Samukai’s Political Woes Deepen

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Lofa County Senator-elect, Brownie J. Samukai

-As Supreme issues “stay order” on his certification for the Senate seat

By David Menjor and Abednego Davis

The controversy surrounding the certification of J. Brownie Samukai, Senator-Elect of Lofa County, seems not to be possible yet as the Supreme Court has now placed a stay order on the process. The Supreme Court over the weekend ordered the National Elections Commission (NEC) not to include Samukai among candidates expected to be certificated.

The NEC has informed the media of its receipt of final rulings from the Supreme Court in the post-election cases involving Frank Saah Fokoe of Montserrado Electoral District #9 and Numene T. H. Bartekwa of Sinoe County and their opponents in which the two candidates emerged victoriously and are qualified to be certificated by the Commission.

The Supreme Court’s Stay Order on the Certification Of Lofa County Senator-Elect Brownie Samuka came following the filing of a writ of prohibition by the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) at the Supreme Court seeking the overturning of the decision by the NEC to certificate Samukai who was found guilty on criminal charges.

Their argument is that since Samukai is now a convict, the law prevents convicts from ascending to any elected public position until after five years of serving the punishment of which the person was convicted.

The election law Section 5.1 states that all eligible citizens may vote or contest in an election except one who has been judicially declared to be incompetent or of unsound mind or who has been barred from voting as a result of his/her conviction and imprisonment for an infamous crime which disenfranchised him/her as a voter and has been restored to full citizenship.

While the NEC is yet to set a date to certificate the two candidates, Samukai’s fate remains in oblivion as the Justice Ministry represented by the Minister, Cllr. Musa Dean and the Solicitor General, Cllr. Syrenius Cephus, has sent a letter to the NEC asking that electoral body not to certificate the Lofa County Senator-elect because of his conviction for misapplication of pension money belonging to the Armed Forces of Liberia. Samukai was convicted at Criminal Court “C” along with two of his deputies for misapplication of over one million United States Dollars .

The question remains does the section 5.1 can be applied to Samukai’s case?

To ensure that his stay order does not last longer, Justice Nagbe will on Tuesday, March 9, begin hearing steps to be taken to address the problem of Samukai’s certification.

Last week, supporters of the former Defense Minister cautioned the NEC to work independent of any political influence as their suspicion shows that the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is on a witch hunt against the opposition community.

The supporters claimed that if Samukai is not certificated, they will resolve to series of actions without violence to register their concerns to the national government about how unfairly they are treated in terms of representation.

Brownie Samukai was earlier notified to be Certificated on Monday March 1; unfortunately for him, the Board Of Commissioners of the NEC decided reading the latest Communication from the Supreme Court reminding the Electoral Body of its ruling, thus suspending the certification for time indefinite.

As provided for by Article 83 (C) of the 1986 Revised Constitution, NEC is to look into post-election disputes and if parties disagree, they have the right to file appeals to the Supreme Court, whose duty is to put to bed all matters by its final rulings upon review of pieces of evidence and witness testimonies where necessary.

6 COMMENTS

  1. There are some people who maintain the view that “trouble does not look people, but people are the ones who look for trouble”. The Samukai saga does not seem to contradict the above adage. Did Samukai look for trouble when he decided to become a Senator? If Samukai had maintained a low profile in terms of staying away of politics, would trouble have come to him? It’s hard to say. But one thing is apparent. Mr. Samukai is trouble deep. We wish him well.

    • Mr. Hney, if Samukai were not known in Liberia and the sub region as a notoriously corrupt character, or there is nothing wrong with corruption once one stays away from politics, then your argument would not be unfair to THE LAW, and or Samukai’s victims which include orphans, widows, soldiers who died in service, and indeed unfair to the entire military structure and the Liberian Army to which he Samukai has now inflicted this much disrepute!

      Or are you one of those who may opine that winning an election is an AUTOMATIC EXONERATION, IMMUNITY, AND IMPUNITY, from whatever corrupt or criminal wrong committed by a convicted felon?

      READ BELOW AN XRAY ON THE NATURE AND CHARACTER , THE PSYCHE, OR THE MENTALITY OF SAMUKAI WHO ESCAPED OR DODGED INDICTMENT BECAUSE HIS INDICTMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN A GRAVE EMBARRASSMENT TO THE ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF GOVERNMENT.

      “Samukai is heard on the recording stating that there was a big money contract coming up for the renovation of the RIA which could have been the driving force behind a possible setup of Corkrum.“

      “I’m not aware. The only thing I heard about is $130 million for the runway, Corkrum is heard responding to Samukai.

      Samukai adds: “I told you it is part of that deal. Remember. Can you imagine $130 million for a brand new airport and it looks like Finance is about to sign. Now whatever Senegalese person you brought. Their fear was this guy who is gonna do the work.. . . But that’s what I’m telling you. I told you they set this whole thing up. You hear it yourself, you heard what he told me.”

      The revelation of the recording heightened speculations Thursday that Samukai was asked by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to step down from his post. Other speculations suggested that the tough-talking Defense minister had turned in his resignation after a breakfast meeting with Sirleaf Thursday. FrontPageAfrica was been unable to confirmed either of those reports, as this story went to press Thursday night.

