More Revelations on Korkoya’s ‘U.S. Citizenship’

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Despite his insistence that he is ‘a Liberian’, a U.S. state of New Jersey elections website revealed that a Jerome George Korkoya registered to vote on January 28, 2008, in Willingboro Township, Willington, and voted in the American elections.

The Jerome George Korkoya who voted in the American elections is believed to be the same Jerome George Korkoya, who now heads the National Elections Commission, (NEC), a position which, according to the Liberian Constitution, he is ineligible to hold.

The Daily Observer has gathered that while a few American municipalities, including Boston, Massachusetts allow non-citizens to register to vote in local elections, New Jersey is not one of them; the state requires that only American citizens can register to vote there. Since the allegation surfaced that the NEC chairman holds a U.S. passport, he has not explicitly denied holding American citizenship.

A press release published last week by the NEC, and not from Cllr. Korkoya, failed to address the issue of whether or not he is an American citizen, but merely affirmed his Liberianness.

The release also claimed that the reports about his alleged dual citizenship are smear campaigns, false and misleading and are attempts to distract the Commission from carrying out its constitutional mandate of conducting free, fair and transparent elections.

Cllr. Korkoya’s sidestepping the question of whether he is an American citizen or not has increased speculations that he may indeed be an American citizen; and the issue is not going away, until he addresses it satisfactorily. There are fears that with the increasing political tussle in the wake of the Code of Conduct, some politicians may see the Korkoya issue as a case to take up at the Supreme Court, after the October elections.

Additionally, while Korkoya could have renounced his American citizenship during the time period after he had registered to vote in New Jersey, his name was never published in the federal register of individuals who had lost their U.S. citizenship, according to information reaching the Daily Observer.

Although it is being reviewed as one of the propositions for a referendum, the current Liberian law does not allow dual citizenship. Chapter 22 of the Liberia Alien and Nationality Act provides that a person loses his or her citizenship upon naturalization in a foreign country.

The New Elections Law also provides that NEC Commissioners must be Liberian citizens, at least 35 years of age, and of good moral character.

When contacted, NEC’s director of communications, Joseph Nyesuah, said he could not comment on the issue, “because it is a personal matter.”

Meanwhile, Sam P. Jackson, the former economic adviser during the Charles Taylor administration, has said that until Cllr. Korkoya can exonerate himself from the allegation, he cannot be trusted with the October elections.

Speaking via phone from the United States, Jackson told the ELBC Bumper Show that the allegation about the NEC chairman’s US passport should not be overlooked because his loyalty is involved.

According to Jackson, Korkoya succeeded in persuading the President and the lawmakers to get him the NEC position and that, since Cllr. Korkoya is tightlipped on whether or not he holds a US passport, “under Liberian Law, Korkoya has committed perjury.”

“Cllr. Korkoya, who has vowed to uphold the Supreme Court’s decision on the controversial Code of Conduct, must himself come with clean hands,” Jackson said.

However, Simeon Freeman, political leader of the Movement for Progressive Change, said there is no need to create a problem with the Korkoya issue in relation to the upcoming elections.

“These elections are critical and the time is too short for us to demand the resignation of the chairman of the NEC,” Mr. Freeman said.

He added: “Whoever has valid evidence indicating that the NEC chairman holds a US passport should take the matter to court and stop causing trouble for the country’s democracy.”

On yesterday’s Bumper Show, Cllr. Korkoya phoned in to challenge anyone who has valid evidence that he holds a US passport to take him to court. “One thing the detractors need to understand is that social media is not the court or any legal instrument to declare me guilty of any wrong doing. I am a Liberian citizen and that is all I have to say,” he declared.

“We are focused at the NEC on doing all the right things to conduct free, fair, transparent and credible elections. No amount of pressure outside of the legal framework will deter me from doing my job.”

In a related development, a civil society group, Concerned Eligible Voters for Transparency and Accountability, (CEVTA) has said that it will mount pressure on Cllr. Korkoya to get him out of office.

The group’s chairman, Jefferson K. D. Buwah, said in a release that CEVTA will petition the Legislature to render a vote of no confidence in Cllr. Korkoya and will stage a peaceful sit-in action at the NEC to demand Korkoya’s unconditional resignation.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I think this is a ploy design to tarnish the credibility of Mr. Korkoya, given his position as chairman of the NEC.

  2. I guess the time has come for you to give it up as we say in Liberia. My people this time in Liberia you can’t lie and go free. Liberian mehn dem shining their eyes all over the place. Way back we used to listened to radio but this time is internet service and social media and smart phone and smart Liberian. So no more i got degree no proof or it wasn’t me behind closed doors.

  3. In the State of New Jersey, Voter ID# are confidential and will not be released by any government agency and anyone who uses such number illegally shall be subject to criminal panities. So than who contacted what agency to obtain a voting record of Cllr Kokoyah? Liberians, we must be mindful of the same people who organized protest April 14, 1979 against the proposed increase in the price of rice in which their followers were shot and killed by state security. They failed in their efforts to bring the change for which innocent people died in our country. When did they realize that Cllr Kokoyah was a United States citizen? Why did they wait 6 Months to election to make such accusation? Are they afraid to talk to the real people who hold American passport in Liberia?

    • This is exactly the point and the ignorance of people who are believing those crabs. If the Daily Observer and others believe this source (the New Jersey Website) why not reference the “URL” clearly in their reporting? This is ridiculous.

        • I believe Korkoya has already spoken — “take me to court.” Until these people go to court, no noise they make will change anything. This story is getting old.

        • Donkie, why not argue your point instead of resulting to profanity? Intellectuals don’t curse, they argue their points. Look what you just did?

  4. But why is the Government of Liberia silent on this matter? That is also a matter of Code of Conduct.
    You can’t make law without the ability of defending it. Let the Government takeover the investigation.
    The Government involvement into this case will mean protecting the citizens’ rights to know the fact.
    So far, the individual defenses for Korkoya is lending more doubt than fact.

  5. What is all about Liberian people get up from ur sleep and see what going so tell me how can American citizens be nec chair in the country we all now cherishing what on in the country is very bad how can few site in morovia n talk the by their self the problem of Liberia can be solved if the people in the other counties can wash television and see what all going on in morovia like what u guys discussing now people in other they don’t know what is going n is the government of Liberia right to give every citizens of Liberia equal information but all is done only in morovia the this let us protect what we have b this coming election is a test for our democracy n to show how far in understanding our self

  6. Why waste precious time without going directly to the nitty gritty of the matter. If anyone believes that our dear Cllr. Korkoya, of Bong County, is an American and not a Liberian, let him/her take him to court and prove his/her case “beyond reasonable doubt.” The burden of proof rests with the accuser/accusers. Sometimes in law the burden of proof shifts to the accused. In this instance, Cllr. Korkoya has shown his Liberian passport as proof beyond reasonable doubt that he is a Liberian citizen. Let his accuser/accusers show his American passport( the real evidence) in court. Any other talk about his voting in American election is insufficient. The one and only “proof beyond reasonable doubt” is the American passport. If this evidence cannot be presented then the argument posed by his accusers is baseless and a waste of our precious time. Chairman Korkoya, a bonafide Liberian citizen, will conduct these elections free and fairly, without threats or intimidation from his detractors who only talk but cannot or will not present hard evidence(The American Passport-original copy). Leave our indigenous Kpelleh brother alone. He was born a Liberian, raised in Liberia, will always remain a Liberian. Just look at his last name, which clearly tells that he hails from “Korkoya”, Bong County, Liberia. All the noise is politically motivated by confusionist old man Tipoteh and his followers.

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