Nearly a month after the Supreme Court placed a stay order on the certification of three Senators-elect by the National Election Commission (NEC), the High Court last Tuesday cleared two Senators-elect to take their seats on Capitol Hill.
The cleared Senators are Cllr. Varney Sherman (Grand Cape Mt), chairman of Unity Party, and Morris Saytumah (Bomi), a former Minister of State for Financial and Legal Affairs.
Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Youh, delivering the Ruling, declared “The National Elections Commission is hereby ordered immediately to certificate Senators-elect Cllr. Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County and Morris Saytumah of Bomi County, and to restore all their benefits and inducements due them.”
According to the Ruling, Cllr. Sherman’s complainant, Dr. Fodee Kromah, failed to complete his appeal process before the Supreme Court as provided under the law. “He did not file his Bill of Exception against the Bill of Information filed by lawyers representing Cllr. Sherman,” stated the Ruling.
Cllr. Sherman, in his Bill of Information, had asked the court to deny the complaint of Kromah’s lawyers.
In the case of Senator Morris Saytumah, Associate Justice Youh said, the lawyers of his complainant, incumbent Senator Lahai G. Lansanah, abandoned his case, meaning that after filing their complaint they failed to attend to several notices inviting them to the hearing.
Having been cleared ahead of the election today if the President Pro-Tempore of the Senate, the two Senators will join their colleagues in choosing who the next President Pro-Tempore will be.
In the third case, however, the stay order still shackles Senator-elect James Tornollah (Margibi) County who was not cleared on Tuesday.
The stay order was placed on the three Senators by Associate Justice Philip A.Z. Banks, after the candidates they defeated complained that the December 20 special senatorial election was marred by irregularities in the three respective counties.
Immediately after the Supreme Court cleared him, Senator Saytumah told journalists, “It’s now time for Bomi County to be represented like other counties in the National Legislature,” and noted that reconciliation was one of his major priorities for the county.
When quizzed as to whether he was disappointed over the Supreme Court’s decision, Senator Saytumah, himself a lawyer, said, “I’m not worried about the matter reaching the Supreme Court because I’m a lawyer and the only way we can resolve these issues is to use the legal system.”
Cllr. Sherman, however, was throughout the hearing never seen on the premises of the Supreme Court, but was represented by a team of lawyers from his own Sherman and Sherman Law Firm.
Mr. Saytumah (Unity Party) was declared the winner with 8,093, which was 47.2% ahead of incumbent Senator Lansanah (National Patriotic Party), who got 6,276 votes representing 36.6% of the provisional vote cast in Bomi County.
In Grand Cape Mount County, Unity Party’s Sherman captured 13,651 votes totalling 61.7%, defeating Fodee Kromah (Congress for Democratic Change) who won 3,431 votes representing 15.5% of the total vote cast.
Meanwhile, both Senators elect were certificated in a hastily arranged, quiet but very dignified program yesterday at the NEC. Saytumah received both certificates on behalf of the two Unity Party elected officials.