Politics

Karnwea’s hearing exposes NEC

Justices at the Supreme Court on Thursday 13, July, demanded evidence of a due process conducted by authorities at the National Elections Commission or NEC which led to the rejection of opposition Liberty Party or LP vice standard bearer Harrison Karnwea’s nomination.


The court also raised eyebrows as to why the NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome Kokoyah alone signed the rejection notice excluding the rest of the Commissioners; something the Justices noted is an error. Officials of the LP filed a motion before the Supreme Court on Monday July 10, requesting the superior court to reverse the decision of NEC rejection of the nomination application of their vice standard bearer Karnwea.

Karnwea’s nomination was rejected on Friday July 7, by NEC on grounds that he felt short of the controversial Code of Conduct particularly Section 5 under political participation, which bars public officials from contesting for elected offices unless they had resigned two years prior to seeking office.

But officials of LP say the Code of Conduct is not applicable to Karnwea. Karnwea announced his resignation from the ruling Unity Party in February at a news conference where he also disclosed his move to the LP.

Few weeks later on March 9, he announced his resignation from the Forestry Development Authority or FDA and was subsequently announced as vice running mate of the LP on March 18.

At the hearing Thursday July 13, NEC officials said this squarely placed Karnwea in violation of the code of conduct. More besides lawyers representing NEC headed by Cllr. Musa Dean said in their briefs excerpts of which was read by Chief Justice Francis Kporkpor that Karnwea had abused his office prior to his resignation for political purposes.

But Justice Kporkpor and the rest of the Justices siting at the hearing on Thursday insisted that NEC provide the evidence which made the commission to arrive at such conclusion.

“What is the evidence to show that the appellant used public resources? Justice Philip Banks asked Cllr. Dean. Cllr. Dean said it was by inference. Justice Kabineh Ja’neh in pushing NEC further for evidence asked if the findings were a result of adjudication. Simply put what the Justices sought to establish at this point was if the due process of law was followed with Karnwea being allowed to appear before a constituted body to defend himself of the charges levied against him by NEC.

But Cllr. Dean argued that by Karnwea admitting on his nomination form that he did not resign two years prior to him (Karwea) being selected as a running mate to Cllr. Brumskine puts him in direct violation of the Code of Conduct.

“It’s quasi-judicial and the Chair (NEC) has no right to hold that as a basis of rejection,” Justice Ja’neh argues. Justice Ja’neh further asked if there were any other recommendation from a constituted body in addition to the nomination form.

Cllr, Dean in response to this said NEC lawyers were now advising NEC to constitute such a body, but maintained that Karnwea’s rejection was on the basis of his own admission that he had work in government.

“Don’t you think there should have been an investigation?” Justice Kporkpor asked. Cllr. Dean: “Yes, I submit that should have been.” Justice Ja’neh listing all of the sanctions for violators of the Code of Conduct said:” Baring (a candidate from contesting) is the severest of all the sanctions.”

“How do you determine a desire?” Justice Wolokollie asked. “Desire is subjective,” Cllr. Dean replied. Cllr. Banks: “Since the passage of the Code of Conduct there have been numerous challenges and on March 3, 2017, the Supreme Court upheld that it was constitutional. Is it not possible that Karnwea was in respect of the law since he resigned 6-days after the Supreme Court upheld the code as a law?”

Here, Cllr. Dean insists that Karwea was still in violation. Banks also asked why the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners has been signing the rejection notices alone.

In response Cllr. Dean said traditionally, the chair speaks and act on behalf of NEC. But Justice Banks again asked if the chair had been acting in error because past documents had been signed by all commissioners.

Cllr. Dean acknowledges the need for other Commissioners to have signed but said systems were not in place as it relates to the Code of Conduct, especially to have due process and allow all the commissioners to sign on a rejection.

Earlier Justice Banks had asked lawyers representing the LP and karnwea whether it was Karnwea’s desire to run for the LP VP or Political office. The lawyers responded by saying Karnwea could not have desire to be a vice running mate to Cllr. Charles Brumskine two years ago and that he only desire to have been after he was approached by the LP standard bearer.

