Dweh, Varmah, Others Turn Floor Members
By: Lewis K. Glay
Plenary on Monday held a special session to deliberate on a joint resolution signed by 45 members of the Legislature, who on 9 March adopted a document at a local hotel to decide the fate of Speaker Dweh, Deputy Speaker Eddington Varmah, Ways & Means Chairman, Tarpla E. Doe and Rules and Order Chairman, Edward Kpulun for being responsible of rampant corruption at the NTLA.
The four suspended NTLA members were stripped of their amenities including salaries and allowances to be given to other assembly members whose benefits had reportedly been misapplied by the Dweh’s leadership according to the probe committee’s report since the sitting of the NTLA in 2003.
NTLA Chief Clerk, James Kabba who read the joint resolution, was ordered to communicate with the suspended assembly members to ensure that all government properties in their possession are turned over without hindrance.
This development follows last Tuesday 7 March report submitted to plenary by the Isaac Mannah five-man probe committee over the corruption saga at the NTLA. The report pointed out that Speaker Dweh and all suspended assemblymen admitted to gross administrative and financial mal-practices at the first branch of government.
Tension sparked off later when amendment to allow copies of the report to be distributed to assemblymen failed to be accepted by the mover of a motion, Musa Barlone, when he called for an immediate deliberation and subsequent decision on the committee’s findings and recommendations at the time.
Things turned worst when the seats of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker were turned over while the presiding law maker, Zarlowo Zuaglee was physically assaulted by those described as thugs who reportedly acted on the orders of Speaker George Dweh who allegedly demanded taking over the gavel of authority amidst controversy over their fate (Dweh and others).
On Thursday 10 March, the doors at the joint chamber were vandalized by thugs who were believed to be planted to disrupt a special session that was intended to finalize Speaker Dweh and others’ fate on grounds that the Speaker had earlier said there would not have been any session that day.
Transitional Chairman Gyude Bryant, Representatives of ECOWAS and other West African Missions near Monrovia attempted to compromise the issue when they spent over four hours at the Capitol behind close door but met up with stiff reaction from assembly members.
Chairman Bryant and the diplomats were reportedly told by assemblymen that for the sake of reconciliation they should allow Charles Bennie and Chris Massaquoi to be reinstated and above all, Charles Taylor should be allowed to come back to Liberia.
According to detail of the report, Legislative transactions relating to voucher system, foreign traveling arrangement, procurement and maintenance, contracts, incentives and allowances amongst others have not been in line with the decision of plenary which is the highest decision making body of the National Transitional Legislative Assembly (NTLA).
However, suspended Speaker Dweh has defied plenary decision and challenged that he would return to work today.
In an interview on BBC and VOA, Mr. Dweh said minority members of parliament
held a so-called special section on Tuesday, which he did not approve, and
therefore the suspension was not legitimate.
He denied being convicted of the Isaac Mannah Probe Committee’s report over corruption allegations against the NTLA leadership headed by him (Dweh).