The dust is yet to be settled on the Global Witness report which named several government officials of bribe to change the Public Procurement and Concession Commission law in favor of Sable Mining, Ltd. Legal process to bring those listed in the report to book has since began with indictments drawn out against some of the accused.
Since the legal proceedings got underway, House Speaker J. Alex Tyler who stands accused of receiving the lion’s share of the bribe money has been on pins and needles amid pressure from his colleagues to recuse himself from presiding over Legislative proceeding until his name is cleared through the ongoing court trial. The Bomi County Representative sees the call for his recusal as a plot on his person and life by the Executive Branch of Government. To make this happen, Speaker Tyler alleged that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is interested in his removal. He spoke at a news conference on Capitol Hill, Monday. Speaker Tyler accused some of his colleagues of being used to implement the plot by crafting a resolution. He claimed that there is a threat to withhold the benefits and entitlements including District Project Funds of lawmakers if they failed to have him removed. “These well-orchestrated ploys by the Executive to hold the House of Representatives to ransom, by denying members their due benefits and entitlements as a mean to strangulate us into undue political submission, is dictatorial and undemocratic to say the least” Speaker Tyler said, adding, “we will resist any sort of blackmail and maintain our stance and argue that our benefits and entitlements are by law and not by the will and pleasure of anyone.” The Speaker said the President is using what he calls “surrogates” by calling for his recusal on what they termed as moral grounds, which he rejected as illegal and unfounded which he said lacks morality or legality to punish an innocent person as the constitution is clear that an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of competent jurisdiction. He averred that it is obvious that the President has challenged his moral standing, using surrogates to ask for his recusal, and is now inducing and making financial offers to secure his removal. In response, Presidential Press Secretary Jerolinmick Piah said the Executive Mansion was “totally shocked” about the allegations particularly at a time when the country had the First Lady of the United States of America, Mrs. Michelle Robinson Obama visiting. He branded Speaker Tyler’s comments as “baseless and unfounded.” “It was a complete surprise for the third ranking official of the Government of Liberia to attempt to take away the focus from the positives of the US First Lady’s visit to gossip politics,” the president’s spokesman said in a statement. “We reject all of the claims made by Speaker Tyler and can simply term his action as a mere scare-crow tactics principally because they are far from the truth. We dismiss as falsehood and totally baseless the insinuation about ‘the President-led plot’ to use inducement for the removal of the Speaker when there are very important matters of state that need to be urgently attended to. We call on Speaker Tyler to exercise leadership in resolving the pending crisis at the House of Representatives instead of bringing his colleagues and the Office of the President into public disrepute through the wild and unsubstantiated claims he has made.”