MONROVIA, Montserrado – The Liberian Senate has announced it will commence its impeachment proceedings against Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh on Thursday, February 14.
A release from the Senate said the various parties and their legal counsels were being instructed to appear before the Senate for the impeachment proceedings to begin.
Recently, the Supreme Court ruled to allow the Legislature to proceed with the impeachment trial of Ja’neh. Four members of the Senate had petitioned the Supreme Court to issue a stay order on the Senate’s proceedings, citing a violation of the Constitution on the part of the Senate.
Lawyers representing the legal interest of the embattled justice had also petitioned the court for a Writ of Prohibition on the impeachment process, arguing that the Legislature was proceeding wrongly. But the Supreme Court said its ruling was based on Article 43 of the Constitution which gives the House of Representatives the sole authority to prepare a bill of impeachment while the Senate also reserves the power to solely conduct all impeachments trials.
In August, 49 members of the House of Representatives had voted to impeach Ja’neh.
The bill was introduced by two members of the Coalition for Democratic Change, Montserrado’s fifth and eighth district representatives, Thomas Fallah and Acarous Gray.
Gray and Fallah wrote in their petition that Ja’neh abused his power to prevent a now deceased businessman, Austin Clarke, from collecting a US$1 million judgment in a case of defamation against Ecobank. They cited another case where they say Ja’neh used his influence as a Supreme Court justice “to become both a player and a referee in a land dispute in which no lawyer dared take on him because he is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia and enjoys the luxurious trappings associated with such office and is hiding behind his office and status to sport with the rights of innocent Liberians.”
The impeachment proceeding was transferred to the Liberian Senate for trial, over which the chief justice will preside.
“Associate Justice Ja’neh was impeached on August 28, 2018 for alleged ‘misconduct and gross breach of duty’ by members of the House of Representatives in keeping with the constitutional power assigned to that body to prepare bill of impeachment and forward same to the Senate for trial in keeping with Article 43 of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia,” the Senate’s press release noted.
It said the Senate has also extended invitation to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to preside over the trial.
Featured photo courtesy of Ministry of Justice