The chief hearing officer at the National Elections Commission (NEC), Cllr. Muana Sando Ville, yesterday denied the ruling Unity Party’s request to mark into evidence 182 voter registration cards testified to by one of its witnesses.
Cllr. Ville’s action followed the NEC legal team’s argument that the witness, Neboe Kenneth, was wrong for collecting other people’s cards that he claimed did not vote on October 10 because their names were not found on the Final Registration Roll (FRR).
“Were this hearing not an administrative sitting intended only in fact finding the witness on the stand should have been arrested and charged with criminally having in his possession other people’s voting cards. He has provided no affidavit granting him the right to submit into evidence at this hearing these voters’ cards,” Cllr. Alexander Zoe of NEC said.
Cllr. Zoe, who supported his colleague Frank Musa Dean’s vehement objection to the marking and placement into evidence the 182 VR cards, noted that Kenneth, who was part of the campaign team of defeated incumbent representative candidate Sekou Kanneh of Montserrado Electoral District #2, knows that his boss Rep. Kanneh was accused of buying voters’ cards during the voter registration process.
“It was widely reported by the media during the VR process that Rep. Sekou Kanneh was one of those candidates who trucked voters from other geographical locations and bought VR cards so as to amass more votes on the day of elections. But unfortunately for him and God being a just God, allowed him to suffer defeat,” he noted.
Kenneth said he got the VR cards from their legitimate owners and his action came following the voters’ disenchantment over the NEC staff’s refusal to allow them to vote on October 10 at the Ma Bendu Sheriff School in Jacob Town because their names were not found on the FRR.
“After I got through voting and came out, I saw a group of voters shouting and seriously disturbed because they did not vote due to their names not being found on the FRR. I did a video recording and took photos of them and their VR cards and photocopied the VR cards as well so as to one day present into evidence irregularities and fraud should the opportunity such as today’s date provides,” he said.
He, meanwhile, presented a flash drive containing the video of those who were disallowed and it was tentatively marked by the hearing clerk on the mandate of the hearing officer.
Cllr. Varney Sherman took exception to the denial of his witness’s material evidence. He called on the hearing officer to give his team a chance so they could make available all the 182 persons said to be the owners of the VR cards to testify, but again Cllr. Ville rejected his application.
Honoring Cllrs. Dean and Zoe’s objections against the placement of the VR cards into evidence, Cllr. Ville said the owners of the VR cards should have come before the NEC with a complaint, or if desired, to give a concrete affidavit worth honoring by the hearing office.
UP’s remaining witnesses, who among others are former Foreign Affairs Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan and former NEC chairman James Fromoyan, are yet to testify even though today has been set aside by the hearing office for the intervening party to complete the production of its witnesses and pieces of evidence.
Former NEC chairperson and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Cllr. Frances Johnson Allison, was among four witnesses who testified against NEC on Wednesday. Her testimony was, however, derived from speculations and media reports.
The hearing continues today at 11 a.m. even though the Supreme Court is expected to rule at 2 p.m. in UP’s bill of information on the NEC.