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Politics News

NEC lawyer ill-prepared

Associate Justice Sie – A – Nyene Yuoh has told National Elections Commission (NEC’s) Counsel Alexander B. Zoe and his team that they went to court “ill-prepared” during rigorous review of arguments advanced by lawyers representing the Commission and disqualified representative aspirant, Amos Siebo.

Justice Yuoh told Cllr. Zoe on Friday, 25 August at the Supreme Court that “y’all come here ill-prepared”, holding him to account for his failure to correct errors in papers the NEC filed with the Supreme Court despite having boasted in the Court that he took part in the 2011 elections.

Arguments at the Court on Friday surround the NEC’s disqualification of President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s former official Mr. Siebo, who prior to his arrest in February over electoral offenses, was a consultant at the President’s Delivery Unit (PDU).

While claim of Mr. Siebo allegedly conducting voter’s registration at his house outside of NEC’s operation is yet to be decided, the accused independent aspirant has taken the Commission to the Supreme Court appealing against his disqualification to contest in Montserrado County District #1.

Mr. Siebo’s lawyer, Cllr. Karnga insists that his client has a residence made of large compartment, one of which he claims is being used as political office while the back porch is being used as kitchen by Siebo’s wife.

The Justices’ frustration at NEC is the repeated errors of not making records of electoral matters to be presented as evidence against those making claims, in addition to NEC counsel’s failure to number papers filed with the Court for easy reference.

Justice Phillip A.Z. Banks, III, in his line of questioning said the Supreme Court has ruled that in elections’ matters, you do not conduct issues by telephone, quizzing Cllr. Zoe whether the NEC wrote then aspirant Siebo, while at the same time requested that the electoral body produced evidence of such sufficient notice address to him if there are any.

But Cllr. Zoe insists that Siebo took part in the hearing and he did not convince the NEC that he had district headquarters and therefore and therefore it was ruled against him.

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After the NEC’s Nomination Committee found that Mr. Siebo did not have office, Cllr. Zoe says the aspirant was told on 20 July to correct his deficiency, which he allegedly failed to do the next day, 21 July.

Despite claims that Mr. Siebo did not have office, the Nomination Committee appears not to have immediately recommended his rejection, instead recommending acceptance of his application to allow room for screening.

When Chief Justice Francis S. Kporkpor, Sr. inquired from Cllr. Zoe whether he didn’t think the Committee should have recommended Siebo’s rejection when it was established that he had no office, the counsel replied that his understanding of the process is that when aspirant comes, the committee writes recommendation of acceptance.

Following that process, he continued, scrutiny then takes place to decide the aspirant’s fate. It prompted a question from Justice Jamesetta – Wolokolie as to how the Committee recommends acceptance when it hasn’t reviewed the documents.

Cllr. Zoe at some points says the NEC notes the Justices’ corrections. Siebo’s counsel Karnga equally admitted to his own “recklessness” in working out his client’s case, particularly when he was being pushed about by Justices over his failure to file his exception in time to a ruling by the NEC against his client. Cllr. Karnga blamed his failure on traffic jam in Monrovia. –By Winston W. Parley

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