Justice Ja’neh: “whatever definition (in respect to desire) is whether the client knows that this (Code of Conduct) is a law?” “It’s a law but it’s not applicable to co-appellant and as such the decision to reject him is erroneous and should be reversed,” lawyers representing both Karnwea and Liberty Party said.

Inclosing, Chief Justice Kporkpor announced that the court had reserved ruling, he did not say when the ruling will be handed down but hearing into the appeal filed by the Alternative National Congress and its running mate Jeremaih Solunteh is scheduled for today.

 

Lawmaker arrested

Grand Gedeh County Electoral District #2 Representative Morais Waylee has been arrested by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) for criminal conspiracy, after facing accusation for several months that he allegedly raped a 13 - year - old girl in Grand Gedeh County.


Police Inspector General Gregory Col. Gregory Coleman told reporters after Rep. Waylee’s arrest on Thursday, 13 July that the lawmaker and his wife have been on police wanted list over concerns that the alleged rape victim whom police have been seeking to interview could not be found up to the time of the arrest.

The police chief says anyone who knows the whereabouts of the alleged rape victim should alert the police, and also pleads with the public to signal the police whenever Rep. Waylee’s wife is spotted anywhere in order to have her arrested.

The Grand Gedeh County lawmaker had gone to the Capitol Building on Thursday morning, 13 July for regular legislative session when some officers of the police through the Sergeant-At-Arms of the House of Representatives delivered his arrest warrant to him.

Upon the delivery of the arrest warrant, Rep. Waylee was immediately dragged out of the Capitol Building and led to the LNP Headquarters for questioning. Some eye - witnesses claim that Rep. Waylee was disgracefully handcuffed while being taken to the police headquarters on Capitol Hill.

In what appears to be a show of solidarity, several of his colleagues including Senator G. Alphonso Gaye, Representatives Worlea Sawah Dunah, Zoe Emmanuel Pennue, Alex Grant, George Mulbah, Garrison Yealue, and Chief of office staff Eric Kennedy in the speaker’s [office] escorted the disgraced Rep. Waylee to the police headquarters.

Prior to his arrest, authorities of the LNP had earlier engaged Speaker Emmanuel James Nuquay and the entire leadership of the House of Representatives for the arrest of Rep. Waylee.

The accused lawmaker has been facing allegations of raping a 13 - year - old girl who is said to be his niece. The incident reportedly took place in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County in early May this year.

Rep. Waylee has since denied the allegation, terming it as mere propaganda only intended to besmear his hard earned character. Later, Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe and some key officials of government visited the headquarters of the police.

His colleagues were seen in the corridor of the police headquarters apparently trying to lobby with Police Inspector General Col. Gregory Coleman for Rep. Waylee’s release to the House of Representatives.

Rape is a capital offense here, and the laws here make it a non - bailable offense. Suspects are often held in police custody while being investigated, and when charged, they are subsequently detained at prison facilities where they will remain until they are duly prosecuted.

Rep. Waylee’s fingers’ prints were later taken by police and made to write a formal statement. The police however denied reporters the opportunity of photographing Rep. Waylee.

It was reported in the local media here on 3 May that a member of the House of Representatives was sexually involved with a 13-year-old girl, leading to an alleged pregnancy.
By Bridgett Milton--Edited by Winston W. Parley

‘Brumskine should know better’

Opposition presidential hopeful Mr. Simeon Freeman of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) says Liberty Party (LP) standard bearer Cllr. Charles Brumskine should have known better by not supporting the idea for his disqualified running mate Mr. Harrison Kanwea to go to Court.


Speaking at the MPC headquarters in Sinkor on Thursday, 13 July, the businessman turned - politician claimed that people that are seeking the country’s highest offices are the ones that are undermining the law.

He reminds veteran Liberian lawyer Cllr. Brumskine that Section 5.1 of the Code of Conduct says those who hold public offices should resign two years before running for elected positions. “Brumskine, who claimed to be lawyer, should know better and abide by the law”, Mr. Freeman suggests.

“This presidency is not for jokers, 2017 we are Determined”, Mr. Freeman continues. He believes that the disqualified LP running mate Mr. Kanwea built evidence against himself by not [resigning] within the two years period, instead of doing so two years before the elections.
By Ethel A. Tweh--Edited by Winston W. Parley

More booing for Baokai

The Movement for Progressive Change or MPC Mr. Samuel Freeman has taken issues with Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, the Unity Party (UP) standard bearer over alleged Cocopa money.

