Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf lawsuit against the Unity Party standard bearer Joseph Boakai and other executives was erroneously filed with the Board of Commissioners of the National Election Commission because she did not exhausted the remedy provided by the Constitution of the Party to resolve grievances, the party lawyers argued.
The Unity Party has now drawn the attention of the Board of Commissioners of the National Election Commission to misstep taken by the ex-President and called for the dismissal of the entire case among other things.
The party lawyer Cllr. Albert Sims stated: “the Constitution of the UP in this regard is Article VII, Section 4 which says in the event of the violation or deprivation of any right or entitlement vested in a member of the Unity Party by this Constitution and/or Bylaws, such aggrieved member may report such violation to the National Coordinating Committee, which shall promptly investigate and take every necessary measure to remedy the grievance.”
According to the party’s lawyer, it is a fundamental principle of administrative law that remedies provided within agency or association must first be exhausted before the taking of matter or dispute to another forum such as court of law or the NEC Board; otherwise the matter, dispute or suit is a fit subject for dismissal.
NEC cannot assume any power and authority to intervene in the internal affairs of a political party such as deciding who shall be a member of a political party, as the New Elections Law confers no such power and authority on the NEC Board, UP legal team contended.
Cllr Sims to the hearing officer there are additional reasons why the case should be dismiss and one of these additional reasons is that the ex-President Sirleaf hired lawyers that are unqualified to practice law in Liberia.
“Attorneys Bob B. Laywahyee and Mamenatta Jabateh-Sheriff lawyers of ex-President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and other expelled executives are not currently licensed to practice law in Liberia and therefore any papers filed by them before any quasi-judicial forum is as a matter of law null and void,” stated Cllr. Sims.
Additionally, he said the deadline for lawyers and law firms to obtain annual licenses in order to practice law or operate a law firm is the second Monday of March of each year. This means that a license for a lawyer to practice law runs from March of one year to the second Monday of March of the following year.
Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi one of the lawyers of ex-President Sirleaf admitted that she did not exhaust the remedy provided by the Constitution of the Party to settle any grievance before filing the case to the Board of Commissioners of the National Election Commission having not yet
Meanwhile, NEC hearing officer Cllr. Munah Ville has set Friday, February 23, 2018 to give ruling into the motion to dismiss the complaint filed by the Unity Party.
Writes P. Nas Mulbah