As it stands with the level of investigation on the missing billions, the House of Representatives has finally summoned Hot Pepper Newspaper Managing Editor Mr. Philibert Brown and Central Bank of Liberia Deputy Governor for Operations Charles Sirleaf and others under contempt charges for failure to honor its request for appearance.
Contempt Charges is punishable by a fine of not less than $5,000 or one month jail which is not appealable under the House Rule 4.
“Contempt of the Legislature shall consist of actions which obstruct the Legislative function or which obstruct or impede members or officers of the Legislature in the discharge of their Legislative duties,” and is punishable by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) and/or imprisonment in a common jail for not more than one month or the duration of the current session of the House; after a hearing consistent with due process of law. Decisions rendered from contempt charges are not appealable”.
Recently Mr. Brown wrote plenary indicating health complications especially diabetes as reasons why he could not honor the house’s invitation to appear, stating that he needed few time to enable the arrival of his medication which is normally available through overseas transfer.
Mr. Brown’s letter was received last Thursday November 22, 2018, in which plenary further decided that Mr. Brown appear on Monday, November 26, 2018, due to the gravity of the information Mr. Brown revealed pertaining the missing billions, noting that it was needful that he appeared to give further clarity on individuals previously named in his revelation.
During session on Monday, the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives Madam Mildred Siryon revealed that at no time during the weekend did she receive any communication from Mr. Brown indicating his inability to appear before that august body,
“We wrote the communication as mandated by this plenary to Mr. Brown and the letter was received on November 22, 2018 at 3:49pm the same day plenary took the decision and we have not received any communication to that effect”, Mildred Siryon noted.
Additionally, the appearance of the past and present officials of the Central Bank of Liberia has been ongoing over the last few weeks at the House’s plenary to authenticate facts surrounding the missing money. During Monday’s session, past CBL board members had come to give further information on the missing money as CBL current Deputy Governor Sirleaf was expected.
According to Governor Sirleaf through a phone to the Sergeant-at-Arms, there was no written communication indicating his continuous appearance before plenary at such he was busy with work at the moment to appear.
“I called Mr. Charles Sirleaf he told me that is unfair that the plenary will treat him like that because no one wrote him officially on this matter and he has a lot of work to do on his desk”.
Plenary reached a decision on Monday, November 26, 2018, with 20 for, 2 against and 3 abstentions that Journalist Philibert Brown of Hott Pepper Newspaper, Deputy CBL Governor Charles Sirleaf and the head and deputy head of the Internal Audit section of the Central Bank of Liberia appear under contempt charges for refusal to attend to the first branch of government called.
“I move if I can be seconded that the past board of governors present here today be relief and appear tomorrow Tuesday, November 27, 2018 and CBL deputy Governor, head and deputy head of CBL internal Audit section and Journalist Philibert Brown be made to appear under contempt charges the same day”, Rep. Samuel Kogar of Nimba County made the motion and it was seconded by Montserrado County Representative Acarous M. Gray.