One of the representative aspirants of Nimba County Electoral District #5, Joe K. Touah, has taken issue with National Elections Commission (NEC) Magistrate assigned in Upper Nimba, Princeton Monmiah.
Mr. Touah has accused Magistrate Monmiah of disposing of a case he registered against the district’s Representative Samuel Korgar for trucking voters and other strange people into the district.
Mr. Touah, who walked into this newspaper’s Nimba bureau, expressed surprise and shock when he heard that Magistrate Monmiah, without probing the complaint against Korgar, had dropped the charge, due the complainant’s alleged failure to appear for a hearing.
The hearing, Mr. Touah said, “was previously assigned for Wednesday, February 22, but Magistrate Monmiah disposed of the case on Monday, February 20, before he imformed me of his unilateral decision.”
He said Monmiah notified him of the Wednesday date prior to the Monday hearing to probe issues regarding the gathering of the parties’ witnesses.
“After we agreed to postpone the hearing to Wednesday, I was shocked for Magistrate Monmiah to call and inform me that the case has been dropped,” he said.
“This is not fair because it appeared like something is happening or the case has been manipulated. So we are taking our case to the NEC headquarters in Monrovia for redress.”
Earlier on Sunday, February 19, at about 9 p.m., Magistrate Monmiah told reporters that the case of the alleged trucking of voters involving Rep. Korgar was postponed to Wednesday, February 22, because the complainant was not ready at the time.
He said he could not be reached in time since his phone was switched off.
There are many alleged irregularities surrounding the VR process from many quarters in Nimba County, especially in the Buu–Yao region, which is situated along the border with Ivory Coast.
Mr. Touah previously alleged that Rep. Korgar had assigned observers who were using his influence in most of the 20 VR centers in the district to register illegal residents.
It is alleged that Rep. Korgar paid people to cook for those who had gone to the various centers in the district, and in some instances had reportedly stopped the residents from registering until those he trucked from other places could be registered.
Another report reaching this paper suggests that, at the Glarlay polling/VR center, observers have been asking voters who they plan to vote for, and sometimes take their voting cards to mark down their VR numbers, something NEC’s Upper Nimba Magistrate said they were not aware of.
The shortage of registration materials and breakdown of most of the printers are some of the issues depriving voters from registering and it is likely to weaken the older people, who after walking several hours, could not register.
Rep. Korgar has admitted transporting people from the district living in distant places to register at home. He, however, denied trucking any strange persons or illegal residents to the district.