Special Awards In Pictures

-Petition for Impeachment Of Three Associate Justices Hits Floor
Obvious fire seems to be blazing very uncontrollably on Capitol Hill as National Legislature and the Supreme Court following are on the verge of indulging into power play context in the wake of a petition for impeachment proceeding filed by some members of the National Legislature against three Associate Justices of the Supreme Court’s bench.

Supreme Judges 9x6It would the first time, if all goes well, sitting justices of the Supreme Court could lose their jobs on the back of impeachment by the National Legislature.
In a petition signed by Senators Dan Morias, Peter Coleman, Jim Tornola and Representatives Numene Bartekwa and George Mulbah, the petitioners accused Associates Justices Philip A.Z. Banks, III, Jamesetta Howard-Wolokollie and Kabineh Ja’neh all of the Supreme Court for ‘misconduct. The petitioners also accused the two members of the Supreme Court Bench of violation of their oaths of office by engaging in misconduct; gross breach of duty and exhibiting clear inability to perform the functions of their offices wherein assigned.
The lawmakers indicated that their decision is predicated upon the most recent decisions of the Supreme Court in which the three Associate Justices by their opinion and judgments in cases involving the Code of Conduct enacted by the National Legislature in May 2014, sought and did effectively usurp the powers and authority of the Legislature to make and thereby made ineffective and virtually null and void the Code of Conduct.

In their wisdom, the petitioners want these Associate Justices to show cause if any, why they should not be impeached and removed from their offices as Associate Justices of the Supreme Court.

The lawmakers argued that the country has three distinct, but coordinating branches which have to do with checks and balances as provided for in the constitution.

The Constitution further provides that the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of Subordinate Courts of Records shall hold office during good behavior and they may be removed upon impeachment and conviction by the Legislature based on proved misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of their office.

And the power to prepare a Bill of Impeachment is vested solely in the House of Representatives and the power to try all impeachments is vested solely in the Senate.

The Petitioners’ Arguments:
The petitioners argued that the Supreme Court has since considered the constitutionality of the National Code of Conduct, meaning all clauses in the law are considered for legal implementation ahead of the much anticipated elections.

The petitioners further argued that the decision to clear Harrison Karnwea, the vice running mate to Cllr. Charles Brumskine of the Liberty Party to contest despite resigning less than two years as well as Ambassador Jeremiah Sulunteh, Dr. J. Mills Jones and others is a breach to the law. The petitioners want these Associate Justices to show cause if any, why they should not be impeached and removed from their offices as Associate Justices of the Supreme Court.

After the reading, a motion was filed by Bong County electoral district#5 Representative Edward Karfiah for the petition to be sent to the committee on judiciary to report in one week and copy of the petition be given to each member of the body for perusal and make an informed decision after one week.
Meanwhile, Maryland County Senator, Dan Morais has submitted an Act to Senate plenary with a call to repeal the just passed Code of Conduct.

Senator Morais said his decision to call to repeal the CoC is triggered by recent ruling handed down by the Supreme Court in the cases of Liberty Party vice standard bearer, Harrison Karnwea and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) vice standard bearer, Jeremiah Sulunteh verses the National Elections Commission (NEC).

According to a communication attached to the Act submitted by the Seantor, the repealing process is necessary because he thinks that the cardinal purpose for which the code was established has now been reversed by the ruling of the Supreme Court.

“The purpose of the Code of Conduct is to set standards of behavior and the conduct that is required of public officials and employees of government, it shall guide, regulate and ensure compliance with the norms and behaviors required of all public officials and employees of government. It is designed and shall be implemented, to ensure impartiality, objectivity, transparency, integrity and effectiveness in the performance of their duties and mandates,” Senator Morais’ communication stressed.

He further indicated that the ruling of the High Court renders the Code of Conduct unattainable, thus, laws made by the legislature only enforceable when it is validated by its constitutionality.

Senator Morais asserted that he wonders why would a law which has been in force since 2014 will now be opinionated by the Supreme Court in a form of a ruling, adding that the legislature can only respond to the action of the Supreme Court through repeal the entire code of conduct.

“Where are the impartiality, objectivity, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness when people who have wantonly and fragrantly violated the code of conduct which became eligibility criteria almost three years ago and a subject of review in 2017 can celebrate,” Senator Morais noted. The National Patriotic Party (NPP) lawmaker has also alleged that the Code of Conduct has been undermined by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

“President told the legislature that this Code of Conduct is a bad law and her lawyers were going to meet the lawmakers on how we can dialogue to have it disregarded in the ensuing October polls.

Senator Morais stated that he does not see any justice and fairness in a level playing field leading to a free, credible, transparent and democratic election process when the violation of an eligibility criterion of an election is now a subject anything than a disbandment or disqualification.

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