Supreme Court Hears UP’s Case against NEC Today

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Deadlock deepens: Cllr. Sherman (right) wants NEC to exonerate itself from the fraud charges by submitting their records. NEC's lead lawyer, Cllr. Dean (opposite Sherman), says UP's "technicalities" are delay tactics.

Unity Party (UP) yesterday filed papers asking the Supreme Court to demand the National Elections Commission (NEC) to make available to it records of the October 10 presidential and legislative elections.

The court accepted the request and set today, November 16, to hear arguments between the NEC and UP on whether or not it should compel the electoral body to surrender the requested documents to the complainant (UP).

UP is seeking for a copy of the Final Registration Roll (FRR) for the October 10 elections, and copies of the addenda to the voter roll made at the polling centers nationwide.

It also asked for copies of the worksheet of the NEC’s Presiding Officer who was arrested in Electoral District #3 in Nimba County with pre-marked ballots.

They are also asking for records of the investigation conducted by the NEC on a staff at the office of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who was also arrested with a machine for allegedly printing of Voters Registration Cards and other election materials at his New Georgia home.

Recently, the NEC accepted UP’s request to intervene on behalf of the opposition Liberty Party (LP) that is also seeking a rerun of the October 10 elections based on alleged irregularities and fraud.

The Supreme Court on November 6 canceled the runoff election that should have been between Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai of the UP and Senator George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). That decision was due to a ‘Writ of Prohibition’ asked for by the opposition Liberty Party (LP), preventing the National Elections Commission (NEC) from conducting the runoff election, pending hearing and conclusion of the party’s complaint of irregularities and fraud during the October 10 election.

In their complaints, UP argued that they filed two separate motions for ‘Subpoenas Duces Tecum‘ and ‘Subpoena Ad Testificadum‘ evidence that would be used to substantiate their request for intervention.

“We need these pieces of evidence to substantiate and prove the allegations of our complaints, and cannot continue the trial before the Chief Dispute Hearing Officer without them,” Cllr. Varney Sherman, UP’s lead lawyer, argued.

Sherman, who is also Grand Cape Mount Senator, argued that the NEC’s Board of Commissioners delayed to give their ruling into an appeal they filed against the electoral body.

“This is contrary to and against the orders of the court that all election disputes pending before the NEC should be expeditiously disposed of,” the UP lawyer stated.

“The delay in rendering a ruling on our appeal and in responding to our request for the records of the investigation of the NEC’s Presiding Officer who was arrested in Electoral District #3 in Nimba County with pre-marked ballots, was intended to coerce us to rest our side of the case,” Sherman noted.

He also asked the court to hold NEC in contempt and punish them for their contemptuous conduct, and to grant them ‘any other relief as in such matter made and provided by law.’

“This court should give NEC a reasonable and specific time period within which to render a ruling on our appeal that is pending before the electoral body,” the UP lawyer pleaded.

Cllr. Sherman had earlier argued that the NEC’s Chief Dispute Hearing Officer denied two of their seven applications, including for the Final Registration Roll (FRR) for the October 10 presidential and legislative elections, as well as for records of the investigation of the Presiding Officer in Electoral District#3, Nimba County caught with pre-marked ballots.

“We announced an appeal before the NEC Board of Commissioners to review the ruling on November 7, but it was only on November 14 the NEC Executive Director responded to the Final Registration Roll,” the UP lead lawyer said.

Cllr. Sherman said that the Commissioners did not address the application for the records on the investigation of the Presiding Officer in Electoral District#3, Nimba County.

“On November 10, the NEC entertained argument in the appeal and reserved ruling. Up to November 14, a full week since the ruling was reserved, the NEC still has not given an assignment for its ruling on the application for the request,” Senator Sherman claimed.

Meanwhile, the NEC has been given up to 9 am today to reply to UP’s request to the Supreme Court.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Am I missing something here, Why is Varney Sherman who is Cape Mount County Senator for Unity Party a lawyer in this ongoing saga? Is that not a violation, why nobody is talking about that. Please correct me. Is he credible in the first place? The same Varney Sherman who sold a Liberian diplomatic post to a Danish filmmaker Mr. Brugger for $35.000.00 . That is the man who is pleading as lawyer against corruption.

    • Wonokay Daa WonoKay….not sure this is a real name, but Cllr. Sherman is a sitting Senator representing the interest of the people of Grand Cape Mount in the National Legislature. Constitutionally, nothing bars him from representing his party at the National Election Commission or the Supreme Court of Liberia. If you’re asking whether he’s credible; what does that statement indicate in the first place if he’s credible? If you’ve evidence to prove that he sold a Liberian diplomatic post to a Danish Filmmaker, Mr. Brugger, take him to court, but remember, that could be an allegation, but not a fact or conviction. Such allegation has nothing to do with this case and these are two separate issues.

      We have to start judging people base on hearsay because we’re all Liberian endowed with the same rights. The matter before the National Election Commission and the Supreme Court has to do with irregularities from the October 10, 2017 polls. I am enjoying the fruits of democracy in our country and let’s wait for the legal process to conclude. Remember, this is not 1985 that resulted in Quiwonkpa invasion and subsequent Civil War. This is being handle in court…..

  2. Thanks to the US Embassy for her honest press release amid the electoral crisis in our country. Liberians need to understand that their personal greed should not push us into chaos. Democracy is the will of majority, not minority therefore stop your unnecessary delay of the electoral process. Norris Glao.

