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Samukai’s certification halted again

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Justice in chambers Joseph Nagbe, through the Clerk of the Supreme Court, has written National Elections Commission (NEC) Chairperson, Madam Davidetta Brown – Lansanah, to stay all further actions in relation to the election matters concerning Lofa County Senator – elect Brownie Samukai. “Meanwhile, you are hereby ordered to stay all further proceedings and / or actions in the matter, pending the outcome of the conference,” the communication dated 5 March reads.

It follows a petition for a writ of prohibition filed against the NEC’s planned certification of Mr. Samukaiby businessman – turned politician, Simeon Freeman’s political party, the Movement for progressive Change (MPC).The Chambers Justice cites the NEC, Samukai and the MPC to a conference due Tuesday afternoon, 9 March.

“By directive of His Honor Joseph N. Nagbe, Associate Justice presiding in Chambers, you are hereby cited to a conference with His Honor on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, at the hour of 2:00 p.m. in connection with the above case.”

Despite pressure mounted by the Ministry of Justice to thwart Samukai’s certification, the National Elections Commissions had, in honor of the Supreme Court’s mandate, scheduled to certificate the former Defense Minister early March before the MPC petitioned the court for a prohibition against the certification.

The Justice Ministry wants to deny Samukai of being certificated to sit in the Senate on the basis of his conviction in a criminal case in which he and his two deputies were found guilty of spending soldiers’ personal pension savings without their consent.

After being elected as Senator in Lofa, the Supreme Court later upheld a lower court’s decision convicting Samukai and the two other former officials.

But the court gave the convicts a suspended sentence, with the options to make restitution within a year, or face jail term for two years each if they failed. The time for restitution has not elapsed.

Regarding a complaint filed by Ahmed and James, and Kesselly and Peter, claiming elections irregularities in Lofa County which originally delayed Samukai’s certification, the Supreme Court ruled that the complainants had no standings to challenge the results as they were not political parties and candidates.
Based on the Supreme Court’s decision in the election irregularities case, the NEC’s Board of Commissioners last week ordered its Certification Committee to officially arrange and workout all modalities to certificate Samukai, as well as James Binney of Maryland County.

Ahead of the planned certification of Samukai, the MPC suddenly filed a petition before the Supreme Court for a writ of prohibition which resulted to the Chambers Justice citing the parties to conference this Tuesday.

By Winston W. Parley

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