Senate to Probe Sen. Sando Johnson for Accusing Members of Accepting Bribes

MONROVIA, Montserrado – Senate Pro Tempore Albert Chie has requested that the Senate’s Committee on Judiciary investigate Bomi’s Sen. Sando Johnson for allegedly accusing senators of accepting bribes to impeach former associate justice Kabineh Ja’neh.

Ja’neh was recently impeached after 22 members of the Senate voted to remove him for official misconduct and gross breach of duty when he granted a writ of prohibition while serving as justice-in-chambers. The writ denied the government of US$27 million in funds for road development that was being raised by a US$0.30 tax on petroleum products. Four senators voted against the impeachment, while three others abstained. All votes were secret.

Chie disclosed in his communication to the Senate that Johnson’s action contravenes the Senate’s rules and requires the Bomi senator to be investigated.

“The conduct of Sen. Sando Johnson of Bomi County accusing the Senate of receiving bribes to impeach Justice Ja’neh in his remarks at the Unity Party, National Alternative Congress, Liberty Party, and the All Liberian Party coalition signing ceremony are amongst other things to be investigated,” Chie wrote.

“For accusing the pro tempore and the jury secretary of ballot tampering during the voting process at the end of the impeachment trial of former Associate Justice Ja’neh.”

The Bomi senator had earlier written the chief justice and presiding officer of the trial impeachment, Francis Korkpor, requesting a recount of the ballots that led to the removal of the associate justice, noting that the result announced differed from the number of ballots cast.

Bomi’s Senator Sando Johnson. Photo: Ida Reeves

In his communication dated April 2, the Bomi lawmaker also termed the impeachment proceeding as unconstitutional, illegal, and a gross violation of Ja’neh’s right.

The lawmaker is also accused of disrespecting the office of the Senate president pro tempore through the use of invectives and profane languages in the Senate chatroom, as well as leaking information from the Senate chatroom to the media.

“All of the behavioral actions of Senator Johnson as indicated above contravene the Senate Standing Rules and any other senators involved in the exposure to the public the Senate discussions held in executive also breaches the rules of the Senate, as I depart the county today, I hope said investigation could begin prior to my return,” Chie wrote.

Meanwhile, the Senate has also suspended its two social media chatrooms amid the leak of information and lack of regulations and guidelines to regulate the chatrooms.

It is alleged that during the recent impeachment trial, several documents and information placed in the chatrooms were leaked to the public through the media by some senators.

Maryland’s Sen. Dan Morias, who presided over last Tuesday’s session, said the suspension of the social media chatrooms was a necessary action in the interest of the Senate. He said the chatrooms were opened without any standard guidelines or procedures.

He announced the establishment of a three-member committee that will establish guidelines to regulate and control the flow of information in the chatrooms. Those on the committee are Sen. Augustine Chie of Sinoe, Sen.  Henrique Tokpah of Bong, and Sen. Daniel Naatehn of Gbarpolu.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Ida Reeves

Ida Reeves is a senior student at the University of Liberia studying Mass Communications and Sociology. She graduated from the Young Political Leadership School and has worked in the past for Farbric Radio, Freedom Radio, and Frontier newspaper.

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