-Orders committee to arrange certification of Samukai
The National Elections Commissions (NEC) may ignore a communication send to it by the Minister of Justice (MOJ) Cllr. Frank Musa Dean requesting that body not to confirmed and certificate Lofa County Senator-elect J. Brownie Samukai because he (Samukai) has been found guilty of criminal charges.
The NEC Board of Commissioners on Tuesday March 2, ordered its Certification Committee, under the Political Affairs Section, to officially arrange and workout all modalities for the certification Ceremony
In a statement issued following the NEC Board of Commissioners sitting, the Board instructed its Certification Committee to arrange for the certification of both Samukai and James Biney of Maryland Counties respectively.
The decision follows the reading of the mandate of the Supreme Court, which among other things confirmed the election of the embattled former defense minister as the winner of the 8 December 2020 Special Senatorial Elections in Lofa County.
The mandate of the Supreme Court signed by its Clerk Sam Momolu also instructed the Elections Commission to resume jurisdiction of the Lofa County appeal case of elections irregularities.
NEC Chair Davidetta Browne Lansanah said having resumed jurisdiction of the matter, the Certification Committee, led by the Political Affairs Office is instructed to work out all modalities of the time and date for certification of J. Browne Samukai as Senator of Lofa County and suspended the matter.
The case grew out of the action of elections irregularities filed by Ahmed and James as first complainants and Kesselly and Peter as Second Complainants all of Lofa County. But the Highest Court said they had no standings to challenge the results as they were not Political Parties and Candidates.
The NEC Board also heard a motion to dismiss the appeal taken by defeated Maryland County Senator H Dan Marias paving the way for the certification of James Biney.
Lawyers representing Sen. H. Dan Marias led by Cllr. Wilfred Sayer after representations by both the Complainant and Respondent, first made a submission and informed the Administrative Court that they interposed no objection to the motion to dismiss the appeal and expressed no interest to continue the case against Biney, the declared winner of the 8 December 2020 Special Senatorial Elections in Maryland County.
The Chairperson of the BOC Davidetta Browne Lansanah in the ruling said after the complainant listened to the soundness of the motion to dismiss and interposes no objection to the motion to dismiss, the Administrative Court granted the motion to dismiss as pray for by the Complainant. The Chairperson then suspended the Lofa and Maryland counties elections dispute cases as a matter of law.
Attempt by reporters to get comment from the Lofa County senator elect about the decision of NEC, refused to speak to Journalists.
Prior to the NECs decision, a group calling itself Citizens Movement in Solidarity with Brownie Samukai staged a peaceful protest at the premises of NEC demanding the commission to certificate Mr. Samukai.
The protesters widely made of students activists hailing from Lofa County, also paraded the street chanting slogan such as “Certificate Samukai now and NEC stop playing politics with Samukai”.
Most of the protesters who appeared at the NEC with the notion that the Lofa County Senator elect would had been officially certificated by NEC appeared disappointed when the commission ordered its Certification Committee to arrange another date for the certification.
Most of the protesters who were dressed up in jean trousers, white T-Shirts with red and blue berets on their heads, asserted that the NEC was heading for trouble due to its failure to certificate the Lofa County Senator elect.
For his part, the lawyer of Mr. Samukai Cllr. Augustine Fayah accused the government of playing politics with the certification of his client by dragging Samukai’s confirmation. Cllr. Fayah disclosed that the action by the government is also intended to deny Mr. Samukai the opportunity to begin official work as Senator elect of Lofa County.
He warned the government to stop playing politics with the Lofa County Senator elect to enable him join his colleagues at the National Legislature to do the Liberian people business.
There was no arrest made by the police and no injury reported during the protest on Tuesday, 3 March.
Mr. Samukai was charged by the Government of Liberia (GOL) of misapplication of over USD 1 million-money belonging to soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) along with two other high profiled former officials of the Ministry of National Defense during the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf regime.
The trio were convicted of criminally conspiring to siphon the money. They were asked to restitute with first installment over the period of six months or face jail sentences.