— Pledge to restitute the full amount (US$1.4M) charged on behalf of Lofa County Senator-elect
A group under the banner, ‘Liberians United in Support of Senator-elect Brownie Jeffrey Tamba Samukai Jr.,’ has condemned in the strongest term the ruling of Criminal Court ‘C’ with support by the Supreme Court to pass a guilty verdict against former Defense Minister and Lofa County Senator-elect, Brownie Samukai, along with Joseph F. Johnson, former Deputy Defense Minister for Administration, and J. Nyumah Dorkor, former Comptroller, for redirecting Pension Funds of members of the Armed Forces of Liberia in the tune of US$1,147,656.35.
The group’s statement, which was released on Sunday, March 7, 2021, came following the Supreme Court’s Stay Order that came as a result of writ of prohibition filed by the Movement for Progress Change (MPC) asking the high court to halt the certification of Senator-elect Samukai.
“We recognize the Supreme Court as the highest tribunal of our Nation for all cases arising under the Constitution and acknowledge that the Constitution is the organic Law of our land, but equally reject the High Court’s politically motivated ruling,” the group’s statement said.
According to the group, testimonies of Major General Prince C. Johnson, current Chief of Staff, General Geraldine Janet George, current Deputy Chief of Staff, the present and former senior officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), and the testimony of Mr. Samukai indicated that it was former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the Commander-In-Chief of the AFL, who authorized him as Minister of National Defense to withdraw the funding out of the AFL Pension Funds account.
The group argued further that Mr. Samukai acted on the direct instruction of his boss. Furthermore, it was disclosed in court that former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and President George Manneh Weah reached an agreement on January 13, 2018, and January 17, 2018, with the leadership of the AFL that the incoming administration would refund all funds spent from the AFL’s Welfare Fund.
Based on this agreement, President Weah’s Administration has made an initial payment of US$460,000 towards the AFL Pension Funds through the 2018 budgetary allocation.
“We strongly believe that the decision to find Honorable J. Brownie Samukai Jr. and his subordinates guilty has no merits. This ongoing act is a blatant abuse of power and apparent disrespect for the Doctrine of Separation of Powers, and it is politically motivated, a political witch-hunt, and, above all, unconstitutional,” the group’s statement said.
Given the circumstances surrounding this case, the group noted that there is excess use of power by the Executive Branch with political influence from the Executive overshadowing the Judiciary Branch; thereby making them to sense that the decision by the court is unethical, illegal, immoral, and is a gross abuse of power.
“Therefore, we, the supporters of the Senator-elect Samukai, Jr. in the Diaspora and Liberia, have constituted ourselves into an organized group, prepared mentally, physically, and financially to challenge this miscarriage of justice, and pledged to restitute the full amount charged,” the group stressed.
“We call and appeal to all liked-minded Liberians, sympathizers, and friends of Senator-elect Brownie Jeffrey Tamba Samukai, to join our efforts in restituting the funds illegally demanded by the court. We are not restituting these funds because our Senator-elect and his colleagues did anything wrong,” the statement noted.
The statement said, “We have decided to pay this money to send a strong political message to the Ruling Establishment and draw attention to Liberia’s corrupt judicial system that is characterized by mismanagement and miscarriage of justice in our society.”
“In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!” The only crime committed by Senator-elect Brownie Jeffrey Samukai, Jr and colleagues was to rightfully take orders from then Commander-in-Chief of the Arm Forces of the Republic of Liberia,” the statement noted.
The statement went further to say: “We call on the international community, our civil society organizations, our traditional and religious councils, all well-meaning Liberians and friends of Liberia to intervene in this injustice.”
Reflecting on past activities of the Supreme Court, the group recalled that similar unlawful impeachment was carried out against Associate Justice Justice Kabineh Mohammad Ja’neh, and today it is Senator-elect Brownie Jeffrey Tamba Samukai Jr., noting, “Who Will Be Next?”
“We also call on all Liberians, including the people of Lofa, Nimba and all Counties, Business Community, Market Women, Wheelbarrow boys, Motorbike boys, Yander boys, farmers and the Student Community to join hands with us to pay the money as peaceful citizens for the love of our land and for our Senator-elect,” group appealed.