He also claims that President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf is pretending not to be siding with her vice president Mr. Boakai in this election as a way of enabling him to gain more votes from the Liberian people on sympathy. Mr. Freeman accuses Mr. Boakai of having a budget of US$2.1 million dollars but is doing nothing for the Liberian people.

“Boakai pretended to be sleeping every time because he never wanted to be blamed for all the lapses that are ongoing in this country, just because he was eyeing the presidency”, says Freeman.

The MPC leader argues that VP Boakai controls 2.1 million dollars budget with 15 employees, while the community colleges, the Liberia National Police (LNP), the physician school and other major facilities in the country have been underpaid.

In the midst of such a challenge, Mr. Freeman notes that one man controls such a huge amount and does nothing, but sat for 12 years with a lot of money. He says Mr. Boakai said nothing when the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) broke down while 300 persons were taken from the institution.

“I encourage the Liberian people to boo at the joker, let him sit … down, he has never visited Clara Town in the past 12 years”, he says, adding that Mr. Boakai is visiting the Clara Town today because he wants to be president.

He describes Mr. Boakai’s running mate House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay as belly - driven and one of the most corrupt individuals in Liberia.

In closing, Mr. Freeman promises to provide jobs for Zogoes or disadvantaged youths and uneducated people by opening factories so that they can be employed he takes office.
--Edited by Winston W. Parley

U.S. pledges continued support to Liberia

The United States Ambassador to Liberia Christine Elder says her country and other international partners will continue to support Liberia’s development as it moves to the next chapter.


Speaking late Wednesday evening, 12 July during the observance of the U.S. 241st independence in Monrovia, Amb. Elder expressed confidence that the transfer of remaining responsibilities will happen as smoothly as the transfer of security responsibilities a year ago.

She notes that the U.S. has been pleased to lend a helping hand as Liberia advances the professionalization of its Armed Forces and the police. Amb. Elder says the U.S. –Liberia relationship remains strong, and that their commitment to that partnership is deep. She adds that their mutual goals are Clear, noting that this focus has allowed them to make great strides forward in cooperation, development, and security.

The U.S. envoy notes that she is very confident that Liberia’s election will be free, fair, transparent and peaceful. She says she looks forward to candidates sharing their vision for Liberia with the benefit of a level playing field of electoral competition.

For her part, President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf said over the years, the celebration has given an opportunity to reflect on longstanding historical ties between the two nations.

She said Liberians are not only friends of America but share a common
history that bear the same principles that they are family.

Mrs. Sirleaf says after two and a half century of existing, the people of the United States have remained true to these principles and value which inspire its independence, citing freedom, liberty and justice.

President Sirleaf notes that these values have built a strong nation. She concludes that as Liberians move to election, the people must once again decide the destiny of our nation.
--Edited by Winston W. Parley

PUP embraces UP ticket

The National Chairman of the People’s Unification Party or PUP, Mr. Isobe Gborkorkollie, says his party is overpoweringly impressed with Vice President Joseph Boakai’s recent selection of Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay as his running for the October elections, describing it as a well-thought and well-informed decision.


Addressing a news conference on Thursday, 13 July at his party headquarters in Monrovia, he says there are no doubts that the Boakai-Nuquay Ticket is the best pair to effectively manage Liberia’s transition after President Sirleaf steps down in January 2018.

He says the Vice President and the Speaker are two magnificent nationalists, who have won the great respect and admiration of their respective generations and have both individually and collectively distinguished themselves as men of virtues in testing times.

“They have been tried, tested and proven right”, he adds and refers to the two officials as wonder boys who have unraveled a new picture in the political landscape of Liberia.
Chairman Gborkorkollie continues that the UP Ticket for the pending elections is a ticket of integrity, saying “This Ticket represents great political tranquilizers with the attractive power to pull, bound together and lead Liberia to newer heights of certainty and self-actualization as opposed to hope and wishful thinking.”

