Edwin Snowe

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Edwin Melvin Snowe, Jr. (born 11 February 1970) is a Liberian politician. He has served in the House of Representatives of Liberia since January 2006, and he was Speaker of the House of Representatives from January 2006 to February 2007.

Political career[edit]

Snowe attended the St. Augustine Episcopal high school at Kakata in Margibi County, and he is a graduate of public administration(magna cum laude) from the University of Liberia. He became the son-in-law of Charles Taylor, who was President of Liberia from 1997 to 2003, and was a prominent figure under his government, most notably as head of the oil refinery company. He also served as the President of the Liberian Football Association.

In the 11 October 2005 legislative election, Snowe ran as an independent candidate in the 5th district of Montserrado County and was elected to the House of Representatives. Subsequently he was elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

2007 controversy[edit]

Snowe was removed from his position as Speaker in January 2007 following a vote of no confidence.[1] However, a few days later the Supreme Court ordered him to be reinstated, pending Snowe's appeal. According to Snowe, the no-confidence vote was illegal; he alleges that some votes against him were obtained through bribery and that the vote was not legitimate because it did not occur in a city, as required by the constitution.[2] On 29 January, the Supreme Court ruled in Snowe's favor, describing his removal as unconstitutional.[3] However, the legislators who attempted to vote Snowe out of his position reportedly intended to again attempt to remove him by holding another vote.[4]

The "reinstated Speaker" resigned on Thursday, 15 February 2007 on grounds that he would not go to the township of Virginia for Legislative matters in keeping with article 40 of the Liberian Constitution which states: Neither House shall adjourn for more than five days without the consent of the other and both Houses shall always sit in the same city.

On 2 March, Snowe appeared for police questioning in connection with his alleged misappropriation of more than a million dollars when he was managing director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Corporation under the transitional government of Gyude Bryant. The investigation was postponed until the following week due to Snowe being ill.[5] Snowe appeared for questioning again on 6 March. It has been argued that Snowe is immune from prosecution because he is a legislator, but according to justice minister Frances Johnson Morris, immunity can be removed for certain crimes, including corruption.[6] Snowe appeared in court to face the charge against him on 12 April.[7] His lawyers filed a bond of $1.8 million U.S. dollars, but the prosecution argued this was inadequate and needed to be doubled, and also argued that the source of the bond, the African Insurance Company of Liberia, could not legally issue it to Snowe. On 16 August 2007, the Monrovia City Court ruled in Snowe's favor, declaring the bond to be "sufficient and valid".[8]


  1. ^ "Ex-Taylor ally sacked as speaker", BBC News, 18 January 2007.
  2. ^ "Liberian speaker reinstated by judge", Reuters (IOL), 24 January 2007.
  3. ^ Alphonso Toweh, "Parliamentary speaker defeats ouster bid", Independent Online (South Africa), 29 January 2007.
  4. ^ "Constitutional wrangle over removal of Liberian speaker intensifies", African Press Agency, 30 January 2007.
  5. ^ "Police investigate former Liberian parliamentary speaker", African Press Agency, 2 March 2007.
  6. ^ "Former Liberian speaker re-appears before police investigators", African Press Agency, 7 March 2007.
  7. ^ "Former Liberian parliament speaker appears in court for theft charges", African Press Agency, 12 April 2007.
  8. ^ George Borteh, "Liberia: Snowe Relishes Court Ruling", The Analyst, Monrovia (allAfrica.com), 17 August 2007.