By: Legislative Correspondent
Capitol Hill,WTVNEWS: The Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives have been in a legal battle at the Supreme Court over the LEGITIMACY of where a financial bill should emanate before passage.
The long battle was call short when the Supreme Court recently ruled that the Liberian Senate acted constitutionally to ratify the Bao Chico Mineral Development Agreement before sending it to the House for Concurrence.
The Liberian Senate in November 2021, ratified the Bio CHICO Mineral Development Agreement and forwarded it to the House of Representatives for concurrence
The essence of the interpretation of article 34d(I) of the 1986 constitution was used as a reliance for the House’s refusal to concur with the Senate on the Mineral Development Agreement indicated that the MDA is a financial instrument.
Article 34 d (i) states that, “All revenue bills, whether subsidies, charges, imposts, duties or taxes, and other financial bills shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as other bills”.
But the Supreme Court in its ruling noted that the bill is a financial bill, contrary to the contestation by the House that it is a revenue bill and that the Bill can originate from any of the Houses.
The high court’s ruling added that the ratification of BIO Chico Agreement by the petitioner (The Senate) and it’s submission to the respondent (The House of Representatives) by the largest concurrence has previously and customarily been done in other investment, does not violate article 34d (i) of the Constitution.
Following the reading of the Court’s ruling, the President Pro-Tempore of the Senate, Albert T. Chie constituted a Conference Committee to liaise with the House Representatives to reconcile the agreement for submission to the Executive.
The committee members are Senators Varney Sherman, Jim Tornonlah, Marshall Dennis, Prince K. Moye, Francis S. Paye , Abraham Darius Dillion and Morris Saytumah.
Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillion in a motion called on Plenary to note the decision and thanked the Judiciary Committee along with the legal team led by Senator Cllr. Varney Sherman for ably representing the Liberian Senate at the Supreme Court of Liberia regarding said matter.
It can be recalled that on August 5, 2021, the Executive Branch of Government through the President of Liberia entered an agreement with executives of Bio Chico Resource Liberia Limited, a cooperation organized and existing under the laws of HONG KONG to explore, produce and export iron ore in Gbapolu County, Liberia.