... Says Cummings
The Alternative National Congress is denying allegations that the party illegally reworked the framework document of the Collaborating Political Parties, while lashing out at their accusers for such a ‘besmearing, coordinated and vicious attack’.
The CPP, through its chairperson. Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence claimed that the infractions, procedural transgressions, and fraudulent inclines, as captured in its investigative findings, transpired “under and during the leadership of the ANC and its political leader, Alexander B. Cummings.
“In light of the violations in procedures and content change, it is reasonable enough that Mr. Cummings summons the courage to take ownership of all that has transpired and the crisis thereof,” argued Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and backed Unity Party (UP) standard-bearer Joseph Boakai and All Liberian Party (ALP) political leader, Benoni Urey.
But the ANC and Cummings, in a brutal response, accused Sen. Karnga-Lawrence of intentionally and maliciously, hosting a press conference with the intention to deceive the Liberian people by reading selective parts of the contested findings as to the basis for claiming that they, the ANC, should take responsibility for alterations of the Framework Document, “thus unleashing the public onslaught.
Cummings added that the allegation against him and the ANC came as a result of disapproval to agree with his colleagues in the CPP to give former Vice President Boakai and his Unity Party the chance to lead the collaboration and settle for Vice, before taking over the Presidency at the end of Boakai’s first term.
“I have recognized that I am up against a system that is deeply rooted in our society; a system that is intent on keeping things as they are because it benefits a few of them,” he said. A system that has continuously said, I am not one of them -- that I am a stranger, that I am unknown, that I am cutting the line and not waiting for my time; that I should give a chance to Amb. Boakai, go as his Vice and take over after his first term.”
Cummings added: “Because I have refused to abide by the system, which has not worked for you the people, and I continue to work to earn the trust of the people, the system is fighting back. This is how whoever tries to change the way things are done, is destroyed and buried. But I will not be buried.”
But Cummings said while the plan will fail, the CPP committee charged with investigating the allegation that he illegally modified the framework document observed that, except for slight structural rearrangements, all provisions in the framework document are the same as the one filed with the National Election Commission as it is in the amendment copy from the lawyers
Cummings however claimed that the committee, in its findings, contradicted itself by only comparing the Zoom framework document to the one filed at NEC, without regard for the lawyers’ amendment, knowing that the focus would be on the findings and not the observations.
“This is why the ANC contested the findings for its inconsistencies with the observations and submitted its dissent to the National Advisory Council. This may be politics to them, but it is evil and malicious,” he said. “Today, I want to confirm and assure you that I did not alter the content, provisions, intent, or spirit of the Framework Document as amended by the lawyers and approved by the Parties. That is the singular fact, and Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence knows that Joseph Boakai knows that, Benoni Urey knows that. The Committee’s report in its ‘Observations’ stated that.”
Sen. Lawrence remains firm
But in prior response to Cummings’ press conference yesterday, Sen. Karnga-Lawrence informed the ANC political leader in a letter of her stance and that of his other colleagues that the CPP’s framework document was tampered with when Cummings had the mandate and obligation to ensure that the procedures and other legal proceedings thereto, leading to the “filing of the CPP’s Framework document with the NEC, were done.”
In the letter, the CPP chair reminded Cummings that on October 6, 2021, the NAC met to receive the committee report, and following its endorsement, it was unveiled that they did not agree, approve, endorse or sign off on the proposed amendments to the framework document by the lawyers who were submitted on June 14, 2020.
“Yet, as then Chairperson of the CPP, you single-handedly incorporated these proposed amendments into the Framework Document and submitted it to NEC without the approval, express or implied, of the four political leaders of the CPP.
Earlier, the Senator had disclosed that there were significant procedural lapses leading to the submission of the CPP Framework document with the NEC under the leadership of her counterpart, Cummings. According to her, the investigative report shows that while Cummings chaired the CPP, which was also the time frame in which the framework document was signed and submitted to the National Elections Commission, the document was altered.
The allegations reinforce the Senator's earlier statement on the matter as CPP chairperson, which was made without the public release of the report, rather through a press statement citing findings from the report. Sen. Karnga-Lawrence’s allegations against Cummings come in the wake of a CPP investigative report that stemmed from an allegation by Benoni Urey that the CPP Framework document filed at the National Election Commission (NEC) was tampered with.
‘May Framework signed under Urey’
Cummings, further in his defense, informed the Senator and his CPP colleagues that the framework document signed on May 19, 2020, was under the leadership of Urey, during the heat of the COVID crisis, and that the document was turned over to him (Cummings) with no turnover notes, documents, resolutions or signed copies of the Framework Document.
Additionally, Cummings added that contrary to claims that parties did not approve the amended document, all parties submitted their resolutions to the ANC. But if a party chose to complete and submit their old resolution for the amended framework, it is their fault.
Cummings noted that his ANC filed what they received from the Parties.
“The facts are clear. The document from the Zoom ceremony was submitted for review and amendment to the lawyers. The lawyers submitted their work and key issues arising and I submitted it to all parties. All of the substantial content changes made to the original/Zoom document were made by the lawyers in their Amendments and approved by the parties. My colleagues know this,” the ANC political leader said.
“They have a copy of the lawyers’ amendment and they know that the lawyers will confirm the changes they made,” he continued. “I, therefore, wonder if this is why Sen. Karnga-Lawrence is yet to send the Committee report to the lawyers for verification. I want to challenge Sen. Karnga-Lawrence to act in good faith for once and submit the Committee Report and the ANC’s dissent to the lawyers as agreed.”
Meanwhile, Cummings added that if the CPP lawyers confirm that the provisions of the Framework document submitted by the ANC to NEC is materially and substantially different from the amendments made, he will apologize and take full responsibility. However, he said if the lawyers find that what is filed at NEC is materially and substantially the same as the provisions in their amendments, then his counterpart must apologize, not to him, but to the Liberian people for intentionally misleading them and threatening to destroy the CPP.
“Then and now, the Framework Document filed at the National Elections Commission offers me no advantage over anyone in the CPP. Then and now, it offers the ANC no advantage over any other member-party in the CPP. This was true then, is true now, and will be true forever -- because it is a simple truth,” Cummings declared.