NEC Rules in Favor of NEC; LP, UP Appeal to BOC

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Cllr. Sherman talking to Cllr. Dean and others from the NEC legal team

The main complainant in the ongoing alleged irregularities and fraud that emanated from the October 10 polls, the Liberty Party (LP), and the ruling Unity Party (UP), who came in as an intervening party, have lost the case against the National Elections Commission (NEC) at the Commission’s hearing office.

Handing down his ruling at 7 p.m. yesterday, the NEC’s chief hearing officer, Cllr. Muana Sando Ville, said the complainants lacked sufficient evidence of the fraud and irregularities to warrant a rerun of the elections, or worse: to cancel the results thereof.

“Having listened to arguments from the opposing counsels, the testimonies of witnesses from all the sides as well as carefully considering and looking into pieces of evidence admitted into our files, this hearing office hereby deny the complainant and the intervening party supporting its quest of a rerun of the October 10 elections,” Cllr. Ville said.

He said the burden of proof rests on any accuser in a given case, but as it has been demonstrated over time, the UP and LP have not provided the required evidence to support their claims but requested at each stage that the NEC makes available presiding officers’ worksheets and other materials used by the Commission in the October 10 elections.

Cllr. Ville noted that since the administrative fact-finding investigations began on October 27, the LP, UP and other parties rallying against the Commission in the ongoing case have failed to provide sufficient evidence of fraud that warrants nullifying the results of the October 10 elections, and subsequently ordering a rerun.

“By law, and in this case, Section 3.2 of our elections laws, an accusation of electoral fraud should not be presumed by anyone accusing the Commission of said grave national electoral offense,” he said.

Cllr. Ville said the LP provided 12 witnesses, while UP provided 16 at the first presentation, but later augmented the number to 24. “The first and main complainant’s witnesses, Musa Hassan Bility, Ben Sanvee, both campaign chief executive officer and national chairman of the party [respectively], testified that polling centers were opened later than the constitutional 8 a.m.; and that people voted in open containers in some parts of the country while votes intended for their party were given to UP at a polling center in Lofa County. They also testified that used ballot papers were discovered in Grand Gedeh under the earth while a lady paid L$240 at a polling center in Grand Bassa to vote; and that several voters did not vote only because their names were not found on the final registration roll (FRR),” he said.

About the testimonies of UP witnesses, he noted that they testified that the NEC’s introduction of additional lists so as to accommodate voters whose names were not found on the FRR was unconstitutional and alien to Liberia’s electoral system. “UP’s expert witness Jeff Bleebo testified that the NEC’s subpoenaed flash drive contains over thirty five thousand voters’ names that cannot be found on the flash drive they gave to seven political parties before the October 10 polls,” he said.

The NEC’s chief elections hearing officer noted that the defense counsel argued sufficiently that polling stations were overwhelmed with challenges due to a huge turnout and that queue controllers did not succeed in getting every voter at their voting centers because the voters queued even before the arrival of the queue controllers. He continued that the defense counsel disproved the complainants’ allegation of the Commission committing fraud on the basis of creating addenda, by making reference to the 2005 and 2011 elections as well as the 2014 senatorial election. “It has not been established by the complainants that frauds were actually committed. Frauds, as legal understanding goes, are committed intentionally and particularly so to promote or protect a particular individual or a party,” he pointed out.

NEC chief hearing officer, Cllr. Muana S. Ville

Ville said it is not possible in any way that irregularities can amount to fraud, more so when no one claims benefit thereof.

It can be recalled that after the announcement of final results of the October 10 polls on October 19, that none of the presidential candidates received fifty percent plus one vote as required by law to secure absolute victory, LP filed in a complaint on the 24th and requested a complete halt to all preparations leading to the proposed November 7 runoff until the end of its case. The Commission, meanwhile, went on with preparations while it conducted hearings, an act to which LP took exception and pleaded with the Supreme Court to place a stay order on NEC’s runoff election preparations.

The Supreme Court, after investigating and listening to arguments, granted a permanent stay order on November 6 and called on LP and its collaborating partners to return to the NEC as provided for by law and wait until their concerns are heard and rulings are handed down. The aggrieved party, however, also has the right to take an appeal to the Board of Commissioners (BOC); and if the BOC rules and satisfaction is not derived, an appeal can also be taken to the Supreme Court, the final arbiter of justice.

