Senate gives NEC two-week ultimatum
By Ethel A. Tweh
Liberian Senate President Pro-Tempore Albert T. Chie has given the National Elections Commission (NEC) a two-week ultimatum to resolve an issue with Attorney Teage Jalloh.
The issue concerns Atty. Jalloh, who serves in the position of legal advisor to NEC without being a Counselor-At- Law.
Pro-Tempore Chie gave the mandate on Thursday, 9 March 2023 when the NEC’s Board of Commissioners appeared before the Senate Plenary to address questions regarding the ability and preparedness of the electoral house to conduct the 2023 elections. The Senate was also concerned about the structure of the NEC’s legal department.
Pro-Tempore Chie said since it is an administrative decision that was taken by the NEC board of commissioners, the board must decide as he has directed.
The Grand Kru Senator said the Act creating the NEC requires that before serving in such a position, the person should be a Counselor-at-law.
Senator Chie noted further that the Legislature needs to make sure that anybody occupying the position as NEC legal advisor is qualified as the 2023 election approaches.
Speaking earlier, NEC Chairperson Madam Davidetta Brown-Lassana acknowledged that Attorney Jalloh is assigned in the legal section as acting legal counsel. She said he is a 2004 graduate of a law school in the United States of America.
The NEC Chairperson said Attorney Jalloh was admitted into three separate jurisdictions in America as an attorney-at-law and is a member of the Liberia Bar Association since 2016 as attorney-at-law.
She further said Jalloh serves as a law clerk to NEC’s past board of commissioners and was serving in such a position before acting as a legal counsellor.
She added that Jalloh has presently applied to the Supreme Court for admission as counselor-at-law, but the Supreme Court has demanded a copy of his degree from law school in America.
She said Jalloh has applied to the law school in question for a photocopy of his degree, adding that the issue of Jalloh is an administrative decision that can be taken by the NEC board of commissioners.
She indicated that an administrative decision will be made because it is a human function, and the NEC board has to review the process and come up with a decision.
“It is difficult for me to give a time frame in the legal advisor case because we need to review and find a way forward, but the NEC will work with any decision on the matter,” she said.