President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on Monday, March 4, 2013 appointed former Chief Justice Cllr. Henry Reed Cooper to hold over temporarily until a new Acting Mayor is designated and the Council reconstituted.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the appointment of Cllr. Cooper, followed a meeting with the Council of the Monrovia City Corporation, to take certain decisions in light of the resignation, on Sunday, of the Acting Mayor of the City of Monrovia, Madam Mary T. Broh. Cllr. Cooper, a former Chief Justice during the erstwhile interim government of Charles Gyude Bryant, is also a member of the City Council of Monrovia.
The Liberian leader also endorsed the Council’s recommendation for a continuation of the current Management Team of City Hall. “Regarding the handling of the finances of the Monrovia City Corporation, President decided that, with so much bilateral and multilateral funding from development partners to the MCC, and in the interest of transparency, a private sector financial controller would be contracted to provide temporary assistance in cash management and undertake an assessment of the overall management system,” said the release.
For his part, the release added, Cllr. Cooper agreed to serve in an acting capacity, but said that he would be happy when a new Acting Mayor is selected. Madam Broh’s resignation comes in the wake of an order by the House of Representatives to have her arrested and jailed along with the embattled Montserrado County Superintendent Grace Tee Kpaan.
It can be recalled that on February 22, 2013, the House of Representatives ordered the arrest and imprisonment of Broh and Kpaan for a period of thirty (30) days each. Both Broh and Kpaan were suspended by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf after the President was informed by the Vice President of the incidents involving the two officials and the House of Representatives.
The House took the action at a special session held at the Capitol Building in Monrovia. The Capitol Building is the seat of the Legislature. The lawmakers unanimously resolved to have the two suspended officials incarcerated at the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP) based upon the incident that occurred on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at the prison compound.
On Thursday, February 21, 2013, several plain clothes security officers, including the personal security to Madam Broh and some women reportedly prevented the imprisonment of Madam Kpaan at the Monrovia Central Prison (MPC). According to reports, the plain clothes security officers and women forcefully pulled away Madam Kpaan from the hands of the Sergeant-At-Arms, Brigadier-General Martin Johnson.
The Plenary had earlier ordered the imprisonment of the suspended Montserrado Superintendent at the MCP for 72 hours.
The plenary said its action against Madam Kpaan was due to her alleged failure to implement its mandate after she earlier appeared before it.
The plenary had mandated the suspended superintendent to pay the scholarship fees of some students of the county, re-transfer over US$400,000 that was deposited in a separate account, reinstate the Project Management Committee Chairman, Mr. Patrick Moore and restitute the amount of over US$50,000 that was “expended” without the consent of the County’s Council.
During the emergency session, the House of Representatives referred to the suspended officials as “non-governmental materials.” In the emotionally charged session, a motion for the arrest and detention of Broh and Kpaan was raised by Bong County Representative George Mulbah. Upon taking the decision, the House wrote President Johnson-Sirleaf on the matter.
The House complained the two officials to the Liberian leader and called for their immediate dismissal from government. In the communication, the House notified the President about Madam Broh’s alleged action of obstructing justice at the prison compound and Madam Kpaan’s defiant posture and disrespect to the House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, Madam Broh later filed a petition for a Writ of Prohibition at the Supreme Court against the House’s order to arrest and detain her. Based on this, the Supreme Court, which is regarded as the final arbiter of justice, cited to a conference March 9, 2013 the House led by its Speaker J. Alex Tyler, Deputy Speaker Hans M. Barchu and others (Respondents) and Co-Respondents-Justice Minister, Cllr. Christiana Tah and all other law enforcement officers acting under the direction and of the Justice Minister; and Brigadier-General Martin T. Johnson, Sergeant-At-Arms of the House of Representatives.
The High Court also instructed the House to file its Returns to this Writ in the Office of the Clerk of the High Court on or before the said 9th of March 2013 and stay all further proceedings in the matter pending the hearing of the petition.
The High Court wants the House to give reason why the petitioner’s petition as prayed for should not be granted. In her petition for a writ of prohibition, Madam Broh through her lawyers among other things argues that the arrest and imprisonment of her (petitioner) without due of law is unconstitutional.