It is against this background that LP, UP and their close supporters sat at the feet of Cllr. Ville, who yesterday nullified their accusations and denied them any claim to victory over NEC.

Cllrs. Benedict Sannoh of UP and Oswald Tweh of LP took exception to Cllr. Ville’s ruling and are expected to complete filing in their appeal to the BOC today as the NEC is left with only 48 hours to exhaust its 30-day period to look into election-related cases.

Article 83C provides that NEC has 30 days to look into cases.

Reacting to the ruling, defense counsels Frank Musa Dean and Alexander Zoe said they were happy that good is prevailing over evil.

“We told everyone that the intents of UP, LP and others supporting them are evil. They alone have held the country hostage for this while, without proving anything worth considering as their evidence against this Commission,” Dean said.

He attributed UP and LP’s battle to that of two students, one who studies his or her lessons and passes a test while the other fails to study and at the end fails a test but refuses to accept his fault.

“LP got an ‘F’ in the exam while UP got a ‘D+’ but is not satisfied. They have failed and deserved nothing more than failing marks. The Liberian people have resolved to disallow them access to national leadership and so they are angry,” he said, calling UP “a fake mourner.”

“UP is crying more than the bereaved LP, but they will go down the drains together as it has started,” he said.

Authors

14 COMMENTS

  1. The present brought forward silent majority 57% with registered power of the Liberian nation, awaits Liberian electoral Supreme jurisprudence to instruct incumbent’s 34% including NEC’s next announcement of time scheduled; for the people of Liberia to exercise their freedom of choice to vote or/and abstain in keep with the constitution of the said Republic. God’s time.
    Gone to silence. Do not reply this box.

  2. The in-keep of Liberia’s constitutional process is a triangular base to this nation’s present and future governance. The balance two sides form the head arrow to a smooth transition. Only Liberians themselves have this direction to this election. Only God gives the next President.
    Gone to 57% in silence. Do not answer this box.

  3. The Supreme Court is the higher ARBITER OF JUSTICE in the land, they must go to work and, fragmentize the huge and heavy task put before them by NEC. Unpacking this monumental heap, will credit their experience and credibility. This must serve as a wake up called for feature would-be trouble makers.

    The LEFT WING RADICALS have failed, as it is always with their outcomes. The building block of every civil society are the EDUCATED POLITICAL MINDS. In the case of Liberia, those that claim to be EDUCATED and Politically smart, than the rest of the nation, are the same one that causing CAOS for the Liberian people. Lets’ look back to pre Oct. 10, 2017. If Mr. Brumskins and his followers were so smart as they claim they are, they would have form a collaborative force against Mr. George Weah. Since denying Mr. Weah the presidency is their main aim, against the claim that he will not make a good leader. If you look at Cummings’, Brumskins’,Boikai’s and Urey’s number after October 10, and compare that to Weahs’ number, it is clear that one will wonder why didn’t they form an alliance. However; they, being who they are: selfish, dishonest, greedy, they did not go into the election with a GAME PLANE. Instead, they went in as KIDS IN A CANDY STORE. Every one, want to get for himself. Realizing that neither of them can get it alone, they then finally realized that they have to join. In that process, the runoff have to be delayed to catch up with Ellen turning over date of the presidency. Which in their MINDS, an interim government will then be put in to oversees a re run of the election, which will then give then ample time to from a coalition to destroy the CDC. Since getting rid of GEORGE WEAH is their primary concern, not better feature for the country.

    This is the time for the majority Liberian People. Not group of CROOKS.
    “THERE ARE MORE GOOD PEOPLE IN LIBERIA THAN BAD PEOPLE, IT IS THE TIME FOR THE GOOD PEOPLE TO WIN”

    These are the kind of BOOK PEOPLE Liberians have, and their followers are bragging….”we are testing the judicial system”.

    • The last time I checked, a Mamadu Bah is a Guinean name, but that’s for another discussion. You tried to expressed you opinion the best way you can, but firstly remember that the CDC today is a collation of political parties (NPP/NPFL, CDC and the Liberian People Democratic Party) and not the former Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of Amb./Sen. George Weah. Besides, this is not a ploy to deny anyone the presidency including Weah as claimed by you. Each of the parties went into the elections to win, and off course for LP, ALP, ANC and the rest, they didn’t garnered enough votes to be qualified for the runoff. However, during the electioneering period, there were of course fraud and irregularities and we didn’t expect a different outcome from the case at the NEC hearing. We knew and we know the commission will not rule against itself considering the mounting evidence provided so far. Let me see anyone who thought the National Election Commission will rule against itself.

