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Liberia: SG Cephus warns opposition

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By Lincoln G. Peters 

Liberia’s Solicitor General Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus is warning the public, particularly members of the opposition community to desist from politicking and referring to Lofa County Senator-elect Brownie Samukai’s legal battle as a witch hunt allegedly organized by the government to hinder his political representation at the Liberian Senate.

Speaking on the Spoon Midnight talk show Tuesday, 24 August 2021, Cephus said the Government of Liberia is not witch-hunting Mr. Samukai and doesn’t have any interest in stopping him from taking office, rather it wants the Lofa County Senator-elect to be held accountable in accordance with the law.

Cephus’ comments on the live talk show came days after Liberia’s Supreme Court ordered the National Elections Commission not to certificate Mr. Samukai as Lofa Senator until the disability imposed on him following his conviction in a criminal trial is removed according to law.

Samukai and two other former Defense Ministry officials are convicted of misapplying personal pension saving funds of soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), and they have been ordered to restitute the money to the tune of over a million United States dollars.

Cephus argued that Samukai was indicted by former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s past administration and President George Manneh Weah’s government has only implemented what it inherited from the previous administration.

He explained that the New Election Law provides that people who are having judicial disabilities and disenfranchised are not qualified to vote or take part in elections, something he said they informed the National Elections Commission about.

Cephus added that even though Samukai was not stopped by the NEC and contested the 2020 Midterm Senatorial Election, he will now do as the law says. 

He said the issue is not about Lofa County, explaining that when Samukai appears in court, he appears as Samukai and not Lofa County.

Cephus, therefore, urged that people should stop speculating that the government wants to stop Lofa County’s representation at the Senate.

Additionally, the Solicitor General said there is no battle between Mr. Samukai and the government, rather, it’s a battle between the convict and the law for misappropriation of funds.

The prosecution lawyer noted that when he took over as the head of the Asset Restitution and Recovery Team, they invited Mr. Samukai and told him about the indictment placed on him by the government and he promised to restitute the money in the meeting.

He said after Samukai made the promise, he was shocked to have heard him on the radio saying that the government wanted to witch hunt him.

“When Mr. Brownie Samukai and two others were issued a writ of arrest, they filed a criminal bond in their defense and they promised to jointly do everything together. They also filed into the court that they need a bench trial instead of jurors, and didn’t request the court for separate or severance trial,” said Cephus.

Regarding Samuka’s claim that the money was allegedly taken under the instructions of former President Sirleaf, Cephus argued that the convict failed to bring the former president to court to testify in order to confirm the allegations.

He warned that Mr. Samukai should meet up with his legal obligation as failure on his part, the law will take its course.

Meanwhile, Mr. Samukai is expected to appear before the Criminal Court “C” today, Thursday, 26 August 2021 at the Temple of Justice to give an update to the court regarding the payment of the US$1.5 Million United States dollars that he and the other two convicts are to restitute.

The open hearing is expected to happen at 11:00 am local time at criminal Court C” on Capitol Hill.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/lofa-clears-samukais-50/–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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