The Commercial Court has issued a writ of contempt on the board of commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC) for failing to appear before the court to answer as to why the ongoing voter roll update process should not be halted.
The court, through its Bailiff, Joseph Nyengan, yesterday visited the headquarters of the NEC and delivered the Writ to the Commission’s legal representative Darling Wiles.
Bailiff Nyengan, in his return note to the Court, said Madam Wiles, with authorization from the legal counsels, received and signed for the Writ of Contempt.
“By directive of His Honor, Chan-Chan A. Paegar, Associate Judge, Commercial Court of Liberia,” the writ said, “you are hereby commanded to summon the National Elections Commission (NEC), represented by and through its Board of Commissioners headed by Madam Davidetta Browne Lansanah, NEC of the Republic of Liberia all of the City of Monrovia, Montserrado County, Liberia.”
The Writ also mandated that the NEC board of commissioners appear before the court by noon to show cause why they should not be held in contempt for disobeying the Court’s previous Writ of Injunction.
The Court action came upon receipt of a Writ of Petition from the Consortium of Legal Practitioners over the NEC’s alleged refusal to pay M-Tosh Print Media the sum of US$246,000 and more for services rendered to the Commission in past Legislative by-elections in Montserrado and Grand Cape Mount Counties.
“You are further commanded to notify said defendant to file its answer today and that upon its failure to appear before this Court in keeping with this Writ of Summons for contempt, a Writ of arrest will be issued from the Honorable Court for the above named Commissioners and officers of NEC,” the Court said in the writ.
The court case grew out of a lawsuit filed by Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson, head of the Consortium of legal Practitioners, following his petition to the Commercial Court requesting an immediate action against the election body for allegedly failing to pay money owed to M-Tosh for prepacked elections materials brought in the country on the order of the NEC in 2019.
The group, in one of its recent press conferences, said all efforts to get NEC to respond to their calls for an amicable settlement yielded no good results, thereby leaving their client, “Varney Fahnbulleh in a more “distressed state, including mental anguish and complete human degradation.”
The legal counsels alleged that in their possession are more pieces of evidence indicating that M-Tosh won the bid for the procurement of prepacked elections materials for December Senatorial by-elections, including stationery, but the election body later disregarded the process and gave the contract to a Lebanese business firm.
The Materials for the upcoming senatorial are said to be worth over US$776,000.
Meanwhile, Prince Dunbar, a member of the NEC communication and public affairs department said, whatever it is, the Commission respects the rule of law and will act in accordance with the law.