42 Some current and incoming Representatives of the incoming 55th Legislature have signed what is known as the Paris Declaration to make Deputy Speaker Fonati Koffa Speaker of the incoming 55th Legislature.
Fonati Koffa is the current Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. He was reelected during the October 10, 2023 Presidential and Legislative Election on the ticket of the outgoing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
The current and incoming lawmakers signed a resolution known as the Paris Declaration yesterday to make Representative Cllr.J. Fonati Koffa Speaker of the 55th Legislature. The ‘Paris Declaration’ is named after the restaurant where the resolution was signed in Monrovia.
In the resolution, the incoming and current lawmakers noted that they signed the resolution to declare Representative J. FonatlKoffa as the preferred candidate for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives.
According to the lawmakers, the signing of the resolution is to affirm Representative Koffa’s experience and expertise in Parliamentary procedures demonstrated through his leadership positions, legislative accomplishments for successful management of the office of the Deputy Speaker and his legal understanding; to recognize Representative Koffa’s commitment to bipartisanship and ability to foster collaboration amongst members of various political affiliations and ideological backgrounds.
They noted that their decision is to acknowledge Representative Koffa’s unwavering dedication to upholding the principles of equity and fairness throughout the legislative process; to commend Representative Koffa’s deep understanding of the issues concerning our constituents and our nation, as evidenced by his role, international understanding /management of the office of Deputy Speaker, among others.
In January 2024, newly-elected members of the House of Representatives for the incoming 55th Legislature will elect the new Speaker of the House who, in keeping with Article 49 of the 1986 Liberia Constitution shall serve as Presiding Officer of that august body and in keeping with Article 64 of the Constitution, is third in succession to the Liberian Presidency in case the Offices of the President and Vice President become vacant by reason of removal, death, resignation, inability or other disability of the President and Vice–President.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be sworn in as Acting President until the holding of elections to fill the vacancies so created.
The lawmakers who signed the resolution noted that Cllr. Koffais an experienced public servant with distinctions, an outstanding lawyer who understands the intricacies and will defend the integrity of Liberia and not for inducements.
Cllr. Fonati Koffa currently serves as the founder and Managing Partner of the International Law Group (ILG), and has been practicing law since 1997, both in Liberia and the United States of America. Cllr. Koffa was also admitted into the Supreme Court Bar of the Republic of Liberia with distinct honor as valedictorian of the graduating class.
In 2016, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appointed Cllr. Koffa as Minister of State without Portfolio and Special Prosecutor of the Sable Mining Bribery scandal case. A few months later, he was appointed legal counsel to the President of Liberia.
Cllr. Koffa resigned in late July 2017 to participate in the Presidential and Legislative Elections as a candidate for the Representative seat in Grand Kru County District #2. On October 19, he was declared the winner of that electoral process, and in 2021, he was subsequently elected as Deputy Speaker of the 54th Legislature. On October 10, 2023, he was reelected Representative of Grand Kru Country Electoral District #2 after serving is kinsmen with diligence.
As a lawyer and political leader, whose short but impressive rise to prominence in Liberian politics show a healthy understanding of politics and the ability to cut across political and ethnic divides to accomplish national goals and objectives, he was instrumental in passing crucial gender-responsive bills, including the Domestic Violence Bill and the Female Genital Mutilation Bill.