A man found out to be a Guinean national who went to register at a Voter Registration (VR) Center in Parker Paint community in Montserrado County District #3 was yesterday arrested by officers of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS).
The man whose name and other personal information were not available to the Daily Observer, was said to have made his attempt to register at the C.B. Barshell High School Voter Registration Center.
“The man told us plainly that he came from Guinea and is a Guinean national,’’ the head of the VR Center’s NEC staff, Francis Kollie, told the Daily Observer.
According to Mr. Kollie, the name of the man was not obtained simply because he failed to answer several questions, including his name.
“He did not give us his name but we were able to get from his own mouth that he is a Guinean,” he noted.
An eyewitness to the incident told the Daily Observer that the man who was arrested earlier told the NEC staff that he was born “at the Bong Mines Hospital in Grand Cape Mount County.”
In fact, Bong Mines Hospital is located in Fuamah District, Bong County (central Liberia), not Grand Cape Mount County (western Liberia). And there was no indication to our reporter that the eyewitness was joking.
“The man even said that he is not alone, for some of his friends are also in the country to register to vote at the various voter registration centers across Monrovia and its environs,” the eyewitness explained.
The VR Center was temporarily shut down and moved to a nearby football field when the owner of the venue, Mr. C. B. Barshell, ordered the VR team out of the center temporarily in order to calm down the extreme uneasiness that engulfed his school compound.
Speaking further on the identification and subsequent arrest of the man, believed to be in his 30s, NEC staff Mr. Kollie said he is fortunate that he and his colleagues at the VR Center have had first-hand experience in the work and are extremely careful to ensure every rule is applied for only Liberian citizens to register.
“We are not just registering people because we have to. What we are doing here is in line with NEC’s standards and requirements,” he said.
The issue of fraud in the VR process by both Liberians and other nationals has come to focus and there are reports that a man was recently arrested for buying 16 voter registration cards, while there are cases involving double registration (by Liberian nationals) and change of names.