Korkoya Nears Dual Citizenship Prosecution

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By Abednego Davis

Embattled National Elections Commission (NEC) chairman Jerome Korkoya is on the verge of going to trial for allegedly using dubious means to secure his appointment and subsequent confirmation by the Senate while reportedly holding American citizenship.

The outcome of yesterday’s hearing of legal arguments on Korkoya’s request for the Civil Law Court to drop the allegation against him now rests on the ruling reserved by Judge Boimah Kontoe.

Kontoe did not say when he will deliver his judgment. But, if he refuses Korkoya’s plea, the NEC chairman could leave his job to concentrate on his trial.

The case against Korkoya was filed by the National Democratic Coalition (NDC) and the Concerned Citizens to Protect the Constitution, represented by its executive director Miatta Fahnbulleh.

It was filed on behalf of the group by both counselors Tiawan Gongloe and Laveli Supuwood.

At yesterday’s argument, lawyers representing the two groups said before Korkoya’s confirmation, he voluntarily and without duress on December 27, 2007, renounced his duty of allegiance to the Republic of Liberia and allegedly assumed citizenship of the United States of America.

Supuwood argued that Korkoya also obtained a US passport with number 467078002, dated March 16, 2010, thereby renouncing his Liberian citizenship in keeping with section 22.1 of the Alien and Nationality Law.

He also alleged that “Korkoya’s naturalization certificate number is 30528201 and his voter identification number is 150326754.”

Gongloe, meanwhile, argued that as an American citizen, the NEC chairman voted in a number of elections held in that country as a member of the Democratic Party, “having first registered to vote on July 1, 2008.”

In a counterargument, Korkoya’s lead lawyer Cooper Kruah did not deny the allegation, but claimed that the allegation was criminal in nature and that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear it.

“If Korkoya violated the Code of Conduct for all public officials and employees of government, the laws provide for the office of Ombudsman to have jurisdiction to hear all complaints considering a violation of the National Code of Conduct,” Kruah argued.

“(That) Korkoya violated the Alien and Nationality Law is an allegation of criminal activities…which the Ministry of Justice has legal standing over,” the defense lawyer challenged, adding, “It is the MOJ that is empowered to institute all legal proceedings necessary for law enforcement.”

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9 COMMENTS

  1. YES, “If Korkoya violated the Code of Conduct for all public officials and employees of government, the laws provide for the office of Ombudsman to have jurisdiction to hear all complaints considering a violation of the National Code of Conduct.

    And Yes, “(That) Korkoya violated the Alien and Nationality Law is an allegation of criminal activities…which the Ministry of Justice has legal standing over.

    Also, YES, “It is the MOJ that is empowered to institute all legal proceedings necessary for law enforcement.”

    BUT, IF BOTH THE MOJ AND THE OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN ARE UNWILLING OR UNABLE TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST THE VIOLATOR WHETHER IT IS KORKOYAH OR NOT, THE JURISPRUDENTIAL DOCTRINE OF CITIZEN SUIT PROVIDES THAT PRIVATE CITIZENS HAVE STANDING TO SUE EVEN IF THE PRIVATE CITIZENS ARE:

    not directly harmed by the conditions by which they are petitioning the court for relief, BUT ask for THE COURT´S RELIEF because the harm involved has some reasonable relation to their situation, and the continued existence of the harm may affect others who might not be able to ask a court for relief (STANDING TO SUE)!!!

    WHETHER THE VIOLATED CONDUCT IS CRIMINAL OR NOT IS IRRELEVANT AT THIS JUNCTURE!!! WHAT ARE OF RELEVANCE ARE:

    (1) THE PROVEN VIOLATED STATUTE …. Jerome George Korkoyah…A foreigner..an individual impersonating as a Liberian citizen owing allegiance to another country heading the NEC.

