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.