Monrovia – The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chief Justice have held talks behind closed door, the first of such meeting by heads of the two branches of government in recent history.
The meeting which brought Chief Justice Francis Korkpor and Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay comes on the backdrop of series of power struggles at the House of Representatives, with many members of House, including ousted Speaker J. Alex Tyler, seeking the intervention of the Supreme Court.
The rare meeting was held Tuesday on the ground floor of the Temple Justice, during which time Chief Justice Korkpor called on members of the House of Representatives to avoid court action in addressing on matters of conflict at the Legislature. He admonished them to rather resolve their conflicts internally.
Tyler’s ousting sparked a national debate after the Supreme Court under the gavel of Associate Justice Sie-Nyeneh Youh denied the Bomi County lawmaker’s petition for a writ of prohibition to restrain his colleagues from holding parallel sections.
The Global Witness 2016 Report on Liberia accused former Speaker Tyler of accepting bribe to influence changes in the Public Procurement Concession Commission Act (PPCC) to favor of a British Company, Sable Mining, to gain concession at the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County.
The majority bloc at the House at the time, headed by Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue, had called on the former Speaker to rescue himself because of his indictment by the state based on the Global Witness report.
After series of upheavals and political wrangles at the lower House, Tyler was replaced by Margibi County’s Representative Nuquay.
With just a month in office, Speaker Nuquay on Tuesday paid a visit to the Temple of Justice with several other lawmakers where he met with Chief Justice Korkpor and the four Associate Justices of the Supreme Court behind closed door.
At the end of the visit, Speaker Nuquay told reporters that - “This is an acquaintance visit, we have a new leadership at the House of Representatives and there is a need for us to go out and acquaint ourselves with the other branches.”
Speaker Nuquay told reporters he had already made similar visit to the office of the President, but he failed to elaborate further on the outcome of that visit.
But Chief Justice Francis Korkpor told judicial reporters at the end of the visit that it was a fact that there are three separate branches of government that need to coordinate as provided by law.
With the meeting being held behind closed doors, Chief Justice Korkpor indicated that his message to the lawmakers was to see the need to sort out their differences peacefully among themselves without the intervention of the court.
“Lawmakers should seek peaceful means in resolving differences, but coming to court to resolve differences could create more divisions among themselves,” said Chief Justice Korkpor.
According to court records, members of the House of Representatives have filed in three Writs of prohibitions since the hullabaloo surrounding Rep. Tyler’s removal as Speaker began in May 2016.
One of the Writs for prohibition emanated from former House Speaker Edwin Snowe against the failure of former Speaker Tyler to call roll, another from Montserrado County District #14 Lawmaker Adolf Lawrence over the holding of the second Speaker election and the third one coming from former Speaker Alex Tyler over his removal as Speaker.