Taking Korkoya To Court

Cllrs. Gongloe, Supuwood, CCPC, Over US Citizenship Accusation

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Cllr. Gongloe & Chairman Korkoya

The challenge from the Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome Korkoya and the Executive Mansion to anyone claiming that he holds a U.S. passport and is an American citizen should take the NEC boss to court is at the verge of being granted. Two prominent lawyers and other citizens have galvanized to do just that.

According to renowned Liberian musician and women’s rights advocate, Miatta Fahnbulleh, she and other prominent Liberians are leading a well organized campaign to ensure that the Liberian constitution is respected in this case.

She disclosed after a peaceful protest at the headquarters of the NEC in Monrovia that Cllr. Laveli Supuwood and Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe are preparing a lawsuit to take the NEC boss to task, and prove in court that he is indeed a US citizen.

Ms. Fahnbulleh, who is popularly known as Aunty Miatta, is leading the advocacy aspect of the campaign to remove Cllr. Korkoya. She and several others gathered at the NEC yesterday demanding that the NEC boss should do the honorable thing by resigning.

The campaign is under the auspices of the Concerned Citizens to Protect the Constitution (CCPC), on which Aunty Miatta serves as Interim Coordinator.

She said, unlike other parts of the world, public officials in Liberia lack integrity and that is why they are not deterred by scandals. “But the power of national governance is inherent in us so we must use that power to bring them to book and this is what we have resolved to do in this case,” she said.

She indicated that the facts about Cllr. Korkoya’s US citizenship are clear, tangible and realistic, “but since he wants people to take him to court, we will do that and thank God my brothers, Gongloe and Supuwood are working on the legal aspect of this campaign.”

Making reference to the provision of the Constitution that says only Liberian citizens with impeccable character are eligible to serve as commissioners of the NEC, she said Cllr. Korkoya is legally unfit, legally improper and legally incompetent to superintend the October 10 elections.

“His successful confirmation by the Liberian Senate in 2012 as chairman of the National Elections Commission strongly and clearly suggests to us that Chairman Korkoya must have perjured himself by lying under oath about his citizenship status,” Fahnbulleh said.

She said “In our opinion Chairman Korkoya cannot and should no longer continue to serve in this stead and he should do the most honorable thing to step aside and give room to a legally competent individual with proven integrity to serve as chairman of the NEC.”

She indicated that the group is doing everything legally required to ensure the removal of the NEC Chairman. “We started with today’s (yesterday’s) peaceful protest which we had earlier written the Justice Ministry about,” she said.

The group, in the letter to the MOJ, denounced the ineligibility of the NEC boss, warning that something must be done to avert the level of embarrassment the country is at the verge of facing.

“Our constitution forbids foreigners from serving as commissioners of the NEC simply because it has to do with trust and credibility and Cllr. Korkoya’s presence at the NEC as chairman is a complete violation of the nation’s law on elections,” the letter, a copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, said.

The letter, dated May 1, 2017, informed the Ministry of her organization’s plan to peacefully assemble yesterday at the headquarters of the NEC in Sinkor, Monrovia to protest against Korkoya’s continuance in office as the NEC boss.

She received a response from the Ministry asking the group to postpone the protest until consultations into the matter were completed.

“In recognition of your constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and protest vis-à-vis the need to ensure the safety and security of the nation and people, and considering the current security environment, we respectfully urge that the planned peaceful protest be postponed until further consultations are held with the security agencies,” the MOJ replied.

Meanwhile, under relentless pressure from the public and the media, Cllr. Korkoya, while not denying his United States citizenship, has instead repeatedly maintained that he is a Liberian and anyone challenging his citizenship should seek redress through the court.

Fahnbulleh added that the Concerned Citizens to Protect the Constitution will not fall to such a ploy when the facts are clear to all and sundry that he, Korkoya, is a citizen of the United States.

She said while taking the matter to the court is vital, her organization is also calling on ECOWAS, EU, the U. S. Government and all other friends of Liberia to prevail on the Liberian Government to consider with exigency the immediate resolution of this matter which has the potential to adversely affect the ongoing electoral process and undermine national peace and stability.

“We also call on the U.S. Government to reign in its rogue citizens who are deliberately impersonating as Liberians, wantonly violating the Constitution of our country and provoking a crisis with unforeseen consequences to take back home their citizen, Korkoya,” she said.

It may be recalled that the National Democratic Coalition (NDC) told a news conference on April 21 in Monrovia that it had ‘prima facie’ evidence that the NEC Chairman is a naturalized citizen of the United States of America, and threatened legal action to remove him from the position.

