Tussle Over Legitimacy Rages

By: R. Joyclyn Wea

MONROVIA-The House of Representatives and the Senate are currently at loggerhead over the ratification of Bio Chico Mineral Development Agreement.

Both are claiming legitimate rights over the ratification of the company’s agreement.

It can be recalled, Majority of members of the Liberian Senate voted to ratify Bio Chico iron Ore Concession agreement for Gbarpolu County. The Concession is a 25-year agreement and is expected to generate millions of dollars over the years.

The Mineral Development Agreement between the Government of Liberia and BAO CHICO Resources Liberia Limited is for the extraction of iron ore, to be operated under a Class “A” Mining License for an initial term of 25 years from the effective date.

In a heated argument before the Supreme Court Bench, lawyers representing both parties are claiming that the other is in constitutional error and via verse.

During Tuesday’s legal argument the Senate through its lead lawyer Senator Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount Count consistently argued that the House of Representatives was in constitutional errors to have ratified the Bio Chico agreement, without passing through the Senate.

Sherman said had the bill been a revenue bill and ratified or passed by the lower house without the knowledge of the Senate, that would not have been a problem, but in this case, it is a concession agreement that needs to be ratified by the upper house and not the other way around.

While Cllr. Wrikin Wright representing the lower house resisted the argument of the Grand Cape Court Senator, saying the lower house was not in error as claimed.

Cllr. Wright also raised the issue of lack of jurisdiction on the part of the Supreme Court to mandate the lower house (House of Representatives) on what needs to be done on grounds that the case at hand is a political matter and should be trashed by that honorable court.

At the end of the argument, Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor expressed dismay and regretted the absence of the Ministry of Justice after being served notice of assignment for hearing of the case.

Meanwhile, the court has reserved a ruling to the matter to come up with determination at an unannounced date.

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