– Supreme Court urges UP
The Supreme Court on Friday urged the ruling Unity Party to wait until November 23, which marks the end of the 30-day period as provided by the National Elections Commission (NEC) to hear and decide complaints arising from the October 10 presidential and legislative elections.
The court also denied UP’s request demanding the NEC to produce several documents that it believes would help the party to prove its case of alleged irregularities and fraud against the conduct of the October 10 elections.
UP, in its request, asked the court to demand the NEC to provide a copy of the Final Registration Roll (FRR) for the October 10 elections and copies of the addenda to the voter roll made at polling centers across the country.
It also asked for copies of the worksheet of the NEC presiding officer that was arrested in Electoral District #3 in Nimba County, allegedly with pre-marked ballots.
The ruling party also asked for records of the investigation conducted by the NEC on a staff at the office of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf allegedly arrested with a machine for printing Voter Registration Cards and other election materials at his New Georgia home.
Associate Justice Jamesetta Wolokollie, who delivered the court’s ruling, said Article 83 of the 1986 Constitution sets 30 days as the timeframe for authorities of the NEC to hear and make determination on election-related disputes.
“If this court was to set a specific day requested by the UP, it would be in violation of the constitution and the use of power not conferred upon this court by the sacred document,” Justice Wolokollie said.
She observed that there is no reason for holding the NEC in contempt “when it has not exceeded the time (30 days) given it under the constitution.”
However, Wolokollie said “the court reiterates its position that the NEC does not have to consume the entire 30 days before concluding in a given election matter.”
She added: “NEC should proceed expeditiously with the investigation of election disputes pending before it by recognizing the critical nature of the electoral cases and implementation on the governance of a nation.
“The court takes jurisdiction notice that indeed a ruling has been made by the Board of Commissioners of the NEC on the UP’s appeal before that Board as a subject of this request, which renders the matter moot,” Justice Wolokollie said.
Recently, the NEC accepted UP’s request to intervene on behalf of the opposition Liberty Party (LP) that is also seeking a rerun of the October 10 elections based on alleged irregularities and fraud.