedings against Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh until the matter can be look in.
The Justice in chamber decision was based upon a writ of prohibition filed by legal counsel representing the interest of Associate Justice Ja’neh growing out of a petition for the impeachment of His Honor Kabineh Mohammed Ja’neh, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, for proved of ‘misconduct, abuse of public office, wanton abuse of judicial discretion, frauds, misuse of power.’
Wednesday August 22, 2018 was the date set for argument into the impeachment, but sadly House of Representatives did not show up but, instead wrote the Supreme Court warning the court to vacate the writ and avoid embarrassment to the sacred institution of the Supreme Court.
The house in its communication claimed that the writ violates Article 3 separations of powers clause, Article 42 immunities clause, Article 43 impeachment powers and a long line of cases and precedence in this jurisdiction and its progeny.
“You are therefore advised in the interest of our constitutional democracy and consistent with the separation of powers and checks and balances to vacate this writ and avoid embarrassment to the sacred institution of the Supreme Court,” the House communication further indicated.”
Petitioner lawyers for their part, pleaded with the court for time to do more research based upon the nature of the matter.
According to them, (Ja’neh lawyers), they received the court notice of assignment on Monday, August 20, 2018 mandating them to file their legal brief on the next day August 21, 2018 something which they claimed was responsible for failure to file their brief as instructed by the court.
Accordingly, the Supreme Court wrote the Ministry of Justice inviting the Solicitor General as an expert to give legal opinion on what is unfolding.
The MOJ was also invited by the court to give legal advice as to what the law says regarding impeachment but, MOJ appeared and informed the court that they needed time to research and come up with opinion in this matter.