According to him, the Boakai-Nuquay Ticket is destined by time and ordained by heaven to deliver the new Liberia that Liberians have long craved and envisaged.The PUP Chair calls on other political parties and their leaders from indulging in throwing tantrums, gibberish and brazen attacks, noting that the PUP believes that instead of walking the wrong road, political party leaders should learn to exercise restraint and allow reasoning to surpass emotions.

-Editing by Jonathan Browne

NAYMOTE ends Natural Resources Management forum

The National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections or NAYMOTE has ended several days of interactive forum with cross section of citizens in Maryland County, southeast Liberia.


The forum focused on the group’s recent initiative to get the views of citizens in the county on the usage of the county development and social development funds. According to NAYMOTE, after conducting 1,459 mobile surveys, discussions with 90 focus groups and more than 100 key informant interviews, using research themes and question, the LAVI-NRM coalition found that the current section nine of the budget law unduly empowers the county legislative caucuses.

The research also indicates that vast majority of people only receive information about the funds from radio talk shows, and that women in large proportion have very limited avenues for participation.

It uncovered that key actors, including government, CSOs and concessionaires are never available to citizens for redress, while low number of respondents have actually not participated in any community consultations, county sitting, and town hall meetings, among others.

The NAYMOTE research also says Civil Society Organizations believes that the budget law adversely affects inclusiveness and representation. The forum focused on how citizens could have their inputs or recommendation imbedded in the draft document on the usage and having access to the county development and social development funds.
Marylanders during the forum recommended that the power be given to the people rather than the legislative causes, and that a committee from the community be set up to investigate complaints from development projects, including a need to have separate accounts for CDF and SDF.

They want a resolution signed in the county to ensure that districts hold development meetings to identify priority projects as well as people to represent them at county sitting instead of local officials or caucus members.

By George K. Momo/ Maryland-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Protest greets Boakai in Clara Town

 

A visit by Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and his newly chosen running mate, Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay to densely populated slum community of Clara Town on Bushrod Island Wednesday, 12 July was greeted with protest by placard carrying youths.


The protestors, chanting among others, “Boakai you will pay for what you eat” and “Boakai’s U.S. rate 150” approached the Vice President’s convoy as it enters the slum community, but were restrained by security forces.

The Vice President is vying to succeed incumbent President Sirleaf.It all started when a rival youth group under the banner, “Friends for the Future” invited the 76 years old presidential candidate to endorse his bid for the nation’s top office.

The demonstrators in their youthful ages stormed the main street, commencing from Clara Town Store to the Clara Town Hall, barricading the Matthew Sonnie Public School, the venue of the endorsement.

Apparently, realizing the potential risk, the organizers with help from the Executive Protection Service invited riot units from the Liberia National Police to provide security for the event.

The demonstrators briefly abandoned their quest as though they have forgotten their plans, while the program was hurriedly held with apprehension on the faces of the audience.

Clara Town is the birth place and one of the strong holds of presidential hopeful Senator George Manneh Weah, who is Standard Bearer of the Coalition for Democratic Change. The Liberian soccer ambassador began his football career here.

As attendees of the program left the town hall, the demonstrators in their numbers stormed the grounds, this time with placards and at the same time throwing plastic missiles at the convoy of the Vice President and his guests.

Tensions built up subsequently and things went loose, but quickly, the elite Emergency Response Unit of the Liberia National Police speedily spread in the street, chasing out demonstrators and bystanders in a bid to create safe corridor for Vice President Boakai to leave.

The protestors did not only go after Boakai and his team, but members and officials of the “Friends for the Future”, launching missiles and anything that their hands could get hold of.

Petty traders along the Clara Town Store were forced to abandon their markets, while students took to their heels.Veep Boakai had earlier engaged the street, waving to residents and bystanders before quickly getting onboard his presidential motorcade.

The demonstrators alleged that since his ascendency, Vice President Boakai had never visited the community nor shared in their poverty. They argued that the Unity Party-led administration has done nothing for the Liberian populace, but subjecting them to extreme poverty, deaths, poor education and health, among others.

One of the protestors, John Wleh, says the visitation and subsequent endorsement of Boakai is a mockery. “Unity Party and Joseph Boakai think we are stupid, after eating our money for the past 12 years, as the second man in command, they are finding another means to continue eating our resources, while we sit, live and eat poverty. This must stop and it will stop today,” he expresses in anger.

