This paper has credibly learnt that members of the majority bloc who forced the recusal of House speaker Tyler have declined to hold court in the main chamber of the House because they expect the pending removal of Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue who was Chairman of the 2013 Nationwide Oil and Gas Consultation Tour, when he allegedly misappropriated US$1.2 million.
Rule 10 of the House's Rules and Procedures on the Succession of the leadership has compelled the Deputy Speaker to act as Presiding Officer in the absence of the Speaker, J. Alex Tyler, who has been removed from presiding over session due to his criminal indictment. According to the House procedural guideline for ascendency, the Deputy Speaker, or any member who is elected to serve as Presiding Officer, "such member shall be known as 'Speaker Pro-Tempore”.
Sources told this paper that the pro Tyler block have also resolved to seek the recusal of Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue, inasmuch as the Speaker has been recused from presiding for the sanity of the legislature.
Our Capitol Building sources said the minority bloc is planning to stop Deputy Speaker Barchue from presiding over House's Plenary because of his alleged misappropriation of US$1.2million, an amount provided by the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) in 2013 for a nationwide consultation on Oil and Gas, amidst the passage of the Oil and Gas Laws.
NOCAL provided US$1.2 million for the nationwide oil and gas consultation but the amount was said to have been misused by Deputy Speaker Barchue.
The sources name the former Chairmen on Ways, Means and Finance; Rules, Order and Administration, Representatives Emmanuel Nuquay and Edwin M. Snowe, who wrote an amity note and ordered Deputy Speaker Barchue to expend US$300,000 to the Nationwide Tour Committee members, while the remaining US$900,000 was turned over to him (Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue).
Other sources said Representatives Emmanuel Nuquay and Edwin M. Snowe are said to have given the US$300,000 to the Liberian Senate, an assertion that was vehemently rejected by the Senate Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah.
Another source said the US$300K was divided among senior staff in NOCAL and the House's leadership as extra per diem.
Amidst these reports the Deputy Speaker has allegedly refused to provide comprehensive financial report on the 2013 Nationwide Oil and Gas Consultation Tour, but he told journalists that detailed report would be provided to the House's Plenary which is the august body.
According to our sources Deputy Speaker Barchue has allegedly refused to submit to an investigation by the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC) when he was called for questioning on the Nationwide Oil and Gas Consultation Tour in 2014, arguing that the House's Plenary mandated him not to subject himself to LACC's inquiry.
When contacted Montserrado County Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe and Emmanuel Nuquay of Margibi County refused to comment on the matter, and said they will respond to it at an appropriate time, while NOCAL former President Randolph McClain referred our reporter to House Speaker Alex Tyler, but Speaker Tyler is reportedly ill and seeking medical treatment.
Acting House Speaker Hans Barchue admitted that he chaired the Nationwide Oil Tour in 2013, but he did not misappropriate any fund as has been speculated in the House by some of his colleagues.