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GeneralLiberia news

Police detain man for attempted double registration

By: Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland County

Police in Pleebo, Maryland County, southeast Liberia are investigating a 31-year-old man identified as Michael Nah, for allegedly cheating in the biometric voter registration (BVR) process in the county

The incident occurred on Thursday, April 27, at the Central Site High School voter’s registration Center.

The suspect has admitted to the act and appealed to the police for pardon.

Mr. Nah narrated the entire ordeal to reporters, saying that he never had the attention of carrying on double registration, but he had registered at a center where he was not satisfied with his ID card photo so he quickly broke it into pieces and threw it away.

Citizens queue to register

According to him, he had thought that it was possible to obtain a brand-new voter’s card so he decided to move to the Central City High School registration center where he was caught and turned over to the police.

“I first registered at CRC camp registration center. I was not satisfied with the ID card photo, so I told them to take it back, but they refused. So, I broke it into pieces and threw it away. I went to the second center, but they denied me. I was appealing to them to register me, but unfortunately for me, I saw the police entering. I’m appealing to the police to forgive me because it was not my intention and I’m calling on all my friends who have the mind of registering two times to desist”, he cautious.

In response, NEC Registrar at the Central Site High School voter’s registration center, Martha N. Garter, disclosed that suspect Michael Nah visited the center to register but when he sat as usual, his fingers were tested by the electronic light which showed that he has already registered at a different center, so the police were contacted.

“After he sat in the chair for his photo to be taken, we flash the light on his fingers and we saw the NEC marks. We started asking him questions but he put on [turned] violence.”

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She continues that the suspect denied earlier, but when the police arrived, he admitted to had earlier registered somewhere else.

Registrar Garter says since the process started in the county, this was first incident of some attempting to double register but warns citizens to desist.

Police term the act as “Voter’s Registration Fraud” after preliminary investigation and placed Suspect Michael Nah behind bars, awaiting further interrogation.

The National Elections Commission is conducting Phase Two of the Biometric Voter’s Registration in Maryland and eight counties ahead of the October 10 polls.

The exercise is ongoing in Bong, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Lofa, Maryland, Nimba, Rivercess, River Gee, and Sinoe counties simultaneously.

The process, however, started at a slow pace especially, in Maryland County with few challenges and turnout has been low so far.

NEC workers arrived late at some centers and in some cases, took up to hours to set up, a situation that caused some people who had gathered very early in the morning to complete the process and return to their normal activities frowning.

This paper visited several registration centers and observed NEC’s workers struggling to secure enough energy supply from solar power to prepare their equipment, something which led to the registration starting very late at some centers.

At the Pleebo High School Center in Pleebo, it was observed that staff could not begin due to the wrong entrance of assigned staff information by NEC, which took the intervention of supervisors to sort things out. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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