The NDC’s political leader Nyanquoi K. Kargbo accused Cllr. Korkoya for lying under oath and said the Party had written President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, urging her to remove Cllr. Korkoya from office; else its lawyers both in Liberia and in the United States would pursue legal action to remove him as chairman of the NEC.

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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.

46 COMMENTS

  1. Cllr. Gongloe has a lawmaker from his county that his sister made similar citizenship allegations against in 2011. Am wondering why he hasn’t taken that lawmaker to court. The cllr is making this korkoyah thing too personal.

  2. Miatta Fahnbulleh is indeed an idiot. Good luck getting the EU, and the US to act on your behalf. I’m sure they have nothing better to do with their time. Where has Fahnbulleh been when there were allegations of other government officials holding other citizenships? Why did she not protest them? Korkoya has already presided over several elections, how did his citizenship status affect the outcomes of those elections?

    By the way, I do not understand their perjury allegations. If you ask someone “Are you a Liberian citizen?” and he replies “yes,” where is the perjury in that? That question is a question of law. The Liberian law says any negro born in Liberia is a citizen. Base on his interpretation of the law, he is a Liberian citizen. If there are other provisions in the law that may be contrary to, and which supersedes, that interpretation, if is a question of law for the courts to decide. Unless a court in Liberia had previously declared him not a citizen, there was no perjury.

    It’s like you shoot a gun and kill someone and then someone else say you committed murder. No. Just because you shot and killed someone doesn’t mean it was murder. And Gongloe is supposed to be a lawyer?

  3. Thank you Saydell Reeves for pointing out the out right hypocrisy of some of these so called activists. They want to selectively enforce the Liberian Constitution when it is in their favor. The Media published the American passport of George Weah when he was running for senator. There was not a single one of these so called activists who challenged his constitutional right to contest the election. This is the height of hypocrisy! Are people supposed to be afraid when they hear the name Gongloe, a prominent Liberian lawyer? No. This is the man who was Labor Minister and did not do a damn thing in that position. Not a single job fair for young people was held during his tenure. We in the diaspora are just as Liberian, just as educated, and in most instances more patriotic than some of you at home. We are not afraid of a damn thing. We will be ready for anything. Bring it on! The Lone Star forever!

  4. It is a pity that our country is still crying out loud for credible leadership. If the current situation with Korkoyah were in the shoe of any European leader, such person would have resign ever since. It is disgracefully sickening that Korkoyah will be denying something that is now public knowledge. When will we see our leaders in Liberia, yea Africa put principle above their positions?? Korkoyah needs to do the right thing to save whatever may have left of his family’s name – let him not prove the stereotype associated kpelleh people, in Liberia.

  5. Wait a minute, guys, accepting NEC Chairman Counselor Korkoya’s own public challenge to take him to court for allegedly lying on oath isn’t an anti – Diaspora action that should get us riled up like some rowdy rustics. After all, he wasn’t compelled to conceal the fact of being also a citizen of the US.

    For instance, Professor Elizabeth Davis – Russel, former President of William VS Tubman University in Maryland, revealed her American citizenship when she was nominated for the position of Minister of Education. Based on that information the Senate didn’t confirm her, but, surely, she spoke the truth, and her integrity remains intact. Reportedly, even, Mr. Robert Sirleaf, favorite son, rescinded his US citizenship prior to the 2014 senatorial race.

    Perhaps, the huge compensation package for the job motivated Korkoya to supposedly lie, no wonder, then, allegations of corruption are hovering above his head like flies on exposed feces. And this is the man expected to conduct potentially one of the most calamitous elections in Liberian history. Guys, rather than railing against one of the nation’s Cultural icons, Miata Fahnbulleh, (our own Maraim Makeba), and respected Civil Rights advocate Counselor Tiawon Gongloe, let’s do something so surreal that it would shock Liberia: for once, put national interest before private concerns!

    As for granting dual citizenship to Diaspora Liberians, anyone in Monrovia against it is not only a bloody fool, but unpatriotic. Because patriots ought to be overzealous about inclusiveness for brothers and sisters abroad with capacity to contribute the following: Education, skilled workforce, money; in short, progress and development for eliminating pervasive poverty – a serious threat to stability, and sustainable peace.

