The National Elections Commission has sharply reacted to allegation against the commission by Sinoe County Senator j. Milton Teahjay that the Management of the National Port Authority has committed to provide US$40,000 for the recount of votes in River Cess County.
“The attention of the National Elections Commission (NEC) has been drawn to media reports and discussion in the public that authorities of the National Port Authority (NPA) have offered to give the NEC US$40,000 to underwrite the cost of recounting ballots in Rivercess County as mandated in the recent ruling of the Honorable Supreme Court. The NEC wishes to categorically deny these reports and inform the Liberian people that it has never been approached by authorities of the NPA or anyone on such issue.
Besides, the NEC does not receive funds for electoral activities from private entities or individual citizens. Funding for elections is the sole responsibility of the Government of Liberia, which sometimes requests donor partners to assist the Commission,” says NEC chairperson Davidetrta Browne Lassanah.
Speaking in a news conference over the weekend at the commission headquarters in Monrovia, Madam Lassanah said following the decision of the Board of Commissioners to recount ballots in 104 polling places across Rivercess County, the NEC, being cognizant of government’s responsibility to finance elections, developed a proposed budget for the exercise in the amount of Fifty-eight Thousand Fourteen United States Dollars (US$58,014) and submitted it to authorities of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to source funding in the event the Supreme Court upheld the Board’s ruling.
She said this preemptive action of the NEC was necessary given the fact that government’s sourcing of funds to the NEC requires sufficient time for such money to be received in time for the implementation of any electoral activity.
But the NEC maintains that Senator Teahjay’s allegation is unfounded; far from the realities, total lies and a statement that does not represent the facts, instead, total myth.
This latest allegation bring to fourth, lies told in the national space by the Sinoe County Lawmaker namely; during the administration of jailed former President Charles Taylor, Senator Teahjay then deputy minister of Information engaged in fistfight with his former boss, the late ex-Minister of Information Professor Joe W. Mulbah, reportedly for tempering with special allowance intended for a special public relations program.
The matter was investigated and proven that Teahjay did not only lied on his boss, but wrongfully attacked him. Investigative committee at the time established the money was intended for another purpose, and that Teahjay was found guilty for wrongfully attacking his boss and made to apologize.
Teahjay is also on record for accusing Sinoe Representative Matthew Zarzar for reportedly creating a statutory district within Sinoe County.
Investigation conducted by the government through its agencies established that Teahjay, who at the time was Superintendent for the county lied, as the administrative district in question was since created in 2005, during the Transitional Government of late Charles Gyude Bryan, at which time Matthew Zarzar was still in the United States.
NEC chairperson, Davidetta Brown Lassanah said the commission categorically denies the reports and that it has never been approached by authorities of the NPA or anyone on such issue.
Meanwhile, the Board of Commissioners, (BOC) of the National Elections Commission, (NEC) has reserved rulings in two electoral dispute cases currently before the Board.
They include Nimba County Senatorial Election case of Complainant Edith Gongloe-Weh of the Collaborating Political Parties, CPP and the announced winner Jeremiah Koung of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction, MDR.
The second is hearing into an appeal filed by Mr. Othello D. Nagbe of MOVEE as Complainant versus the Coalition for Democratic Change, CDC and the National Elections Commission, NEC from the Sinoe County district number two Representative By-Election conducted on 8 December 2020.
The Board took the decision Friday, 16 February 2021 through the Head of the Administrative Court Davidetta Browne Lansanah following arguments between lawyers representing Edith Gongoloe Weh and Jeremiah Koung.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne