MONROVIA, Montserrado – On Thursday, January 18, the House of Representatives voted to investigate several lawmakers accused of bringing the body to disrepute by accusing its leaders of malpractices in public.
The move was made during the second day of sitting since the House resumed operations following its break.
Rep. Munah Pelham-Youngblood of Montserrado’s ninth district triggered the move after she wrote a letter noting the negative effects of lawmakers frequently appearing on radio stations to voice accusations against the leaders of the House of Representatives.
According to her, those lawmakers allege that the House’s current leadership has, with the consent of the speaker, misused large quantities of fuel slips that are intended for the entire body.
Pelham-Youngblood named Rep. Yekeh Kolubah of Montserrado’s tenth district as one of such lawmakers. She said Kolubah addressed reporters on January 16 at the Capitol Building to levy allegations that Rep. Mariamu Fofana, chair of the House’s Committee on Rules, Order, and Administration, had received some items on behalf of the House and diverted it to her private use.
Pelham-Youngblood further said Kolubah displayed documents to journalists to support his claims.
“With these grave allegations, Hon. Speaker, I write to request plenary to take seriously those allegations and refer those concerned lawmakers to the House’s Committee on Rules, Order, and Administration so that they can provide proof of their claims,” she wrote. She called for disciplinary actions “in line with our rules so as to maintain the sanity and sacredness of this august body.”
In addition to Kolubah, Pelham-Youngblood also named Rep. Jay Nagbe Sloh of Sinoe’s second district and Rep. Adolph Lawrence of Montserrado’s 15th district as other lawmakers accusing the House’s leadership of malpractices.
Rep. Edward Kafiah of Bong’s fifth district motioned to have the lawmakers sent to the Rules Committee for investigation for reporting after a week. Some representatives wanted to make an amendment to the motion to have Rep. Fofana recuse herself from the investigation given that she was accused by the lawmakers while serving as chair of the committee. However, those requests were rejected.
The House of Representatives has a rule that members are meant to “keep the prestige and dignity of the House and refrain from undesirable acts.” There are also confidentiality rules that members have to abide by. The House could sanction members in a variety of way, including an oral warning, a written warning, a suspension without pay of no more than 30 days, and expulsion with two-thirds of members voting needed to vote in favor.
Featured photo by Ida Reeves