Disgraced speaker of the Liberian parliament has finally bowed to pressure and resigned, ending weeks of fighting that had divided the House.
For weeks, the lower chamber of the bicameral legislature held two separate sessions, one headed by Alex Jenekai Tyler, the elected Speaker, the other faction headed by his deputy.
Tyler’s problems started after he an indictment for his role in a major corruption scandal.
He is under police investigation for allegedly facilitating the passing of a legislation favourable to a British mining firm in exchange for a $75,000 bribe.
The campaign group Global Witness made the allegation following an investigation on Sable Mining, which was prospecting for a lucrative iron ore mining deal.
“The people of Liberia whom we serve, are looking to us for leadership and their interest and welfare should reign supreme above any individual or personal consideration,” Tyler told journalists at a press conference in Monrovia late September 1, 2016.
“I am herewith recusing myself from presiding over the plenary of the House of Representatives so that the business of the Liberian people can be fully addressed,” he added.
He described his decision as the “ultimate sacrifice”.
The scandal has caused a rift within Liberia’s ruling Unity Party, which the fallen Speaker is a member of.
Two other senior party members, Varney Sherman, UP’s Chairman, and the former head of Liberia’s National Investment Commission, Richard Tolbert, were also facing charges in connection with the allegation.
The Global Witness report exposed nearly $1M in bribes and other suspicious payments by UK mining firm Sable Mining and Mr Sherman, who was the Liberian lawyer of the firm and who is thought to have negotiated the bribery deal with the lawmaker.
But much of the attention has been on the drama created by Tyler’s refusal to resign.
He had been holding sessions with lawmakers who support him, while his deputy was holding a parallel session with another half.
Reports indicate that this week the disgruntled group of lawmakers came close to achieving the two-thirds majority of votes required to remove Tyler when he succumbed to pressure.