NEC Clarifies Supreme Court Ruling

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Dr. Chambers (r) and Senator Brown_web.jpg

The National Elections Commission has clarified that the Supreme Court’s recent rulings do not call for a reinvestigation or decertification in any of the alleged election fraud cases, as being perceived by the public and reported in the local media.

The Supreme Court, Tuesday February 17, rendered two separate rulings in a number of alleged fraud cases filed by some defeated candidates of the 2014 Special Senatorial Elections.

One of the court’s rulings affects the case involving defeated Maryland Senatorial Candidate Rep. Bhafal Chambers and newly elected Senator Gblehbo Brown, while the other affects all cases of alleged election fraud matters that were filed before the High Court.

There has since been a misconception by the public and the media on the matter, with reports in the local media suggesting that the Supreme Court has ordered decertification of certain senators.

On the Maryland elections saga, the Supreme Court stated that the NEC reconvenes, in strict compliance with section 2.4 of the elections law, to sit and hear the appellant’s complaint and make a determination thereof.

NEC spokesman Joey Kennedy said the ruling does not mandate the court to re-investigate the entire case, but rather to conduct a rehearing into Dr. Bhofal Chambers’ appeal, admitting to procedural error by the commission during the initial hearing, which violates section 2.4 of the new elections law.

“What the board is going to do is to reconvene with at least five members, including the chairman of the commission to rehear the case,” Mr. Kennedy told reporters Wednesday.

He said the High Court’s ruling stemmed from Dr. Chambers’ exception to NEC’s initial decision to deny his appeal, citing that only four members of NEC’s Board of Commissioners heard the appeal on January 9, whereas five commissioners signed the ruling.

After looking into the merits of the exception, the Court overruled NEC’s decision, ordering a rehearing in compliance with section 2.4 of the new elections law, which sets the quorum for transaction of business by the National Elections Commission at five members of the board of commissioners.

A court document in possession of this newspaper quotes NEC as stating that “Dr. Chambers failed to assign the error made by the magistrate and in fact did not complain about the ruling held in Maryland in his appeal before the board, but instead raised new allegations of facts which were never raised before the Magistrate, heard and disposed of, and which in fact seemed to make the appeal a new complaint.’

Meanwhile the High Court also ruled, prohibiting NEC from certificating any declared winner in a public election where a complaint is filed against the election and the process pursued by the commission.

NEC’s spokesman Joey Kennedy said this ruling of the high court does not mandate the court to re-investigate the entire case, but rather conduct a rehearing into Dr. Bhofal Chambers’ appeal, admitting to procedural error by the commission during the initial hearing, which violates section 2.4 of the new elections law.

“What the board is going to do is to reconvene with at least five members including the chairman of the commission to rehear the case,” Mr. Kennedy told reporters in an interview Wednesday, at NEC Headquarters.

“A lot of people have been mistaking the rehearing to be reinvestigating. The NEC has not been mandated to reinvestigate the case, we are going to rehear it,” he emphasized.

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