Source: Martin K N kollie
Social media influencer Martin K. N. Kollie posted on his social media page congratulating Grand Bassa Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence as the new pro-tempore of the Liberian Senate.
The post generated 137 comments, 15 shares, and 486 reactions when we commenced the check.
Kollie’s post came shortly after the United States government, on Monday, December 11, 2023, designated three top government officials for acts of corruption and abuse of public office. The sanctioned officials include Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Chie, Minister of Finance Samuel Tweah, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, and current Margibi County Senator Emmanuel Nuquay.
The USA, under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, designated over 30 individuals under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2023 (Div. K, P.L. 117-328), as carried forward by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2024 (Div. A, P.L. 118-15).
Verification: The Stage Media (TSM), to provide verified information to the public, reviewed the 1986 Constitution to understand what it says about the election of pro-tempore.
According to Article 47 of the constitution, the Senate shall elect once every six years a President Pro-Tempore who shall preside in the absence of the president of the Senate and such other officers as shall ensure the proper functioning of the Senate. The President Pro-Tempore and other officers so elected may be removed from office for cause by resolution of a two-thirds majority of the members of the Senate.
Our researcher also visited the senate rules and discovered that Chapter 5 Rule 14 on elections states that on the first day of the regular session following a general and presidential election, the Secretary of the Senate, or in his or her absence, the Assistant Secretary of the Senate, whose term shall not expire until his or her successor is elected, shall call the Senate to order, conduct devotions, and announce to the senators present that the Senate is without a President Pro-Tempore to serve for a term of six years.
“The President Pro-Tempore shall be elected by a simple majority of the duly seated Senators. The election of the President Pro-Tempore shall be held, and the Secretary of the Senate shall then administer the oath of office and appoint a Special Committee, which shall escort the President Pro-Tempore to his or her seat.
During the Fourth Day Sitting of the First Session immediately following a general and presidential election, the Senate shall elect the following three officers: (a) Secretary of the Senate; (b) Assistant Secretary of the Senate; and (c) Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate. Section 3: Officers of the Senate: The Officers of the Liberian Senate shall be: President Pro-Tempore Secretary of the Senate, Assistant Secretary of the Senate, and Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate Chairpersons of the leadership committees as defined in Rule 43 (a) 10,” the Rule added.
TSM discovered that the 54th Legislature has yet to finish its six-year term, leaving the Senate without a new President Pro-Tempore. The 55th legislature will take office on January 15, 2024, the second working Monday, at which time the august body will elect a new President Pro-Temp
Conclusion: Based on the information available, it is fair to say that the post congratulating Karnga-Lawrence on her appointment as Senate Pro-Tempore is misleading; however, the claim that Albert Chie has been sanctioned is correct.