Speaker Tyler Must Go – But All Accused Must Be Recused
REV. KORTU BROWN struck a chord at the weekend when he called on both indicted and accused persons in the Global Witness Report, captioned: “The Deceivers”, from the Legislative and Executive Branches of Government [of Liberia] to recuse themselves from their various official functions in the interest of peace and a fair trial.
SINCE THE REPORT WAS UNEARTHED, several prominent figures including the former chairman of the ruling Unity Party, Cllr. Varney Sherman, the Speaker of the House of Representative, J. Alex Tyler and Mr. Ernest C.B. Jones, a former Deputy Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy have been amongst those charged so far.
IN THE PAST FEW WEEKS however, attention has been centered on House Speaker Tyler, who has been under fire for his failure to recuse himself from proceedings of the national legislature pending the duration of the trial.
TYLER HAS agreed to make himself available to an investigation into the recent revelations detailing allegations of bribery by the London-based watchdog group, Global Witness in a bid to safeguard the integrity of his office and the entire Legislative Branch of Government. However he prefers to stay in the position while the trial is going on.
MANY, INCLUDING a lot of his peers in the lower house disagree and strongly believe that he should not be presiding while answering the charges levied against him.
THE GLOBAL WITNESS in its report alleges that over $950,000 in bribes and other suspicious payments were made to top Liberian officials by the United Kingdom-based Sable Mining Company and its Liberian lawyer, Varney Sherman.
ACCORDING TO THE REPORT entitled – The Deceivers – Sable wanted to get the concession rights to Liberia’s Wologizi iron ore. Speaker Tyler is only the second person named in the report to address the matter since the report surfaced last week.
CLLR. SHERMAN, who is also chairman of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s ruling Unity Party, allegedly told Sable Mining that in order to get the contract, the company must first offer bribes to senior officials to change Liberia’s concession laws.
CLLR. SHERMAN also heads the judicial committee in the Senate.
WITH SO MUCH EMPHASIS being placed on Speaker Tyler, other figures like Cllr. Sherman and Bomi Senator Morris Saytumah, another figure named in the report are still carrying on their daily jobs while Tyler undergoes daily scrutiny.
WE AGREE WITH REV. BROWN that “All must recuse themselves” to avoid conflict of interest and/or prejudice during investigation by the Presidential Task Force or court trial.
THE INFLUENTIAL CLERGYMAN believes that the recusal proposal will help close the current chapter of political wrangling and unnecessary tension within the country and enable all those accused and/or indicted to address the allegations against them in the court of law while the country moves forward in preparation for the reception of an important new year, 2017. “Most of the ordinary people are confused as to which direction the country is leading with all the bickering”, he averred.
LIBERIA HAS COME A LONG WAY amid a lot of obstacles. It requires some strong will and determination to overcome enormous obstacles hampering the dispensation of justice. But we can and must begin with being fair in how we judge and prosecute, in how we go about holding those accused of corruption to book.
WE CANNOT AND MUST seem partial nor should we project a perception that we are only aiming our attention on one person.YLER, AS HEAD of the lower house cannot be presiding while undergoing trial, this much is clear. In the same vein, all others named in the report should and must recuse themselves for the sake fair play and transparency.
IT IS SIMPLY the right and proper thing to do for Liberia and the best thing to do in erasing the perception that we are a nation that take sides when we should be showing the world that no one is above reproach or against the law.