    • Norris Glao, in as much you misunderstood the US Embassy statement, it is not a rebuke to anyone and besides, Liberia is a sovereign country. The US dictating to us and we’re taking that with pride is shameful. Who dictates to America to stop the investigation into the alleged Russians meddling in their 2016 elections? No body! America can take whatever peanuts they are giving us and China will step in to fill that gap and perhaps Russia will be happy to stamp out America’s interest in Liberia and you’ll see who will be the loser.
      Besides, elections around the world aren’t perfect by any means, but when you’ve the Chairman of the National Election Commission compromised by the outgoing president; it become daring that citizens will speak out and follow the rule of law. The elections weren’t properly conducted knowing what we know today. No one anywhere in the world register a voter on election day and allow them to vote. Besides, I’ve never hear of elections final registration roll having an addendum in any elections anywhere around the world. This is unconstitutional and a violation of our elections laws. Cllr. Jerome Kokoya need to step down though she’s being back by Madam Sirleaf. He’s grossly incompetent and he has demonstrated that throughout the electoral process. Imaging the number of invalid votes. What does that tell you about voters civic education? Too many lapses.
      In 2011 elections, one mistake that Cllr Flomoyan made and that was enough to ask him to resign from the commission. What’s taking place today is travesty of justice and Madam Sirleaf is using all kinds of tactics asking the American and European Embassies to come up with these statements. They can take their support and China will be glad to have Liberia as its only friend and perhaps Russia will come in as well. Again, who will lose?

  3. It’s a shame that Liberian politicians are not seeking to put the country first. By all accounts, there is nowhere in the world where elections have ever been problem-free, even in the US. In the case of Liberia, international observers have certified that the elections were largely free and fair. Now, that does not mean some irregularities may or may not have occurred. But the question is, were those alleged irregularities or fraud widespread or sufficient enough to warrant an overturn of the elections results?
    Yes, the aggrieved parties have the right to appeal the process but at what expense? The common Liberian is suffering and the longer the crisis drags on, it does not look good for a struggling economy. The international community and the sub-region have given so much to bring peace to Liberia and we should not allow their efforts to go in vain. The main complainant, Brumskins’ party finished a distant third with 9.6% of votes (if am correct). His argument would have been more plausible if he had come close within the margin of error. I think the mark of a true statesman is to put his country first above everything else.

  4. Things aren’t getting better in Liberia. Suits are being filed every week and nothing seems to get better.

    A suit was filed by Brumskine immediately after the October 10 elections. BrumskIne
    performed terribly. This time, it’s the Unity Party that’s behind the wheel. By all means before a date is set, someone in the CDC camp will file a suit.
    Where do we go from here?

  5. Mr. James Amos Addrews,
    It’s hard to not defend you because you have made a number of good points as it relates to your disagreement with Glao and Daa Wonakay. But I disagree with you on some issues. I am sorry Addrews, the world continues to spin despite my, or your disagreement with a fellow compatriot.

    Areas of agreement:
    —-Liberia is a sovereign nation. (Right)
    —-Sherman has a right to defend others.
    (Right)
    —-Elections around the world are not perfect,
    and a host of others. (Right)

    Okay, areas of disagreement:
    —- Johnson-Sirleaf lobbies the US and Europeans for statements to be made that pertain to elections in Liberia.
    —-US gives peanuts. Their aid can be withdrawn, if that happens, the Chinese and Russians will fill in the void and
    —-Korkoya is being advocated for by Johnson-Sirleaf and that’s why Korkoya hasn’t stepped down, etc.

    Questions for you sir Addrews….
    Do you have any proof as to whether Johnson-Sirleaf has lobbied or is influencing the decision of the US government or the EU to speak up in Liberia? Is this speculation or as you say “a hearsay” on your part?

    Is there any truth to the rumor that Korkoya is well-heeled in at NEC because of Johnson-Sirleaf’s advocacy? Is this a hearsay on your part?

    Finally, how sure are you that China or Russia will forego their respective internal squabbles at home and solve Liberia’s problems?
    Like you, Addrews, Glao and Daa Wonakay have a right to free expression! I am lukewarm or let’s say I am 50% supportive of your views. You’re doing precisely what you say others should not do.
    Look, gentlemen, we’re in a mess!
    To advert any calamitous situation that could potentially destroy us, we need genuine help from all friends. The US has been very, very helpful to Liberia from the get-go. Let’s not trash our historical friends.

  6. I agree that Liberia is a sovereign nation, and I also agree that any nation that fails to abide by its organic law is likely to find itself in an unnecessary, avoidable problem. I also believe that the law of every nation works toward protecting the democracy, peace and security of the nation. The law (constitution) we’re practicing today was copied from USA. The election between Mrs. Clinton and President Trump was said to have been associated with a lot of irregularity and fraud but still the election went on without Democrat going to the Supreme Court for the result to be cancelled or prohibited. Even up to present the allegation about Russia’s intrusion is still being investigated. Most importantly adjudicating a case is a process that requires ample times.
    It to be advisable if the runoff election can be conducted now so as to stop the unnecessary untold difficulties Liberians are going through and to avoid creating constitutional crisis. Prices are now skyrocketing because business people are using the situation creating artificial shortage of goods and services. My understanding also is that LP’s case is not against any of the contesting parties but against NEC. So if LP wins the case tomorrow when the runoff shall have been conducted NEC can be punished legally for failing to properly do their given task rather than holding the entire country hostage. Let’s put Liberia’s interest first.
    Another issue is if LP wins the case and the October 10, 2017 elections results are cancelled for rerun according to their demand, will NEC or the government be in the position to refund all the contestants’ expenditures? Secondly will the Supreme Court be in the position to go through these potential cases? Let’s not open unwanted problems for ourselves, please. I’m not a lawyer anyway.

  7. Gbahn,
    You sound like a lawyer. If you are not one, you owe no one an apology. But if It is not too late, you can enroll at the nearest law school. Go for it!

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