Liberia: Simeon Freeman to Take Lawmakers to Court over State of Emergency Joint Resolution
Monrovia – One of Liberia’s tough-talking opposition politicians, Mr. Simeon Freeman, has disclosed that he now has ‘everything’ in place for him to institute legal actions against the legislature. According to Mr. Freeman, who is a renowned Liberian businessman-turned-politician, his proposed legal action against lawmakers is because they signed “an ambiguous resolution”, which led to the State of Emergency being effective.
Report by Edwin G. Genoway, Jr., [email protected]
President George Weah on Tuesday submitted his justifications and measures for a state of emergency to the Legislature for approval. The President had earlier on declared the State of Emergency, which commenced on Friday, April 10 at 11:59 PM for a period of three weeks.
After their debates, the lawmakers in both the Senate and House, voted in a Joint Resolution endorsing the President’s reasons for the State of Emergency to be applied.
But speaking further at a news conference Friday, April 24, at his party headquarters, Mr. Freeman, who is the Political Leader of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), said the lawmakers acted on the President’s communication that is “ambiguous.”
In his threat of legal action, he said he was giving the legislature at most 10 days to go back and thoroughly look at the President’s communication justifying the State of Emergency and revoke their previous approval.
According to him, he is stressing on the President’s communication because it involves the rights of the citizens; adding: “The communication did not spell out all of the rights that are not supposed to be violated by the State of Emergency.
“The document did not also tell us which right of ours would be violated. This is why when a police officer sees a person in their community he beats on them because he’s using his discretion to implement the State of Emergency.”
US$25 Stimulus Package
The MPC political leader also noted that the President didn’t spell out clearly in his communication how he intends to properly use the US$25 million that he requested the lawmakers to approve to be used as a stimulus package, including catering for the needs of citizens during the pandemic.
For him, he thinks buying of more testing kits and personal protective equipment (PPEs) for various hospitals as “more important things” that the President’s communication didn’t capture.
“If you don’t put measure in place, how will the US$25 million be used? It will create the avenue for anybody to just sit somewhere and give fake report on how the money was expended. All of these should be stated in the resolution so that it becomes law for people to be held accountable,” he noted.
Mr. Freeman used his news conference to demand lawmakers, particularly the Senate to restitute the US$6500 each senator received at the end of their deliberation of the President’s State of Emergency, which they endorsed, overwhelmingly.
Mr. Freeman frowned at the senators for taking the money for their personal use when hospitals and health workers do not have protective gears and some recently threatened to go slow because they have not been paid.
The MPC political leader also announced that he is going to be prepared to institute a separate lawsuit against all the senators who collected the money to endorse President Weah’s reasons for the State of Emergency. According to him, their endorsement was a payback for the US$6500 the President gave each of them.
“In seven to ten days if they not restitute that money, we are going to take them court as well. You cannot say the money is legitimate and you did not use the budget law,” he argued.