‘Far From The Truth’ -Justice Ja’neh Speaks At Impeachment Trial -Describes Impeachment Proceeding A Sad Day
By: Anthony Q. Jiffan, Jr.
Embattled Associate Justice Kabineh Mohammed Jan’eh has said insinuation by members of the House of Representatives that he, Justice Jan’eh, has manipulated the Supreme Court to obtain a judgment of which he was not a part is a sad statement and far from the truth. The Associate Justice said the matters involving the particular land was taken to court by him when he noticed that there was an encroachment on said parcel of land, and that a judgment was given by the Supreme Court of Liberia signed by four Justices of the Supreme Court Bench of which he was not a part.
The embattled Supreme Court Justice was responding to questions from lawyers during the impeachment trial on Monday, March 18, 2019 at the Chamber of the Liberian Senate on Capitol Hill, Monrovia.
He stressed that it is not possible for him to have manipulated judgment in his interest when he was never part of the process. “Whether it is a motion to dismiss an appeal or a review of a regular trial, a judgment according to law is obtained when the rights of the parties have been determined and the matter concluded; that is what happened in the case and that judgment was signed by four justices of the Supreme Court without me being part; so to insinuate that I manipulated the Supreme Court to obtain this judgment is a sad statement for our country,” Justice Ja’neh explored.
The Associate Justice said he bought the land in Jallah Town in 1996, when he was an employee of the National Port Authority assigned at the Freeport of Monrovia at least ten years before he assumed judicial position. The Associate Justice therefore expressed shock as to how he could have used the alternative power of a judge or abused that power to acquire property at the time.
According to Justice Ja’neh, Mr. J. Nyemah Constance, Jr. who sold the land at the time did so under the strength of a decree duly issued by the Probate Court of Montserrado County. “Under our law, it is an instrument intended to sell a property belonging to an inter-state person, we relied on that document to purchase the property,” he explained.
The beleaguered Justice added that the property acquired in 1996 in Jallah Town was sold to him by Mr. J. Nyemah Constance, Jr., the son of the late Mr. J. Nyemah Constance, Sr., former Representative of Nimba County. He indicated that a deed was issued by Mr. Constance, Jr. himself in 1996 conveying to him half lot of land that he had paid US$3,600 for.
“Indeed, an administrator deed was duly issued to me in 1996 conveying to me half lot or 0.5 lot for the sale price of US$3,600 and it was issued by Mr. Constance, Jr.” Justice Ja’neh said.
Following the Monday hearing, Cllr. Arthur Johnson, who is the lead counsel of Justice Ja’neh’s legal team interfaced with legislative reporters, when he said in an interview that an expert witness will be providing expert interpretation of the Liberian Constitution during the trial on Tuesday March 19, 2019.
Cllr. Johnson also indicated that those questions that were asked by the lead counsel of the House of Representatives, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus, were intended to disrespect the Associate Justice and not intended to get answers which he believed should not have been on the part of a witness who should be asked yes or no questions.
It can be recalled that two members of the House of Representatives, Montserrado county District #8 Representative Acarous Gray and District #5 Representative Thomas P. Fallah who are staunch members of the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) have filed a bill of impeachment before the House of Representative against Associate Justice Kabineh Mohammed Jan’eh in which amongst other things they alleged that the Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia encroached on a parcel of land belonging to one old lady identified as Constance.
According to reports, the initiators of the Bill of Impeachment to remove Associate Justice Kabineh Mohammed Ja’neh allegedly charges him “proven misconduct, abuse of public office, wanton abuse of judicial discretion, fraud, misuse of power and corruption”.
The acting chairman of the CDC in the House of Representatives, Rep. Thomas P. Fallah, and Representative Acarous Gray, a staunch member of the CDC submitted the Bill of Impeachment Petition based on what they believe is a litany of factual and legal reasons.
An 8-man Ad-Hoc Committee consisted of eight legislators was set up by House Speaker Bhofal Chambers on Tuesday, July 17, to review and investigate the Impeachment Petition as well as write-out of the proceedings.
The Committee chaired by Gbarpolu County Rep. Karnie Wesso who co-chairs the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives was given three weeks, as of Tuesday, July 17, to begin work and report to Plenary.
Other members of the House Impeachment Committee that found merit in the Gray-Fallah Bill of Impeachment were Rep. Edward Karfiah, co-chairman; Rep. Dickson Seboe, Rep. Jeremiah Koung, Rep. Dr. Isaac Roland, Rep. Clarence Gahr and Rep. Rustonlyn S. Dennis all members of the committee, while Rep. Yekeh Kolubah of Montserrado County District #10 and others, including Bomi County District #1 Representative Edwin M. Snowe and Nimba County District #5 Representative Samuel Kogar kicked against the bill of impeachment.
In the communication to House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, the duo and the sponsors of the Impeachment Petition argued that Ja’neh should be impeached, ousted and removed from the Supreme Court of Liberia.
In the Impeachment Petition, the petitioners gave 12 counts, to support their arguments that Associate Justice Ja’neh is allegedly involved in misconduct, abuse of public office, wanton abuse of judicial discretion, fraud, misuse of power and corruption which many legal pundits including Tiawon Gongloe said is unconstitutional.
Howbeit, the Bill was forwarded to the Senate thereby leading the Senate to start an impeachment proceedings presided over by Chief Justice Francis Korkpor who Justice Jan’eh said was one of those who signed the judgment awarding him the land in question. The Monday Testimony was the first of Justice Jan’eh’s appearance on the witness stand.