Samukai: ‘Take Me to Court or Leave Me Alone’

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Brownie J. Samukai, former Defense Minister of Liberia who has been at the center of controversy surrounding the alleged theft of pension money belonging to members of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), has challenged the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), as well as all others calling on the National Elections Commission (NEC) to deny him the certification to contest for the Senate seat in Lofa County, to go to court and prove the relevance of their arguments.

Samukai’s response is a result of the Justice Ministry’s letter to the NEC, calling on the Commission to deny the former minister all rights and privileges to contest the December 8 polls.

“The Justice Ministry contradicted itself in that letter,” Samukai told the Daily Observer in a telephone interview. “I have it in my possession and from all rational reasoning, they have no ground. The NEC has ruled and threw out the appeal from my complainant based on legal grounds.

“Therefore, I encourage them to go to court instead of acting as though they have the right to interpret the law,” Samukai challenged the Ministry and all others seeking his denial to participate in the upcoming December 8 polls.

The Justice Ministry’s letter, dated October 26, a copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer says: “We present our compliments and write to clarify what seems a controversy in respect to claims and counterclaims over whether or not Mr. Brownie J. Samukai, Jr. is a convict for financial frauds, economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, misuse of public money and theft of property, and therefore, should not be certified by the National Elections Commission (NEC) to stand as a candidate for Lofa County in the forthcoming Mid-term Senatorial elections.”

The letter, signed by Cllr. Sayma Serenius Cephus, Solicitor General of the Republic of Liberia, said Samukai is a convicted felon and that a careful review of the Ministry’s records shows that Mr. Samukai and two others who worked under his watch at the Ministry of Defense at the time were duly indicted, tried, convicted and sentenced and ordered to restitute the amounts of US$687,656.35 and US$460,000 respectively, for the commission of crimes of theft of property, criminal conspiracy, misuse of public money, and money laundering by Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice during its February Term A.D. 2020.

The Board of Commissioners (BoC) of the National Elections Commission (NEC) has, however, affirmed that the former Defense Minister is not guilty of any wrong doing relative to his expression of intent to participate in the electoral process in December.

The Commission, in upholding its chief hearing officer’s judgment, denied and threw out the appeal filed by Samukai’s complainants.

In the NEC’s hearing officer’s judgment, Samukai cannot be considered a convict when he is not in jail and that even though he was found guilty of committing crimes, he was allowed bail by the Court, cautioned to restitute whatever he has misappropriated and allowed to move around freely.

The Board of Commissioners also affirmed and upheld the ruling and is set to certificate Samukai today at its headquarters in Sinkor.

“I am not here to dignify speculations, neither give credence to anything alien to the truth or reality. We live in a country of law, not of men. Let them take me to court and prove reasons why I should not be certified to contest, or they should leave me alone,” Samukai admonished his critics and the Justice Ministry.

The October 26 Justice Ministry’s letter confirmed that Samukai, Joseph P. Johnson, and J. Nyumah Dorkor were allowed bail by the court because the alleged crimes they committed are bailable.

”They are out on bail pending the final determination of their appeal before the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia. This being the case, the appeal is legally limited to, or effectively bars the enforcement of penalty of the conviction and sentencing, but does not return the convicts, as in the case of defendant Brownie Samukai, to a situation of a Status Quo Ante, as it is being erroneously construed,” Cllr. Cephus said.

He explained further in his letter that: “The principle of law regarding conviction in Liberia instructs that, if a person commits, for instance, a bailable or non-bailable offense, say murder, treason, or rape, and is tried and convicted, and if he or she announces an appeal, that person remains a convict and will be behind bars, while the appeal process is perfected.”

The Solicitor General said Samukai is not a free man as he claims to be and, as such, he should not put the law to test.

Author

  • David S. Menjor is a Liberian journalist whose work, mainly in the print media has given so much meaning to the world of balanced and credible mass communication. David is married and interestingly he is also knowledgeable in the area of education since he has received some primary teacher training from the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI). David, after leaving Radio Five, a broadcast media outlet, in 2016, he took on the challenge to venture into the print media affairs with the Dailly Observer Newspaper. Since then he has created his own enviable space. He is a student at the University of Liberia.

3 COMMENTS

  1. This is why our country is backward. Our constitution need to be revisited with stronger amendments of certain provisions to suit current reality. This is why we the Liberians nowadays we are not sincere. Someone can intentionally misuse public funds and depends on the court where they can receive coverup and be treated as a safe Haven for the crimes committed. When the laws are so weak to some extent, you will not see someone sincere to themselves neither his/her motherland they urged to be loyal to. At the result, we become unpatriotic to our own land. We will prefer taking money from here and carry it America or wheresoever we prefer to live better life for ourselves, better education for our children and better healthcare. At the end, we will say Liberia is not a good area to live. As for such, Liberia’s is stay waiting for us to develop it. No one will come and do better than ourselves provided if we sacrificially take upon ourselves to rewrite our constitution that will amount corruption felony. Since our constitution is a borrowed one, that’s why we don’t have a true identity as a nation compares to our neighboring countries around here. If we take a broad looks of our neighboring countries like Guinea, we will see true patriotism in them. With all the political anomalies they have been going through, they will not result fight or destroy their country because everyone is positively engaged in building of their country regardless of religious and cultural background which is absolutely in opposition to Liberia’s. As for we, we are willing to fight or destroy the little ones we have at anytime because nothing is here to prevent full fledge fighting.

    The suspension of of the jail term by the presiding judge into this Samuksi’s case, proves him coward and irresponsible citizen. Even though restitution was the main focus he adjudged this case, it was not in the rightful manner. Restitution could come second and Samukai and his accomplices could set as deterrents, as a wake upon call to all citizens that the court is no longer a safe haven for any citizen that may corrupt or misapplied public funds and intends to defend their fraudulent act in court. Samukai and his culprits could immediately face major jail term which could includes force labor and weekly community services. The failure of this judge to render fair judgment in the interest of this country, has further encouraged NEC to take opposite trend against the state , or may be briberies or favorivitism interplay. Brownie Samukai characters already proven indecent and unpatriotic. NEC could use their own discretionary measure to bar Samukai from contesting the December 8 election by sending him to exonerate himself from the court before certifying him to contest the December 8 mid term election. This is another sad event for this country. NEC has been certifying people with unclean characters to contest elections. All sort of criminals, warlords and convicted murderer’s. No standard procedural of vetting or cross examining characters. From jail to the legislature, from front line with all the innocent Liberians blood in their hands straight to legislature, from terminal criminal conviction, straight to the legislature. How can we expect good laws from these kind of people? But a worsening situation. When NEC bring out tougher laws that could bar people from contesting elections, it will help Liberians to be kind to one another, and the country at large. In this manner, while it is a victorious event for Samukai, it is another blow for Mama Liberia.

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