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NEC wants 1.9 million to find Samukai’s replacement

The National Elections Commission (NEC) has submitted a budget of One Million, Nine Hundred Thirty-four Thousand, Seven Hundred Twenty Dollars and Eighty Cents (1. 934, 720. 80) to the National Legislature for the conduct of Lofa by-election.

The move follows the Feb. 16 notification to NEC of the existence of a vacancy in the Liberian Senate for a seat for Lofa County.

The seat was declared vacant by the Senate after its winner in the December 8, 2020 elections-former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai was denied the seat due to legal battles.

The legal battles stemmed from his March 24, 2020 conviction over the misappropriation of about US$1,147,656.35 soldiers’ pension money, whilst he was serving as defense minister under former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

On January 27, 2022, the Supreme Court of Liberia revoked the suspension of the two years jail sentence of Lofa County Senator-elect Samukai and his two deputies, saying they have collectively failed to comply with the mandate and judgment of the Supreme Court in which they were ordered to pay 50 percent of the judgment sum in the amount of US$573,828.15 within the period of six months.

Samukai and his two deputies, Joseph Johnson and James Nyuman Ndokor were indicted and found guilty for theft of property, criminal conspiracy, misuse of public money and money laundering in the sum of one million, one hundred forty-seven thousand, six hundred fifty-six United States Dollars, thirty-five cents (US$1,147,656.35).

The money was expended from soldiers’ pension funds without their consent during Samukai’s service as Minister of Defense under the Sirleaf administration for 12 years.

President Weah suspended Samukai’s two years jail sentence and directed the Ministry of Finance to restructure the payment of the amount days after the Senate declared the Lofa seat vacant.

In a statement issued by NEC on Friday, Feb. 25, the Commission also submitted its timeline for the conduct of the Senatorial By-election in Lofa County in which Election Day is set for 10 May 2022.

The Commission noted that it is acting upon the notification of a vacancy in the Senate pursuant to article 37 which states “that in the event of a vacancy in the Legislature, caused by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days notify the National Elections Commission thereof. The National Elections Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter cause a by-election to be held; provided that where such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the holding of general elections, the filling of the vacancy shall await the holding of such general elections”.   

Meanwhile, a Steering Committee for the Lofa Senatorial By-election has been set up to coordinate activities of the By-election.

The NEC statement said Commissioner Ernestine Morgan Awar heads the Lofa Senatorial By-election Steering Committee.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/senate-declares-samukais-seat-vacant/

NewDawn

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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