The former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) of imprisoned ex-president Charles G. Taylor has been accused of misleading and lying to the Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia in order to secure an alternative wri t of prohibition against the certification of Margibi County senator-elect, James Tornolah.
In the ongoing legal battle over several results of the December 20, 2014 senatorial election, Cllr. Golda Elliott claimed before the full bench of the Supreme Court Friday, January 16, 2015 that Chamber Justice Phillip A.Z. Banks, III, issued a stay order against the certification of Mr. Tornolah “based on false and misleading information” provided by the NPP.
At Friday’s hearing presided over this time by Chief Justice, His Honor Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., the Supreme Court heard arguments into four out of five separate petitions seeking answers one after the other to a single question, whether or not, the NEC could certificate five elected senators, while complaints against them were still pending.
Of the five senators against whom their contenders had filed protests, two were already certificated and inducted into office, including Maryland County’s Gblebo Brown, who is being challenged by incumbent Representative Bhofal Chambers.
But the remaining three including veteran corporate lawyer Cllr. Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County; Bomi’s Morris Saytumah and Margibi’s James Tornolah, were denied certification by the NEC when their contenders secured writs of prohibitions from the Supreme Court ahead of the issuance of certificates to all winning candidates.
In her submission over the weekend, Cllr. Elliott prayed that the high court dismiss the NPP’s petition because it did not have any case pending at the NEC on January 2, 2015 as it claimed, when it petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of prohibition against Mr. Tornolah’s certificate.
She claimed that the NPP’s complaint was received subsequently by the NEC on January 5, 2015 at 9:57 am after the former ruling party had already succeeded in having the Supreme Court issued a writ of prohibition against Tornolah’s certification.
Concluding, Cllr. Elliott asked the court to withdraw the alternative writ of prohibition and lift the stay order issued based on NPP’s misleading information.
But in response, the NPP’s lawyer Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould, who is also the embattled chairman of the party, termed Cllr. Elliott’s submission as “merely dilatory” and does not comply with the laws here, arguing that it was intended to introduce “unorthodox matters.”
Cllr. Gould argued that the NPP’s complaint was filed with the NEC within the statutory time on January 2, 2015; but alleged that the NEC’s bureaucratic process caused it to note receipt of the complaint on January 5, 2015.
However, Chief Justice Korkpor said the court will pass on the matter when it is making decision in the cases before it regarding the just ended election.
Meanwhile, counsels for defeated candidates and those for both NEC and candidates declared winners continued to argue on Friday their earlier positions on the certificate issue.
NEC and the winning candidates say certificates should be issued to those declared winners because at all time, the people deserve representation.
Citing Section 6.2 of the Election Laws, the pro-certificate counsels said when election related investigation determines that a seated senator does not deserve the office; he or she will be unseated by the NEC.
But the counsels for petitioners insist that in as much there was a complaint against the declaration of a candidate as a winner, the NEC must be prohibited from certificating said candidate until decision is fully made into the protest.