Uproar In Lower House…Over Attempts To Remove Speaker
Some members of the House of Representatives have called on House Speaker Alex Tyler to unconditionally recuse himself from presiding over the proceeding of that body until allegations levied against him are addressed.
In a letter to the Speaker dated January 12, 2015, the Representatives also noted that a special select Committee be constituted by plenary to delve into the accusations against the speaker and report to plenary within one month.
The Representatives also said Speaker Tyler who is involved in this saga cooperates fully with the Committee and that the Plenary sees the matter as matter of ethics.
The lawmakers said during the course of their last session, they learned that SpeakerJ. Alex Tyler as a result of his alleged involvement in the US$ 25,000 check from the National Oil of Liberia (NOCAL) to a local lawyer as payment for legal services has been held by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission for violation of the PPCC Act.
Their letter further said the issue indeed exposes this august body to much public scrutiny especially given the fact that the entire nationwide consultation was financed byNOCAL in the tune of US$1.2m from which the Liberian Senate was given US$200,000 and US$1.0m was left exclusively for the House of Representatives.
The Representatives also noted that their records also indicate that all services regarding the nationwide consultation were fully financed from that amount.
The speaker’s colleagues also told him in the letter that it was also common cause that legal fees were paid from that amount as the payment from NOCAL was based on a budget from this body and accordingly, it is totally strange to have gone back to NOCAL for new payment on behalf of the House of Representatives.
The Representative also noted that it has also come to their attention that Speaker Tyler in an official press statement issued on October 29, 2004 acknowledged his direct involvement and put up a defense that he was pre-financing the legal fees.
Concluding, the lawmakers said the Speaker indicated his willingness to cooperate with all interested parties to bring out the facts of the matter.
They also noted that the revelation by the Speaker is alarming because the plenary of the House of Representatives at no time had discussed or decided to authorize the leadership to request additional funds from NOCAL and given the fact that a comprehensive, report of the usage of the US$ 1, 000,000.00 has not been submitted for Honorable Members perusal and discussion.
The Representatives further said the coordinating committee of this review process never informed the Houses’ plenary of a budget deficit and they find the Speaker’s action of soliciting additional funds without the authorization of the highest decision making body, the Plenary, as totally wrong and his failure to report to plenary on the transaction has compromised the authority of Plenary.
“There is no question as to our integrity being challenged by the action of the Speaker as the head of this body. The image of this institution has been gravely compromised, dragged into a saga that undermines both the Speaker’s authority and the integrity of this Legislature,” the letter said.
“Accordingly, it is glaring that the Speaker’s unauthorized action and the subsequent transaction have cast a dark cloud over the image of that high office and the august body to the extent that various negative epithets are now in the media and the world wide web indicting the collective integrity of the legislature thus injuring the reputation of us all,” they noted.
“On the other hand, we would have thought that the Speaker would have of his own volition and decision recuse himself from presiding and submit himself to an investigation; instead, he has responded via a press statement to the public on the issue,” the letter said.
Concluding, the Representatives said considering the enormous implications and ramifications of the foregoing and the effect of them not taking an action aimed at restoring their dignity, they are therefore demanding that he recuses himself and be investigated consistent with Rules 40, 42 and 44 of the Rules and Procedure of the House of Representatives.