BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – After House Speaker Bhofal Chambers made a controversial comment that the legislature cannot be invited by any institution for an investigation into the missing billions in Liberian banknotes, Grand Bassa’s fifth district representative, Thomas Goshua, has differed by saying no one is above the law.
During a press conference on Thursday, October 18, Chambers said anyone who wanted to engage the House of Representatives should do so through a request and the House of Representatives would decide whether or not to submit.
“The FBI knows the constitution. Especially, they know [the] contemporary constitution and democracy and, they will not think of inviting the House of Representatives for [an] investigation. Doing so is a failure on their part. This body cannot be invited,” Chambers added, likely referring to independent investigators the U.S. has agreed to pay since it decided against sending Federal Bureau of Investigation staff into the country.
Chambers’ reaction came in the wake of news that some investigators had visited the chief clerk. He said if the information is true, it would not be repeated.
However, Rep. Goshua emphasized that he believed that no one is above the law. Therefore, if lawmakers are called for investigation by any group as it relates to the missing billions, they must submit themselves.
“I am still waiting to see the provision of the law that prohibits perceived persons of interest, be it from the legislature, executive, judiciary, civil society, or ordinary citizenry, from being investigated for an alleged crime against a whole country whose citizens are very impoverished due to rampant corruption,” he said.
Goshua said, if he were sitting speaker, any implicated individuals would be investigated and put on trial, even if they were former heads of state, senators, chief justice, or associate justices.
He said ordinary citizens are already being investigated and put on trial for alleged crimes; therefore, anyone who commits crimes against the development of Liberia should also be investigated and be put on trial.
“People must stop joking around here,” Goshua said. “Liberians are not gullible anymore and they deserve better. Our children are being raped; our country is being raped; our citizens are going through unnecessary suffering; hospitals are being closed, schools shut down, roads are inaccessible. Prices are skyrocketing. Mr. Speaker, I beg to differ – absolutely no one is above the law.”
Goshua’s comments were posted to his official Facebook page and elicited several comments of praise from citizens.
“At least, we the ordinary citizens have someone to speak the truth for us,” wrote Rannie Nmah. “Thanks, honorable Thomas Alexander Goshua, II, for standing tall on this issue.”
Emmanuel Wragboe commented that the earlier statement of the speaker could undermine the independent team that has come to help investigate the matter.
“If we want Liberia to move forward, let the speaker submit to the rule of law,” Wragboe noted. “Thanks Hon. Goshua for this brilliant piece.”
After the public condemnation of the speaker’s statements, the House of Representatives issued a “clarification” that Chambers, “as a national policymaker, will do nothing to stall the ongoing investigation surrounding the money saga.”
The statement said the speaker was only referring to actions taken against the legislature as an institution, as opposed to individual lawmakers found involved in the missing billions case.
“Speaker Chambers, during the Thursday, October 18, 2018 press conference held at his Capitol Building office, noted that the august body, as an establishment of the constitution with mandate to originate all revenue bills and print and mint coins as provided for in Article 34 (ii), cannot be subjected to any investigation for acts done in keeping with its constitutional authority as the first branch of government.”
Featured photo courtesy of Macarthur Gbardyu