NEC’s Woes Continue

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Josiah F. Joekai giving his testimony at NEC yesterday

Joekai Accuses Commission of Orchestrating Electoral Irregularities, Frauds

Defeated independent representative candidate of Montserrado electoral district #3, Josiah Flomo Joekai, yesterday testified before the National Elections Commission’s hearing office and alleged that the October 10 polls’ irregularities and frauds were orchestrated by Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya, chairman of the NEC and his co-workers.

Recounting his testimony from the disputed elections on behalf of Unity Party, Joekai said Korkoya, along with his fellow members of the Board of Commissioners were negligent and unconcerned about the constitutional crisis that could erupt from the conduct of the elections without a credible final voter roll.

“I illegally voted at the Baillie Call Christian Institute in my district only because my particulars were not found on the final register roll (FRR) in the possession of the NEC staff. I was asked to allow my name be included on the addendum after my particulars were displayed on the cell phone screen of the presiding officer who said he used the short message system (SMS) introduced by the Commission to trace the particulars of a registered voter,” he said.

Joekai, who formerly worked for the NEC as a special assistant to former NEC chairman James Fromoyan and later served as the director of civic voter education, accused Korkoya of lying under oath before the House of Senate to speak to the omission of voters names on the FRR.

“Korkoya was not fair to the Senate when he said that the total number of missing names on the FRR was 13,000. It was more than that and it was clearly reflected on October 10 when many persons far beyond his announced 13,000 did not find their names on the FRR,” he said, adding that the October post-elections’ problems were forecast at the time of the voter registration.

The defeated representative candidate who graciously accepted his failure at the polls and is yearning “for a peaceful runoff” election, said Korkoya and staff lack the capacity to conduct any credible elections.

“The FRR that the NEC boasts of today has lots of lapses and it was only published at the eleventh hour based on public pressure mounted on the Commission. I told them in one of my articles that they should not compromise the final voter roll if there is anything worth calling a credible, free, fair and transparent election,” Joekai noted.

He pointed out that Korkoya’s statement, calling on all voters with valid voting cards even though their names were not found on the FRR created the quagmire that the country is faced with today.

“To tell you that Korkoya’s leadership has failed in many aspects in the conduct of our country’s electoral processes, one of his fellow commissioners, Jonathan K. Weedor distanced himself from Korkoya’s statement and stood his ground that the Commission was on a bad footing,” he said.

Testifying on the alleged discovery of ballot papers in Kwenabu, electoral district #2 of Grand Gedeh County, Otto Saye Blayton said the ballot papers discovered were not “your candidate’s ballots.”

“Those ballots that the NEC continues to inform the public of as being civic voter education materials were original ballots and they were marked. The ballots were discovered behind a fenced bathroom by the daughter of Blaye Town chief, while she was in search of her bath soap,” Blayeton said.

He said the ballots were dug from a hole on October 24 and a police officer was invited to escort the finders to the NEC magistrate’s office for identification, acknowledgment of receipt and reporting to the headquarters of the Commission.

“We took photos and did video recording, even though we were stopped from doing so by the police. We did that so that when NEC denies tomorrow, as it has done already, some of us could come forward to testify against their misinformation to the public,” he explained.

He said Grand Gedeh’s NEC Magistrate, Mr. Arthur C. Y. Duogee denied claims that the ballots were official voting ballots on a local radio station even though the ballots were indeed official ballots.

“Mr. Duogee said to the people of Grand Gedeh on Top FM that the ballots were not official voting ballots. I say here that Mr. Duogee lied to the public because we saw with our own eyes that the ballots we reported to him were official ballots, not any educational ballot papers,” he said.

Blayeton noted that he knows that the valid candidate ballots have red and green lines for presidential and representative at the back, while the ‘know your candidate ballots’ had no line at the back, neither are they smaller, as the original ballots.

Joekai and Blayeton were two of the four witnesses who testified against the Commission yesterday in an effort to validate UP’s reason for intervening in the Liberty Party’s case.

Earlier, on the witness stand were UP’s vice chairman for political affairs, Cole Bangalu and Unay Belleh of Grand Gedeh, who also testified in the alleged voter cards discovery.

Reacting to the witnesses’ testimonies, NEC counsels, Cllr. Alexander Zoe and Cllr. Frank Musa Dean, said the witnesses have no facts in connection to the UP, LP and other parties’ accusations against the Commission.

UP’s legal team, led by Cllr. Varney G. Sherman said that the hearing will not continue today (Nov. 14) or any other time, if the NEC refuses to provide the FRR in their possession.  They also requested the NEC legal team to also agree not blemish the Commission furthermore.

It may be recalled that the Unity Party chairman, Wilmot Paye, over the weekend admitted that his party discovered, acknowledged and participated in doing the very wrongs they are today accusing the NEC of committing.

4 COMMENTS

  1. This is a one-sided reporting. Musa Dean effectively casted doubt on that witness testimony. If I were a juror, I wouldn’t find the witness credible.

  2. Nobody is denying that there weren’t “irregularities” in the October 10 presidential election, however, many doubt that there was any intent to rig it for any particular political party. No wonder, then, the perception that the Supreme Court’s action in postponing the run – off was intemperate and suspicious.

    If even that’s a misperception, Liberians can’t forget that it is the same Supreme Court which delayed the confirmation of Senator Sherman’s Cape Mount victory, as it turned out for ulterior motives, and ironically backpedaled on its own previously 3 – 2 decision in the case of the Code of Conduct without offering any explanation, or pinpointing new evidence to warrant the amazing change of heart.

    The upshot, our Supreme Court has lost credibility in the minds of many Liberians and foreigners in the country. And if there is one institution which needs overhaul and reform, it is this Supreme Court. And, lest I forget, citizens need not be lawyers to have opinions on legal matters, or to know something is terribly wrong with this court, and the whole judicial branch of government, for that matter.

  3. Meanwhile Mr. Moses, the matter under probe happens to be the undoing of the NEC, not the Liberian Supreme Court. We can appraise the credibility of the SC later, if in fact that is not belated. One question perhaps you or true NEC could fill us in on or clarify for us for example, is, even if we agree the ballots found in somebody’s backyard in Grand Gedeh were sample ballots, how did they get there? Are you and the NEC people telling us after the “sampling” or “education” exercise, the local election officials just decided to dispose of those used/remaining materials in such a reckless manner? Apparently when people became apprehensive over the excess ballot papers printed by the NEC for this election they had reasons to be, some of which we maybe grappling with now. But perhaps if the NEC could account for all ballots it printed for this election, including sample and actual ballots, minus what was used for “voters’ education” and/or for the actual election, the remaining ballots in both categories could then be verified by all parties to this dispute and other relevant interest groups and we move on. Why can’t the NEC do just that, to account for every piece of ballot it printed and imported into the country for this election, as evidence to convince all of us?

  4. Brother Moses, I mean Sylvester Gbayaforh Moses, do you recall of the unprecedented
    secret meeting President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had with the Chairman and staff and
    likely some elections workers had at private home about two or three weeks before the
    October 10, 2017 polls? What did she tell the Chairman Jerome George Korkoya et al
    that meeting? Was it proper for the President to do so? Are you also aware of the manner
    in which the elections themselves were conducted in contrary to the massive preparations
    made prior to that? Well, I can tell you that from that secret meeting with Ellen Sirleaf,
    things changed badly for the electorates in that hundred of thousand of matured legally
    registered were turned away to give way only for the majority of the young people to vote.
    The amount of irregularities and frauds during the elections are so massive to give any
    credibility to the entire elections, even to have a run-off instead of rerun.

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