Electoral cases prematurely filed
-NEC tells Supreme Court
The lawyer representing the National Elections Commission at the Supreme Court, Cllr. Joseph Bledi, says “all or most” of the cases were filed “prematurely” at the high court. He made the observation during Monday’s argument as to whether or not the NEC was right to certificate winners amid protests.
On Monday, January 19, 2015, Cllr. Bledi argued that the NEC did nothing wrong to warrant a prohibition prayed for by several defeated senatoria candidates from the Supreme Court, on grounds that it has not acted outside its authority by certificating winners.
He said the NEC, which declares winners after elections also has the authority to “undo” what it did, meaning that the commission could decertificate and ask the person already seated in office to leave, where investigation shows they are not the duly elected candidate.
Using Article 83 (c) as reliance in his argument, he insisted that the NEC has authority to revoke the certificate of the person ealier declared winner to be replaced by the duly elected person after it is proven that the case went against the person in office.
But this argument continues to raise more questions in the ongoing case at the Supreme Court from counsellors and even Justices on the bench, especially in seeking answer to what could happen where protests arise against presidential elections when candidate declared winner has taken office and begun the duty of State.
Among others, Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh could not agree with the scenario provided by Cllr. Golda Elliott, a counsel representing Margibi County Senator-elect, James Tonolah, when he asked her to give instance of an elected person, who has taken office and later removed in the manner as argued because findings from protest showed they were not duly elected.
The writs of prohibitions from the Supreme Court on the NEC led the commission not to certificate Grand Cape Mount County senator-elect, Cllr. Varney Sherman, Bomi’s Morris Saytumah and Margibi’s Tonolah because their contenders said they had cases at NEC that had not been concluded.
Notwithstanding the protests did’t affect just the three senators-elect, but also a few others who are already seated in offices. The ruling of the Supreme Court will certainly determine the fate of all parties concerned.
The petitioners however continue to insist that in as much there is complaint against individuals announced as winners of the December 20, 2014 senatorial election, the Supreme Court should not allow the NEC to certificate them until investigation is concluded.
Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould and Cllr. Saymah Syrenious Cephus both represented petitoner Professor Ansu Sonii, who is challenging the elections result on claims of bribery.
The Supreme Court is not looking at matters of irregularities, but simply on whether or not candidates could be certificated, while they still had protests against their declaration as winners.
The high court has reserved rulling and adjourned matters “to meet subject to call.”