According to our Capitol Building Correspondent, the Senators seeking the investigation of the Montserrado County lawmaker are said to be in the majority
But he was quick to point that a significant number of senators believe that Dillon has done nothing to be complained before the leadership of the Liberian Senate, especially in line with any issue that has to do with suspension or expulsion.
On the other hand, debate in the public concerning the call for Dillon to be investigated has intensified with reactions mixed.
It could be recalled that recently, Sen. Dillon, who is also the Vice Chairman for Political Affairs of the LP, was officially complained to the leadership of the Liberian Senate by Senator Tengbeh.
Senator Tengbeh, who a fortnight ago resigned from the former ruling Unity Party (UP), asserted Sen. Dillon and his cohorts had embarked on a “smear campaign” aimed at denigrating the Liberian Senate both “wholly and individually”.
In his official letter dated May 27, 2020 and addressed to the leadership of the Liberian Senate, Sen. Tengbeh accused the LP stalwart of willfully and intentionally distorting the image of the Senate, thus causing massive injuries to the characters of senators and the institution.
“Senator Dillon is in the constant habit of throwing invectives at his fellow Senators and shows no respect to officers of the Senate who try to call him to order,” the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Heritage, states.
“The constant invectives rained by Senator Dillon on the Liberian Senate are abhorrent and prohibitive. He describes individual Senators as spineless when they vote for what they believe in the Senate as a rotten place. It is my belief that Senator Dillon does not belong in his so-called rotten institution,”Tengbeh continued in his letter.
The Lofa County Senator then called on the leadership of the Liberian Senate, headed by President Pro-Tempore Chieto conduct an investigation into the alleged act of the Montserrado County Senator through a due process in line with the Senate’s standing rules, adding that if he (Dillon) does not desist, will lead Senators with no options, but to have him (Dillon) expelled.
Nevertheless, Senator Dillon and some senators, who are supporting him, argue that the complaint is invalid in line with Rules 20 and 23 of the Senate’s Standing Rules. Speaking to reporters briefly at the Liberty Party(LP) Headquarters in Congo Town, outside Monrovia on Monday, June 1, 2020, Dillon, who had chosen to remain mute until he hears from his legal team, pointed out that as far he is concerned, there is no complaint against him before the Liberian Senate, thus referring journalists to Rule 23 of the Senate’s Standing Rules.
“There is no complaint against me before the Liberian Senate. Go and read rule 23,” he intoned.
Rule 23 of the Senate’s Standing Rules states that: “A senator may be suspended or expelled from the Senate: a. When a petition, signed by two thirds of the membership of the Senate, addressed to the Liberian Senate, against a senator is presented to the Secretary of the Senate, same shall be forwarded to the Plenary for consideration.b. After the petition has been read and considered by the Plenary, a vote of 2/3 majority of the total membership of the Senators duly seated shall determine the merit or non-merit of the petition. c.
In the event the Senate believes that there is merit, a cross-sectional Review Team, comprising not less than 3 and not more than 5 senators, none of whom shall be a signatory to the petition, shall be constituted to investigate the matter, consistent with due process as provided for under the Liberian Constitution and report their findings and recommendations to the Plenary within a period not more than 30 calendar days.
All recommendations shall clearly indicate the extent and limits of the action contemplated. The time to report may be extended by the Plenary upon request of the Review Team, but the combined total time shall not exceed 60 calendar days. d. The Plenary shall debate the report and act upon the recommendation. If the recommendation calls for suspension or removal from the Senate, a two thirds (2/3) vote is required.e. The expulsion of a member of the Liberian Senate shall conform to Article 38 of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia.”
Also speaking via mobile phone on Ok FM yesterday morning to express support for his colleague-Dillion, former President Pro-Tempore, Armah Z. Jallah, cited Rule 20 of the Standing Rules of the Liberian Senate, which also speaks to the issue of suspension and/or removal of senators from senate positions.
Sen. Jallah made specific reference to sub section (b), which points out that after the petition has been read and considered by Plenary, a vote of 2/3 majority of the total membership of the senators duly seated shall determine the merit or non-merit of the petition.
The plenary is the highest decision making body of the Liberian Senate.