    (2)PRIVATE CITIZENS OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS petitioning the court for relief because the VIOLATED CONDUCT ON THE PART OF THE IMPERSONATOR -KORKOYAH has some reasonable relation to their situation (AN ALIEN CANNOT BE TRUSTED AS NEC HEAD, INFIDELITY TO A PEOPLE´S CONSTITUTION, MENTAL TORTURE ETC…foreigner heading the NEC), and the continued existence of the VIOLATED CONDUCT may affect others (VOTERS ESPECIALLY OF THE OPPOSITION) who might not be able to ask a court for relief (STANDING TO SUE)!!!

    (3) THE COURT (WHETHER CIVIL, CRIMINAL, INTERNATIONAL, OR CONSTITUTIONAL) RULING AN INJUNCTION AGAINST THE VIOLATOR OR IMPERSONATOR(Jerome Korkoyah) which discontinues or terminates THE VIOLATOR´S OR IMPERSONATOR´S(Jerome Korkoyah´s) TENURE AT THE NEC.

    A citizen suit does not supplant but rather supplements government´s action when government is unable or unwilling to take action against a violator.

    And this is the fundamental basis of DEMOCRACY as opposed to dictatorship on the one hand; and on the other hand, THE JUDICIARY BRANCH being independent, separate, and distinct, from the Executive Branch.

    Hence Korkoyah´s argument that if the MOJ OR the Ombudsman does not take legal action against him, no legal action can be taken against him IS FROM ALL IMPLICATIONS MADE OUT OF IGNORANCE OF THE DISCIPLINE OF LAW! AND IGNORANCE OF THE LAW SETS NO VIOLATOR FREE, MORE SO WHEN THE VIOLATOR IS AN IMPERSONATOR!!!!

  2. How can a group do private citizens “prosecute” another private citizen? Prosecution is reserved for the Ministry of Justice. This suit should be dismissed, they have no standing and the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction.

      • Mr. Pewu,

        My comment was not all the way clear. What I meant was, a private citizen cannot prosecute another private citizen for a criminal offense. Only the government (Ministry of Justice) can bring a criminal compliant against a person.

  3. what do you mean “using dubious means.” Why did the government not check. Miatta Fahnbulleh is an aging sycophant that should be placed back on the shelf. Do you know how many US citizens are in government? Instead of focusing on elections, here they come with side issues.

  4. Now, people or some supporters are worrying if Vice President Joseph N. Boakai will be
    a President in his own standing and go after Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to correct her misdeed
    for the public? This one of the classic cases of her failure, completely ignoring the
    Constitution of Liberia about the Jerome Korkoya case. As President who appointed the
    NEC Chairman; with all the glaring evidences and prima facie (proven) case against the
    Chairman, she elected to remain dormant with no care attitude! She should have fired
    the NEC Chairman long ago to save Liberia’s prosecution resources for Korkoya. This is
    one of the condoning attitude in her Government.

    • Have you established this here “clear violation of our Constitution and Laws of Liberia” in any court in Liberia? The very same Constitution you speak of states that, before Korkoya’s rights are infringed upon, he must be afforded due process in a court of law. This case is DOA. The accusers have no standing and the civil court cannot preside over criminal allegations. The lawyers should probably be sanctioned too, for filing frivolous claims. Simple as that!

  5. Mr. Pewu, you better don´t waste your time with someone (Jerome aka AB) who does not know about citizen suit and or that a private prosecution is a criminal proceeding initiated by an individual or private organisation (such as a prosecution association) instead of by a public prosecutor who represents the state.

    How on earth someone appointed as an election commission head, or someone participating in such conversations, would make such an utterance?: “How can a group do private citizens “prosecute” another private citizen? Prosecution is reserved for the Ministry of Justice.”

    But we do not blame them. We blame those who appoint them simply because they want them to carry out their dirty deeds. A case in point is Fonati Kofa a convicted criminal serving as minister-prosecutor.

    Another is Jerome Korkoyah as NEC Chairman who has no idea about citizen suit, nor the fact that Private prosecutions are allowed in many jurisdictions (Liberia, USA, etc. etc.) under common law, but have become less frequent in modern times as most prosecutions are now handled by professional public prosecutors instead of private individuals who retain (or are themselves) attorneys.

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