      “Despite the revelations, local radio stations and newspapers looking to get to the bottom of the story from the pair have been left disappointed. On Thursday, producers and hosts of the popular Radio LIB and Fabric 101 afternoon talk show were frustrated over the lack of cooperation from the pair. Corkrum, for example, have shied away from answering questions and leaving bulk of the talking to her fiancé, Johnson, who himself is listed as a co-conspirator in the indictment.“ CULLED FROM FPA

  2. WE shall see what the outcome will be like while God watch over this country everyday. Hope this case or situation can be resolved ASAP with no problem or trouble.

  3. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
    Lets look at the crucial clause in section 51.1 and read with understanding which states,…who has been judicially declared to be incompetent or of unsound mind or who has been barred from voting as a result of his/her convictions and imprisonment for an infamous crime …blah blah, blah. And not because the person is a convict, but has been barred Judicially.
    Samukai is of sound mind. He has supposedly all his marbles correct. Then the next question in the section of 51.1 is, has he been barred by any court or courts because of his conviction and imprisonment ? Has he been barred ? NO.
    But that is what political opponents of Samukai are seeking from the Court. And the Court has already ruled on his conviction.
    The only restriction there is, for Samukai to payback in one year the stolen money under the previous regime for which he was part of and charged and convicted of, or be sent to jail . That is the sentence that he is under until somewhere 2022. And that sentence carries no other restrictions from the Court, barring him from voting, barring him from taking his seat, barring him for any other reason. Note the word judicially in 51.1. Not the Minister of Justice or the Solicitor General or the presidency.
    Yes, Samukai is convicted and is presently serving his sentence. That is if he chooses to go and pay US 5, US 20, US 100 dollars to the Court as part of his convicted sentence that he is still serving and making payments up to 2022. Samukai does not have a suspended sentence from the Court. He can make his payments any time up to 2022. But he is not barred by the Court or restricted.
    Yes, Samukai is a convicted criminal, but judicially, the Court has not barred him from voting, or from taking his seat as an elected official. The Court has not issued no such notice to the Election Commission barring Samukai or restricting him for any infamous crimes.
    In fact Section 51.1 recognized that Only The Court has the power or authority to bar anyone upon conviction or imprisonment barring them from voting. And the Court so far has failed to do so in the case of Samukai. And without any new evidence to stop the certification of Samukai, the Court can not go back on its previous ruling just like that.
    And now with this new development, where some one is asking the Court to over turned its previous ruling, without any new evidence to the Court, that’s Impossible.
    If this new development can proved that Samukai is a flight risk, something the Court can used as an evidence to re-arrest Samukai, based on that evidence before the Court, he will be sent to jail. But afraid that the Court will reject any other reason. Especially one that is based on the conviction of the Court’s ruling already. But if there is no new evidence, other than requesting the Court to bar him because of his conviction records, something that the Court already knows about, then the new development too will lost the case as others who came before the Court without any new development.
    Now listen up people, there is one thing that the Court does not do when it comes to calling or declaring electoral winners. That authority by the constitution is left with the Elections Commission Only ! The Court only sort out the dispute and informed the Election Commission.
    The other thing is, this particular Court hates to LEGISLATE LAWS THAT ARE LEFT UP TO THE LEGISLATURE TO DO.
    Section 51.1 gives reason for barring someone based on “infamous crime”. But what is
    actually infamous crime ? Should the Court legislate ruling for every infamous crimes against candidates all the time, or should the legislature makes that law barring people when convicted for infamous crimes ?
    It seemed that the Court has sidestepped that issue. Looking at it as a political issue than a legal issue and ruling for the Court to legislate.
    Of course 1.5 million theft is enough to stop someone from becoming a Senator. But what, if it is something else other than money, should the Court the legislate that too ? How far can the Court goes legislating to stop someone from voting or stopping a candidate for infamous crimes ?
    But what the Court can do is sentenced, and then straight to jail. The Court could have done just that in the case of Samukai. But the Court chose not to. Maybe it saw the politics. Or perhaps, refused any replay of Justice Ja’neh awful fiasco again, whereby the Court was used.
    Without any new evidence other than electoral irregularities and fraud, and that Samukai is a convicted criminal, something that the Court is already aware of and has not barred Samukai or restricted him, afraid, the opponents of Samukai are wasting their time.
    The Court is looking for new evidence, without that, petition the lawmakers to make that law, stating all categories necessary to bar a candidate or one who has a conviction record, or have committed the so-called infamous crimes. But so far, it looks like the Court can see the politics involved in this one and sidestepping it all together.
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

  4. I think there are some people above the law, some within the law and others below the law in Liberia.
    Why will Samukai face such political harassment if he was just abiding my orders from his boss Ellen? Or is it because he won the senatorial election against CDC?

    There is an Ivorian street adage which says, “Chacun a son tour chez le coiffeur !”
    What goes around, comes around!
    When you bend down to peer at someone from behind, someone is doing the same to you!

    Beware CDC, when you leave office tomorrow!

  5. Samukai will be certificated base on the following reasons to wit… The law requires a convict to certify his or her sentence or penalty. Once Samukai certify the Supreme Court penalty, he will definitely be certificated.
    Note: The Supreme Court mandate for Samukai to restitute 50% of the fund will elapse in six months period. Article 1 of the Constitution is also on the book to defend the power of the people. The solicitor general erred by performing the duty of the Justice Minister. The law isn’t his opinion! Samuel will come out of the Supreme Court with flying colors.

    This is my opinion, not politics!!

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