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Lawyers want NEC case dismiss

Says LACC is prosecuting on non-existing laws

Lawyers representing National Elections Commission (NEC) chair Madam Davidetta Browne Lansanah has asked Criminal Court “C” Judge T. Ciapha Carey to dismiss the case saying, the alleged crime of insider trading upon which the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) is prosecuting their client has not been enacted.

“Because Movant says that the alleged crime of insider trading has not been enacted into law and has not been penalized under our law statutory laws and therefore Movant cannot and should not plead to the alleged crime of insider trading,” lawyers representing the NEC chairperson said in their motion filed Monday March 8.

The LACC thru its Executive Chairperson Cllr. Edwin Kla Martin on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, indicted Madam Browne Lansanah for alleged conflict of interest and corruption.

Report had it in November 2021 that the NEC under the supervision of Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah during the November 16, 2021 by-elections in four counties, rented thermometers from a company called Tuma Enterprises Inc., allegedly owned by her brothers for over US$180,000 outside of government procurement regulations.

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She was charged and indicted for the alleged crime of insider trading in violation of Part II, Section 2.2 of the 2008 Corruption Acts establishing the LACC.

Section 2.2 of the LACC Acts defines Acts of Corruption-bribery, embezzlement, extortion, fraud, influence peddling, Insider trading, misuse of entrusted public property, and vested authority and any other economic and financial crimes which are now provided for under the Penal Code of Liberia or may hereafter be defined and enacted.

Thus the NEC boss lawyers argued that since the alleged crime is yet to be enacted, the court has no jurisdiction over her and therefore should dismiss the case.

Mrs. Browne-Lansanah was also charged and indicted for violating the Code of Conduct for public employees (conflict of interest, relative, use of office for private interest and disclosure of interest, which are among a list of violations for all public employees.

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But the lawyers are counter arguing that the court does not have any jurisdiction over their client as it relates to the violation of the Code of Conduct for public officials in the said matter.

“Movant says that the Code of Conduct provides its own disciplinary processes in the event where there is an infringement /breach of the Code in Part XIV Section 14.1.”

They defended their argument by propounding that Part XII of the very Code of Conduct provides for the creation of the office of an Ombudsman: section 12.1 of the Code of Conduct states: “The office of an Ombudsman is hereby established as an independent autonomous body which shall be responsible for the enforcement, oversight, monitoring and evaluation of the adherence to the code of Conduct”

According to the lawyers, section 12.2 of Part XII of the Code of Conduct also provides “the office of the Ombudsman shall receive and investigate all complaints in respect to the adherence of the Code of Conduct. In the case where there is a determination of guilt and violation of the Code by private and public officials and employees of Government said violation shall be submitted by the Ombudsman to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission or other relevant agencies of Government.

The lawyers also further their argument by insisting that the LACC violated Part XVI section 16.1 of the Code of Conduct when it took upon itself to accept a complaint of an alleged violation of the Code of Conduct, conduct investigation and submitted its alleged illegal investigative findings and conclusion to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/nec-challenges-lacc/

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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