Justice Ja’neh is facing impeachment due to, among other things, what members of the House of Representatives (petitioners) described as ‘misconduct’ for his decision to grant the petition for prohibition on the payment of road fund. According to their petition, the decision or opinion by the embattled Associate Justice blocked the Government of Liberia (GoL) of receiving needed revenue.
But Associate Justice Ja’neh has denied all charges levied against him in the ongoing impeachment trial, saying the charges do not constitute sufficient legal basis to warrant his impeachment. The Associate Justice Ja’neh said at the trial before the Liberian Senate on Monday, March 18, 2019 that the theft of property charge levied against him by his accusers is a crime under the law, and as such, an accused judicial officer must not only be charged but convicted in the court of law, adding that such was not done in his case.
Ja’neh said he was not called for any investigation relative to the allegation of theft of public record, regarding minutes from the House of Representatives, as claimed by his accusers. ”When I heard that the House of Representatives was proceeding to initiate impeachment proceedings against me to take from me the privilege of serving as associate justice, I sought intervention from the Supreme Court by seeking the issuance of writ of prohibition, but that does not still constitute an impeachable offense,” Ja’neh asserted.
In the case involving the road fund, Ja’neh explained that when SRIMEX and two other oil and gas companies filed a petition of prohibition against the GOL for the road fund tax in 2017, during the March Term of Court, the Justice-in-Chambers convened a conference with the parties and determined that major constitutional questions were raised.
He added that the Justice ordered the issuance of a writ putting a halt to the collection of the road fund until the matter was disposed of by the Republic, and the writ, he said, was issued in August by the Justice-in-Chambers. Ja’neh disclosed that when he took charge of the case as presiding judge in February 2018, he then ordered that the matter be sent to the full bench of the Supreme Court, and the court, according to him, entertained arguments where all parties were represented.
He also argued that it was the government who then withdrew the case with the intention of finding alternative out of court settlement. The Associate Justice also denied using his judicial office to wrongfully claim a property as has been alleged by his accusers. However, after months of some legal arguments and the presentation and cross-examination of witnesses by both the prosecution and defense teams, the two teams will today present their final argument before the Chief Justice.
The prosecution team is headed by Cllr. Syrenius Cephas, while the defense team is headed by Cllr. Arthur Johnson. Following the presenting of their final arguments, the Senators, who are jurors in the case, will go into their closet to lay the matter to rest.