The ruling Unity Party has asked the Supreme Court to render the Chairperson and Executive Director of the National Elections Commission unfit to preside over the conduct of future elections on grounds that the pair compromised the October 2017 elections.
UP lawyers alleges Executive Director Lamin Lighe provided false and misleading testimonies during the elections’ body hearing into its fraud and irregularities complaints while Korkoya’s prejudicial comments including one classifying the parties accusations as “dangerous lies” derailed his independence and integrity.
If the election is not conducted in accordance with law it is illegal,” UP lawyer Cllr. Benedict Sannoh told the Court.
“NEC cannot legally justify what it did during the elections.
The final voter roll lacks integrity and must be cleared before the conduct of any election, Cllr. Sannoh said.
Some Supreme Court justices are pondering the large amount of complaints associated with the October 10 polls could be rooted in gross incompetence on the part of the National Election Commission.
“You know the Election Commission didn’t like to hear this: I do recalled that in one of my descending opinions I have characterized the actions of the Election Commission as a display of gross incompetence. You don’t believe that in this case it may have been a further display of incompetence rather than an attempt to commit a fraud,” stated Associate Justice Philip A. Z. Banks.
Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor said aside from the current 2017 elections which is under dispute, too many elections cases have come to the Supreme Court and those cases have been duly adjudicated where directions were given to NEC but sadly some of recommendations that were proffered have not been implemented.
Philip A. Z. Banks Associate Justice in addition said the law provides that the Commission will maintain a legal department with competence and qualified lawyers who will provide independent advice to the NEC.
Jamesetta Wolokollie Associate Justice for her part recommends that the Judiciary conducts training for workers of NEC on how to investigate election matters or else there will be future situation where the Commission will take an entire year to complete its investigation.
Cllr. Benedict Sannoh Unity Party’s lawyer in his argument appreciated the comment made by Associate Justice Banks but stated that it was more than gross incompetence.
Cllr. Sannoh: “Your honor, I appreciate the comment made but it was more than gross incompetence. The Commission action is also arrogant and total disregard to the rule of law. It’s as if they can do anything they want to do because at the end of the day the question would be how does it affect the final result. If it doesn’t affect the final result let it be.”
Cllr. Frank Musa Dean NEC’s lawyer arguing said in other for the NEC to change from the situation of displaying gross incompetence in conducting elections, the Commission has recruited more qualified people from several universities.
“We have recruited three hundred students from the engineering department of the University of Liberia, two hundred students from Stella Maris Polytechnic and other professional Liberians have also come up to volunteer as poll watchers, queue controllers and presiding officers. We have trained the first group of workers before the prohibition came on us and we are waiting as soon it is resolve we will train the last group to conduct elections,” Cllr. Dean said.
Writes P. Nas Mulbah