By Lincoln G. Peters
The Secretary-General of the former ruling Unity Party (UP), Mr. Mo Ali has rejected a purported document presented to him for his recognition as the framework document of the disintegrated Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) in the ongoing trial of Alternative National Congress (ANC) political leader Mr. Alexander B. Cummings.
Appearing as State witness against Mr. Cummings Tuesday, 24 May 2022, Mr. Ali testified that the five copies of the CPP framework document that he took around for signing were all in color, signed and submitted to the then chief secretariat of the CPP and ANC Secretary-General, Cllr. Aloysius Toe.
But Mr. Ali said what he was looking at in the courtroom was in black and white and it did not represent the document he took around for signing.
“The document in my hands here I am looking at does not represent the document of the CPP that I took around to the four political leaders and their chairpersons to sign [on] May 19, 2020,” Mr. Ali said after being presented the purported CPP framework document in court.
“The document I took around was printed in color and the one in my hands that I am looking at is in black and white, and it does not represent the document I took around for signing,’’ he continued.
Cummings is currently facing criminal trial at the Monrovia City Court after being accused by All Liberian Party (ALP) political leader Benoni Urey of allegedly tampering with the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) framework document and illegally attaching his (Urey’s) signature to a photocopy version. Cummings has always denied any wrongdoing.
He and his co-defendants have rejected the claim that there existed any original framework document of the Collaborating Political Parties that was signed on 19 May 2020, thereby challenging their accusers to produce the CPP original framework document.
Originally made up of four opposition parties – UP, ANC, ALP and Liberty Party (LP) – the CPP later broke apart, leaving only ANC and a faction of LP as allies following bitter internal conflicts.
However, Mr. Ali on the witness stand Tuesday narrated that a committee was set up to draft the framework document that will bind the CPP together after ALP political leader Mr. Urey was selected to serve as organizing chairman for the formation of the CPP.
Following the committee’s work, Ali said the document was given to the four political parties within the CPP for their review and to make inputs.
He said that process was followed by the setting up of a validation committee to review the document, and the validation committee was chaired by Atty. Lafayette Gould of the ANC with equal representation from the four parties.
“The Committee on April 25, 2020, completed its work and submitted the validation to the parties. Following that, the program was organized for the official signing of the framework document and executed on May 19, 2020,” explained Mr. Ali.
“I organized and served as master of ceremony of the official signing ceremony of the framework document. The signing was done via Zoom due to the outbreak of the COVID-9,’’ Ali testified further.
The Unity Party Secretary-General added that he collected the five copies of the document and took them to the four political leaders and chairpersons of the CPP for the physical signing.
He told the court that the five copies that he took around for signing were all in color and they were signed and submitted to Cllr. Toe, the ANC Secretary-General was then the chief secretariat of the CPP.
According to Mr. Ali, the five copies were to be notarized, one for each of the four political parties and the fifth copy should be filed with the National Elections Commission (NEC) for the registration of the CPP.
But Ali said this was not done due to the public outcry of a particular clause within the document which spoke of jobs distribution to CPP members and qualified Liberians.
“Taking that into consideration, the CPP leadership met and asked a team of lawyers to review the document, particularly the job distributions clause and make recommendations to the CPP,” said Mr. Ali.
The team of lawyers, he said, reviewed the document and came up with ten counts which they described as issues arising from the review.
Ali noted that to the best of his knowledge, the team of lawyers made the submission on 17 June 2020 to the CPP leadership and after that, the political leaders did not receive the recommendations to review and ratify them.
He disclosed that in August 2021, the All Liberian Party through its political leader Mr. Urey filed a complaint with the chair of the CPP and Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, alleging alteration of the framework document that was signed by leaders and chairpersons of the CPP.
Ali recalled that Mr. Urey requested that each political party be given the original copy of the document and after that filing of the complaint, the political leaders met at a local hotel called D’ Calabash in September 2021 and agreed to set up a committee to investigate the allegation.
Ali explained that each political party was asked to submit names to work on the committee for which he was also selected to serve as the resource person for the committee.
He said that the committee investigated, and submitted its findings to the National Advisory Council of the CPP on 6 October 2021, adding that the report was received and accepted by the National Advisory Council and the committee was discharged.
“When the report and findings of the committee were presented to the National Advisory Council, they sent it to the CPP team of lawyers again for advice,” said Ali.
“However, the team of lawyers responded to the chair of the CPP then, Senator Karnga-Lawrence, basically stating that same is the submission of the review in June 2020.”
Since that time, Ali said, the CPP has had no further interaction with the framework document.
“Cllr. Toe has the five copies of the CPP framework document because it was given to him as head of the secretariat of the CPP,’’ Mr. Alie testified.
The prosecution rested with Mr. Ali after his testimony rejected the purported CPP framework document filed with the National Elections Commission through the ANC and recently submitted by the NEC to the court.
Following the day’s hearing, Monrovia City Court Magistrate Jomah Jallah suspended the trial to continue Wednesday, 25 May 2022 at 11:00 AM.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/boakai-ends-testimony-in-cummings-trial/