      The premise of the complain filed by the Liberty Party and later intervened by UP and collaborated with ANC & ALP is to expose all the irregularities and fraud that occurred during the elections and to order a rerun on the part of LP, but for the UP, they want a cleanse FRR. There were enough evidence produced had it being in a different country like perhaps Kenya as recently witnessed, the elections will certainly be annulled and a rerun order, but his is Liberia. Firstly, the FRR was infested with duplicate names as shown today. There are people with multiple cards having one NEC Identification voter number. Besides, there are NEC workers clearly known members of the CDC who voted twice. All of these compounded by the discovery of buried ballot papers in Grand Gedeh and the case in District #3 Nimba County should be of grave concern to all Liberians. Amos Sewbo who works in President’s Sirleaf office was found in possession of a machine that produce voters ID cards and elections materials. The elections weren’t free and fair. NEC on account of all the witnesses that testified, they discredited all of the complainant witnesses, but only seems to believed testimonies from their witnesses who works with the commission. This is complete travesty of justice, but we’re headed to the Supreme Court, but no one expect a different ruling from the BOC.

      Mamadu Bah, check the below listed numbers all issued by the National Elections Commission and they’re valid NEC numbers identifying voters. Each of the below numbers have more than one voter card and probably each of them voter more than once. Does this concern you that a conduct of our elections to elect people who will represent Liberia be marred by such irregularities and designed fraud? Consider the name Bill Tilko, a CDC partisan/supporter who also work for the NEC carried two voting cards assigned to him in Montserrado and Margibi Counties. Is this fraud, or you’re going to give it the delineation of being irregularities? Bill is registered with voter #733708717 in Montserrado county and voter ID #725188877 in Margibi county. This is not irregularities, but fraud. Also, check these voting numbers assigned to voters….each carries more than one card:
      742064517
      725692417
      780000007
      725692097
      725692077
      725447957
      722750927
      721260087
      725692117
      Verify each of these numbers and you’ll notice from NEC website that these are numbers of voting cards issued legally by the National Election Commission. If this is not fraud for a professional organization, it is whatever. Lord have mercy on our country.

      http://www.necliberia.org/

  4. Joseph Boakai is just showing us his self interested ego to us Liberian,this is the time to allow the masses votes to decide the outcome of our elections

  5. Malbah…..
    When you say the masses should decide the outcome of our elections, what do you actually mean? Who are the masses that you reference?

  6. I am appalled that a lawyer like Mr. Brumskine would engage in such a wasteful act to hold Liberia hostage. How many times have you ran for the nation’s highest office and the people haven’t spoken clearly on their preferred choice? Is it now that you know that irregularities exists in Liberia’s elections? What about all the previous elections you contested going back to former president Taylor’s elections that Mr. Taylor won overwhelmingly? All of these law degrees and PhDs have failed Liberia and Liberians, can you see that the People have spoken and clearly not in your favor? If I were you, as intelligent as you claim to be, I would wait and give Liberia a chance to move on…

  7. This case is against the NEC. It seems the NEC is investigating itself. The lead hearing officer is a top ranking member of the NEC. How fair can he be? The case should have been assigned to an independent counsel.

  8. Hey Henry Freeman, the issue here is not “fairness”. The issue is playing by the rules (Constitution) that governs our elections.

    The Constitution (Article 83 (c)) says that “…Any party or candidate who complains about the manner in which the elections were conducted or who challenges the results thereof shall have the right to file a complaint with the Elections Commission. Such complaint must be filed not later than seven days after the announcement of the results of the elections.”

    So what part of “Such complaint MUST be filed (with the Election Commission) not later than seven days” do YOU not understand?? Why do you want to change the rules after the game is over??

    If Liberty Party doesn’t like NEC’s decision, they can appeal it to the Supreme Court, the final arbiter of the law. See Article 83 (c)….There’s no need for an Independent Counsel.

  9. I am surprised of this ruling. The national Election Commission will not rule against itself. This is why many renowned personalities had earlier called for an independent body to be set up to investigate the matter between NEC and Liberty Party. It is just a waste of time. NEC will never accept their mistakes and the blunder they have created during these elections. SHAME ON NEC!!!!

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