Justice Minister Requested to Withdraw Letter Sent to NEC

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Defense Minister Brownie Jeffery Samukai, Jr._web.jpg
Lofa County Senator-elect, Brownie Jeffery Samukai, Jr.

The Liberian Senate has voted to request Justice Minister, Cllr Musah Dean, to write a letter to the Elections Commission, withdrawing the one written earlier by his Solicitor General, Saymah Syrenius Cephas, requesting NEC not to certificate Lofa County Senator-elect Brownie Jeffrey Samukai.

Proferring the motion after almost two hours of interventions by Senators, Grand Bassa County ranking Senator, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence declared that “In the spirit of coordination, I like to move that the Minister of Justice write a communication to the National Elections Commission, withdrawing the communication written by his Solicitor General, and a copy be sent to the Liberian Senate tomorrow ( today Friday).

“Madam Vice President, the presiding officer of the Senate, honorable members of the Liberian Senate, I don’t want to belabor the point; the provision of the law, Section 2.3 of the New Elections Law… empowers the Minister of Justice to inform the Commission (NEC) of the names of all persons judicially prosecuted and sentenced for disenfranchisement… I was out of the vicinity of the city (Monrovia)… the Solicitor General tells me that due to the urgency of the matter, he informed the National Elections Commission that Mr. Brownie Samukai has been convicted. I may be wrong, and stand corrected that I guess part of the issue we are having is that this letter seems to be regarded as instructions to the Elections Commission, though largely it was the information to Elections Commission, as required by law. As he having now explained to me, I have reviewed the matter, I have approved his action, thank you.”

However, appearing on Tuesday, Minister Dean told Senators that he was not in receipt of the letter, but only read it in the social media; and that the best to speak on it is the author.
But in the concluding paragraph, the Solicitor General’s letter stated: “It is my considered opinion that it inarguably allay any and all concerns that may arise and you will, therefore, proceed not to certificate him.”

But countering the Justice Ministry’s arguments, Margibi County Senator, Emmanuel Nuquay maintained that the letter to NEC served two purposes — to inform and request them not to certificate Mr. Samukai.

In a strong-worded comment, Senator Nuquay furthered that the letter be revoked; “if this is continued, then I am sorry to say that the electoral process cannot be respected. The next thing, people will take the law into their own hands, and nobody wants to go back to the dark days.”

Outspoken Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon reminded his colleagues that, “What this communication has done does not impede or obstruct the functions of the Senate, but it sets a dangerous precedent for our democratic governance where when we sit and allow the Executive to arm-twist a democratic process against especially a critical voice, they will prepare a trump up charges against you, get you convicted in that court and then one Solicitor General will pick up Solicitor General Cephas letter for precedent to deprive people of the electoral process; this is dangerous.

Softspoken Margibi County Senator Jim Tornolah for his part said the Minister and his Solicitor General who are supposed to thrive on integrity, “Can be in our midst in the Senate to share deception, I’m baffled. One of the cardinal hallmarks of leadership is integrity. Leadership wise, the Minister and his deputy have violated all of the norms of qualitative leadership; distinguished colleagues, we must hold the Justice Minister in contempt and decide action against.”

While the Senators were concluding their debate, Senator J Milton Teahjay informed his colleagues that NEC has been turned into a football that anybody who has influence is now going to kick them around: “As we speak, the National Port Authority is saying that they are going to credit the National Elections Commission US$40,000.00 to do recounting in River Cess County, with intention to deny Senator-elect Wellington Geevon Smith.”

Meanwhile, in a short closing statement, Minister Dean declared that he has come from the legal community to the political community, “And some of the sentiments that I have heard, I wouldn’t be truthful, if I told you I am not disheartened; but again I am not broken, I am not discouraged. When we appeared here, we told you we have not had the opportunity to view the matter, and if you wanted an explanation on that day he was the best evidence; this is a vindication of the truth of my character. I’m glad that I usually take heat from all sides in this town- from the opposition, from the ruling party and everybody; but I will continue to be stable, static, constant and upright. The law is the law.”

In a related development, the Supreme Court Associate Justice Cllr Sie-A-Neh Yuoh yesterday reserved ruling in the petition of stay order prayed for by the National Elections Commission, against the Liberian Senate on a contempt charge relating to the delayed, announcement of elections results beyond the Constitutional timeframe.  No date was announced.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The genius of the separation of powers is that it prevents tyranny by ensuring that no one person or institution can command the full or absolute powers of government.

    In other words, unless the Minister of Justice may be thinking as these senators are by all implications wrongly thinking that the Liberian separation of powers constitutional political arrangement is the same as those of most EU countries where they fuse legislative, executive, and judicial powers into a legislature or parliament, the Liberian or American legislature instructing the Executive Branch via the Minister of Justice is a blatant USURPATION and a constitutionally violative ENCROACHMENT of the powers of the Executive Branch.

    Accordingly, the Executive Branch through the Minister of Justice should vehemently resist such arbitrary, blatant, and constitutionally violative encroachment on the part of the Senate bizarrely requesting the Ministry of Justice to withdraw such a letter or communication to the NEC!

    For

    (1) allowing such encroachment, sets a dangerous precedence totally anathema to the constitutional doctrines of checks and balances or the governing principle of the separation of powers in which

    (2) the legislative branch makes the law, the judicial branch interpretes the law, and the executive branch enforces the law …exactly

    (3) what the Solicitor General has done and as sanctioned by the Minister of Justice with regards to ensuring that a convicted felon, though elected, does not get certificated or even takes a seat in the legislature.

    It is so strange that some will believe that winning an election is an immunity from statutory and or constitutional injunctions!

  2. LOOK THIS HOUSE OF SENATE IS NOW ROTTEN THAN EVER BEFORE. SENATORS ARE SEEING CLEAR STEALING FROM A NOTORIOUS CRIMINAL IN BROWNIE J SAMUKAI AND THEY PROTECTING HIM SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE FROM THE SAME CAMP. ARE THESE SENATORS TELLING THE LIBERIAN PEOPLE THAT JUSTICE MINISTER OR THE SG SHOULD REVOKE THE COMMUNICATION FROM NEC? ARE YOU GUYS JOKING AND THINK WE ARE STUPID PEOPLE AGAIN? LOOK, THE DILLON, KARNGA-LAWRANCE AND THE OTHERS WHO ARE DEFENDING THIS CRIMINAL INSTEAD PUSHING FOR THIS CRIMINAL TO BE SEND TO JAIL, ARE SERIOUS LABILITIES TO THE GOVERNMENT ESPECIALLY THE HONORABLE SENATE. THE COUNTRY BELONG TO ALL AND IF SOME SENATORS FEEL THAT ALL SHOULD WORK IN THEIR INTEREST, THEN, WE THE PEOPLE WILL RESIST THEM TO THE FULLEST AND GET ON THE STRETS TO PROTEST AGANIST THE LEGISLATURE. LASTLY, THE LEGISLATURE ARE INTERFERING INTO THE ACTIVITIES OF THE EXECUTIVE CONTRADICTING ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONSTITUTION. THIS IS MY BEST QUOTE “LIBERIANS ARE WISE!”

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