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Liberia: Sen. Sherman Chairs C’ttee to Investigate Sen. Karnga-Lawrence

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Monrovia – Senator Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County will chair a special committee established by the Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Chie to investigate recent brawl between Senators Nyounblee Karnga-Lawrence of Grand Bassa and Saah Joseph of Montserrado County.

In a memo dated Wednesday, August 28, 2019 the administrative head of the Senate is requested all senators involved in the incident to cooperate with the ad hoc committee to investigate the complaint filed by Senator Joseph. The Pro-Temp’s appointment of the committee is in keeping with Rule 15 Section 1 of the Senate’s Standing Rules.

Committee members include Senators Varney Sherman, Chairman (UP-Grand Cape Mount County), Dallas Gueh, Co-chair (LTP- Rivercess County), Sando Johnson, member, (NPP-Bomi County), Senator Augustine Chie, member, (CDC-Sinoe County), Senator George Tengbeh (UP-Lofa County). 

On Tuesday, the Liberian Senate voted to investigate Sen. Karnga-Lawrence as a result of a complaint filed by Senator Joseph on allegation of assault and terroristic threats.

Sen. Joseph complained that the aftermath of the hot substance poured on him resulted into bodily injuries and the assaulter allegedly made terroristic threats against him.

His complaints to the Senate Plenary against Sen. Lawrence grew out of what happened Thursday, August 22, when he presided over the Session in the absence of Pro-Temp Albert Chie.

“I write to submit a complaint against Grand Bassa County Senator Nyounblee Karnga-Lawrence for unprovoked physical assault and terroristic threats reign against me. This occurred while on my way to my office.”

In his letter of complaint, Sen. Joseph described as demeaning, the action of his colleague and one that contravenes the rules of the Senate against ‘violent conduct.’ After his communication was read, a motion for the setting up of a special committee to investigate was filed by Senator Dan Morias of Maryland County.

Interventions from some senators for the matter to be referred to leadership, was denied. The movant, Morais, also denied an intervention for the Police to intervene since it had a component of terroristic threats that could only be handled by the Police.

Hell broke loose last Thursday in the chamber of the Senate when Sen. Joseph came under extreme criticisms from some of his colleagues for handling Thursday’s session in a manner and form that was not pleasant and unorthodox to their normal legislative practice. 

Last week, heads of national security agencies in the country had been invited to answer questions pertaining to the recent waves of violence across the country and the slow response from the police and other law enforcement agencies to curb such violence from occurring.

Heads or representatives of the Liberia National Police, Liberia Immigration Service, Ministry of Justice, National Security Agency, Drug Enforcement Agency and National Defense were present. The only agency which was not present was the Executive Protection Service, which provides direct security for the President, Vice President and other very important people. 

Inviting these security agencies’ heads came as a result of a communication written by Senator Nyounblee Karnga Lawrence of Grand Bassa County. Her letter was buttressed by an addendum communication from Senators Abraham Darius Dillon, Conmany Wesseh and Daniel Naatehn of Gbapolu, Montserrado and River Gee Counties respectively. 

Sen. Joseph, who presided over that last Thursday’s session, abruptly adjourned session after a ‘yea’ and ‘nay’ vote motion to allow relevant committees continue the hearing in committee rooms.

The issues of contention came about when Senator Joseph recognized a motion from Senator Henry Yallah of Bong County, who moved that after two of the witnesses had spoken, the matter should be handled by the relevant committees and that the witnesses be discharged. 

A yea and nay vote endorsed Yallah’s motion. This angered the senators causing Sen. Nyounblee to pour her cup of tea on Sen. Joseph’s head while expressing her disappointment.

Several senators walked out of session in anger, with some openly expressing their disappointments. 

The process started with Minister Nyanti Tuan, an Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Justice, on behalf of Justice Minister Frank Musah Dean, Jr., he blamed the National Elections Commission, candidates and the Police for the wave of pre and post-election violence. According to him, before the process of the campaign started, they informed all candidates about providing them security but some of them declined.

When the Inspector General of Police, Patrick Sudue, took the stand, he told the senators that the police have been investigating various riots and acts of violence that have occurred in different places. Sudue, however, said most of the investigations are yet to be concluded due to the non-cooperative posture of persons of interests.

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