Monrovia - Citizens from Electoral District #6 Lower Bong County have described as dishonorable, disingenuous and disdainful recent attack meted against Rep. Bill Corneh by Rep. Roland Opee Cooper of Margibi County in the House of Representatives chambers. In a petition written to plenary of the House of Representatives Tuesday, the citizens requested the august body to institute a speedy investigation into the matter and take stringent action in accordance with the house standing rules. The citizens said this measure if taken would serve as a deterrent to would-be hooligans.
In their two-page petition to the Lawmakers, the Margibi citizens reminded the lawmaker that the lower House is a place of representation, lawmaking and oversight and therefore should be comprised individuals of good Morals and not someone who resolves to physical brutality to get his point across.
The citizens stated: “We consider Hon. Cooper’s action as being dishonorable, disingenuous and disdainful. It lacks any semblance of civilization, henceforth, does not portray the image of the honorable House of Representatives.” The citizens said that the aggressive and undemocratic character against their lawmaker does not only demoralize his personality, but also has the proclivity of bringing the entire House to Public disrepute.
“It is against this backdrop that we the peace-loving citizens of electoral District #6 Bong County are calling on Hon. Roland Opee Cooper, whose activity does not match his title, to recognize that he has sinned against us and he must subsequently repent of his sin and prepare to bear the consequences thereof,” the citizens stated.
On the January 15, 2015, Rep. Cooper of (Margibi County) who is one of the signatories to the December 13 resolution calling on speaker Alex Tyler to recuse himself from presiding until the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission 25K indictment (LACC) against him is investigated, got into a heated argument with his colleague Adam Bill Corneh of Bong County, one of those who signed the resolution to support the speaker.
Rep. Cooper before his election was among many who have been accused of illegally selling land to people two or three times. The argument became heated between the two lawmakers leading Rep. Cooper to hitting his colleague’s face with his hand. The issues created another incident as Corneh fell back in his seat, a situation that drew the attention of other lawmakers, who thought he had had a heart attack.
Sources close to the leadership of the House of Representatives say, lawmakers including Cooper (IND-District #1 Margibi County), Henry Fahnbulleh (UP-District# 4 Montserrado County), and Samuel Korgar (NUDP-District #5 Nimba County) are begging for mercy on behalf of the alleged aggressor. Legislative sources have hinted that the leadership is contemplating on suspending some lawmakers who disrupted two sessions in protest against the speaker, calling on him to recuse himself from presiding over the session to faced LACC investigation.
On Tuesday, January 27 Plenary of the House of Representatives rendered as baseless the case filed by some of their colleagues requesting the Speaker to recuse himself from presiding over the session, until he is declared free from the Liberia Anti-Corruption commission indictment.
In a report submitted by the House committee on rules and order chaired by Rep. Byron Browne (LP-District #3 Grand Bassa County) it was stated that under rule 48 through 48.4 under ethics, there are adequate remedies available to any and all members of the House who become subject of investigation or who seek to mitigate a particular issue bordering on misconduct by another colleague.
In the committee report, it also stated that the decision by the aggrieved lawmakers to abandon the institutional platform and take the matter to the LACC, as was announced by them, constitutes not only a disservice but also a breach of the House’s rules.