Members of the upper house of the Liberian Legislature, the House of Senate Tuesday, 26 February 2013 unanimously voted in support of the House of Representatives’ latest decision to send to prison two officials of the Executive Branch of the Government of Liberia. (GoL). Last Friday, the Plenary of the House of Representatives following a special session held at the Capitol Building in Monrovia, ordered the arrest and imprisonment of the now suspended acting Monrovia City Mayor and Montserrado County Superintendent, Grace Kpaan for a period of thirty (30) days respectively.
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. Upon taking the decision, the House wrote President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on the matter, complaining the two suspended officials and called on the Liberian leader to immediately dismiss the pair 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. It can be recalled that last Thursday, 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.
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.
According to report gathered by this paper, the plain clothes security officers and women forcefully pulled away Madam Kpaan from the hands of the House’s Sergeant-At-Arms Brigadier-General Martin Johnson, who told journalists that he was physically assaulted by the protesters under the command of Madam Broh. He termed the act as “unconstitutional, unfortunate and a complete insult to the Constitution and the House of Representatives.”
However, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has with immediate effect announced the indefinite suspension of the controversial acting Monrovia City Major and the embattled Montserrado County Superintendent.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), the decision to suspend the Madam Broh and Kpaan came prior to decision by the House Friday to rearrest Kpaan and arrest Mayor Broh. The decision, according to the statement, was reached following a discussion between President Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph Boakai.
Said the statement: “Pending further Consultations, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has directed the immediate suspension from office of the Acting City Mayor Mary Broh. The Liberian leader also instructed the suspension from office of Mrs. Grace T. Kpaan, Superintendent of Montserrado County. The two suspensions were made by the President earlier on Friday, immediately after she was informed by the vice President of incidents involving the two officials and the honorable House of Representatives.”
But members of the Senate have now joined the fray, unanimously supporting the decision of their legislative colleagues in the House of Representatives, by also calling on President Johnson-Sirleaf to dismiss the two suspended officials. The reasons regarding the senators’ unanimous support to their colleagues in the Lower House was raised in their Tuesday’s session by Bomi County Senator, Sando Johnson, who called on fellow senators to show solidarity with the Representatives, stating that the issue was about the entire Liberian Legislature.