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Liberia: House Rescinds Member's Suspension


The Liberian House of Representatives has voted to rescind the suspension of one of its members. Representative Dusty Wolokollie was suspended last Friday for six months for what his colleagues called bringing the House in “disrepute.” The problem began when the House Committee on Investment refused to ratify a contract between the Liberian government and two oil companies. When the members requested officials of the companies to appear before them, Wolokollie accused them of trying to extort money from the companies. Representative Rufus Neuville is chairman of the House Committee on Investment and Concession. He explains to VOA English to Africa reporter James Butty why the legislature decided to rescind Wolokollie’s suspension.

“The House of Representatives created yet another motion for reconsideration to be heard where Honorable Wolokollie was called to further prove his allegations against members of the House of Representatives. Instead of taking the stand to prove the allegations, Honorable Wolokollie took a different dimension this time around, apologizing to his colleagues saying that his statement was out of emotion; it’s not on the basis of any fact or truth, and that he was appealing to us to have mercy. It was based on that the plenary voted to have mercy and to forgive him.”

Neuville says the House also decided to sanction Representative Wolokollie.

“According to the amendment made to the motion, Honorable Wolokollie should reduce his apology into writing and then publish in all of the local dailies. I’m talking about the print media beginning today, Wednesday.”

Neuville says the Wolokollie suspension should serve as an important lesson to all Liberians.

“The Constitution of the Republic of Liberia gives the right to any Liberia to speak freely. But that same clause also ends by saying you are responsible for the abuse thereof. So the lesson in this whole thing is that lawmakers must be responsible; lawmakers must be scientific when they are speaking of issues because they are occupying a very high office, and most of the things they say will become news.”

For his part, representative Wolokollie, who said yesterday that he would not apologize, was philosophical.

“Politics is the art of possibles. As far as I’m concerned, the matter is put to rest. I have agreed to express my sentiment of regrets for embarrassment caused my colleagues who feel offended by it, and I will publish same in the local dailies and the international wires as of tomorrow as such. In fact, they even cited that I should go on VOA, and I’m glad that you called so that it can be aired also on VOA.”

Wolokollie says the legislature decided to put the issue to rest so that they may focus on doing the real work of the Liberian people.

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