This is the first public protest against the governing UP Standard Bearer in the impending elections, coming within just two days after naming little known Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay as his running mate.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Police subpoenaed in U.S. stolen cars case

Multiple subpoenas have been ordered by the Criminal Court “C” to be issued against the Liberia National Police, privately - run United Bank for Africa (UBA) and other individuals in the ongoing case surrounding alleged seven stolen U.S. cars at the Temple of Justice.


“...[The] Clerk is ordered to have the subpoena issued for the appearance of the named individuals on Thursday, the same being the 13th day of July 2017 at the hour of 10:00 a.m.,” presiding Criminal Court “C” Judge Yussif D. Kaba ordered on Tuesday, 11 July at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.

The judge’s order came on Tuesday after granting defense counsel’s request to subpoena the various institutions. The defense made the request after prosecution succeeded in having the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia submit to the Court six of seven allegedly stolen cars that are said to be owned by individuals in the U.S.

Police Inspector General Col. Gregory Coleman is specifically subpoenaed to produce the original copies of a letter dated October 25, 2016, over the signature of Cllr. Johnny Momoh and the letter dated November 15, 2016 over the signature of Civil Law Court Clerk Ellen Hall.

The defense team on Tuesday requested the Court to deny prosecution’s request to have its evidence admitted to form part of the Court’s records, on grounds that the “purported police report from the United States of America fall short” of procedural requirement and in substance lacks the chain of custody.

Liberia’s prosecutors indicted four persons for theft of property, economic sabotage, smuggling, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation over claims of seven vehicles being smuggled here and their values understated at the Freeport of Monrovia.

Two of the indictees including defendants Armstrong Tony Campbell and Sheak K. Brown are standing trial in the case, but government says the other two accused persons including Kandakai Sherman and U.S. - based Sheriff Lasuado both of whom remain at large will face separate trial.

On the Court’s order, privately run United Bank for Africa (UBA) is subpoenaed to produce the bank statement of defendant Campbell, while Brokers Association president Avan I.F. Tumbey is subpoenaed to testify to Masu Fahnbulleh’s seizure of custom documents of three of the seven vehicles together with the exit note from the two containers imported under the name Sheak K. Brown Building Center.

He will also be required to testify to security apparatus attestation form, Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) container release form, Bureau Veritas Group Company (BIVAC) custom warehouse, Freeport of Monrovia, vehicles particulars and receipts evidencing payments of custom duties and the original copies of defendants’ title documents to the vehicles in question.
LRA’s Chief Task Collector at the Freeport of Monrovia Cecelia Dixon McGill is being subpoenaed to produce the letter requesting amendment to the import declaration made by the defendants and to testify to it.
Additionally, LRA’s Head of Anti - Smuggling Masu Fahnbulleh is being subpoenaed to produce original copies of the import and custom documents of the 2014 Toyota Raffle; 2016 Mercedes Benz GL 450; 2016 Dodge RAM 1500, among others.
The case is expected to be heard today, Thursday, 13 July at 10 a.m.-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

Citizens crave for credible elections

Dozens of Liberians in the provisional town of Tubmanburg in Bomi County, western Liberia are calling on the National Elections Commission (NEC) to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections scheduled for October this year.


They made the call recently in Sass Town during an interview with The New Dawn. The citizens, including youth and chiefs, stress that for peace and stability to be maintained in the country, the NEC should do all within its means to ensure that the process leading to the October elections is very credible to avoid confusion.

hey also emphasize that Liberians are tired of going in exile simply of disputed polls.According to them, all Liberians, including political actors are under obligation to ensure that they talk to their followers not to engage in violence during and after the electoral process.

The citizens’ call comes barely two months to the October Presidential and Representative polls which will see a new government coming to office.They stress that the international community must put in place measures that would prevent acts of violence during the polls, adding that any candidate that promote violence during the elections should be arrested and prosecuted for endangering the peace and security of the country.

The citizens admonished youth of the county not are deceived by so-called politicians, whose real intent is to use them to create trouble in the land if they are not successful in these elections.

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