    Anyway, for starters, why can’t we Liberians in the Diaspora start serious talk about ways of getting the issue on the 2017 ballot? Of course, to do that, and eventually succeed, we need citizen – activists in Liberia to join our cause. And, toward that end, making enemies as exhibited in the few comments are outright self – defeating. This means that one among several ways of winning hearts and minds for achieving that collective Diaspora goal is to delink it from the alleged perjury of controversial NEC Chairman, Counselor Korkoya: A word to the wise is sufficient

  6. I have written and agreed with Mr. Gongloe on many litigations,he persecuted for Defendents. He is a good public defender but on the case of Dual Citizenship against Hon. Korkoya, he must consider the Case of Hon. Senator Thomas Grupee of Nimba.The Senator was accused of being an American Citizen during the Nimba County’s Election. To my surprise, Mr. Gongloe did come to the defense of his Sister, the Canadidate who made the accusation against Hon.Grupee.This case was in fact comprised by Elders of Nimba County behind closed door. I strongly regret that Mr. Gongloe may tarnish his good Characters over such a hypocrisy. He should remember that there are about 10% Liberians currently working in Government with dual citizenship including Legislators and Police Officials. Is the Liberian Government looking to investigate every position held by those link to DUAL CITIZRNSHIP? I hope, Mr. Gongloe reconsiders his decision before taking on this CASE.

  7. Mr. Moses,
    Thanks for your contributions to the dialogue. Some of our compatriots erroneously think that they are more Liberians than others.People in the diaspora can help Liberia substantially. Just look at some of our young folks; they are more educated, they have liquid assets, they have experience, and they have contacts. They can do more for Liberia than those non compos mentis. Those flunkies are just afraid because they know the truism of the adage ” when the capable is not available, the available becomes the capable.” Let us not forget what a group of kids did to our national army a few years ago. Liberian people are not timid as some of you would want us to believe. Remember, those who make peaceful revolutions impossible, make violent revolutions possible. Verbum sati sapienti!

  8. Is Korkoya an American name? My only problem with the National Elections Commission boss is that has stayed too long since head of that commission.

    I personally do think we have to change election commissioner every national/presidential election cycle. They will get too entrenched and the tendency to become corrupt, biased and political arises.

    That man is a native son of Liberia and having an American passport will not make him less a Kpelle man.

  9. How long has this accusation been going on and nobody has shown proof of Kokoyah’s US citizenship? Can any of the accusers testify under the same oath that they do not know people with US citizenship in the Liberian Government? Most of us have had those rash feelings of rage or anger. Some of the reasons that create those feelings are just irrational. People should have evidence/proofs before accusing people of having done something. Cllr Kokoyah say he is not a US citizen and you can’t make him to be because you have no proof whatsoever. Some people get stress relief by accusing others,but I think that is not right all of the time. Without proof of your accusation, you are basically making a hopeless case out of thin air. We don’t want to continuously hear accusation if it don’t lead to a clear cut conclusion.Just because you “think” something is “that” dosen’t mean it really is. We will not allow a handful of disgruntled Liberians to disrupt the upcoming 2017 elections.

  10. For a post-conflict country, Liberia, with high illiteracy and abject poverty, many highly educated Liberian citizens took up arms, not pen and paper and fought a brutal civil war, damaging billions of dollars worth of properties, killing countless innocent citizens and foreigners for no justifiable reasons. Today as we enjoy peace, shouldn’t we also participate in the rule of law? “Empty drums always make noise!” Sound citizens always make a difference! Good lawyers always make great legal arguments! Grumble Jack never quits whining. Look! The days for empty drums are over! Whether anyone agrees or disagrees with Clr. Korkoyah, or Clr. Gongloe or Clr Supuwood or President Sirleaf or the Pope is irrelevant in this case because the demonstrators have a right to demonstrate. Clr Korkoyah has a right to do his job. The attorneys have a right to sue and be sued. The Senators have a duty to vote and confirm or not confirm candidates who appear before them. Shouldn’t the rights of citizens to assemble peacefully be upheld? Shouldn’t citizens petition the government and even sue government officials with whom they rightly or wrongly disagree with in the court of law? Hey, maybe Clr Gongloe and Clr Supuwood are violating the law-won’t it be nice if someone who disagrees with them just sue them also for attempting to sue Clr Korkoyah? The sky is not about to fall. Cases can be heard or thrown out of court by judges. That’s why we have judges. Some people who sue don’t have standing in court. These peaceful actions need to celebrated, not berated. Go ahead, Clr. Supowood and Clr Gongloe sue. And Clr. Korkoyah do your job! Demonstrators, go ahead. Together you are making Liberia a great country!

  11. Thank you folks. Good discussions. This shows that our new found democracy is maturing and growing stronger. I love this forum. My only problem is some participants are becoming emotional and using profanities. Let us not go that route. Your know that a “lie is a lie”, Mr. Korkoya perjured himself and he challenged the republic to take him to court. What was he thinking? Clrs. supuwood and Gongle are true Liberians, they are just letting Mr. Korkoya know that he or anybody else cannot dare the Republic of Liberia no more. Let the democracy flourish and let us hold each other accountable for our actions.

  12. Deal with THE ISSUE OR ISSUES OR THE LEGAL CONTROVERSY!

    The issue is is it right for The Constitution to be disrespected? This PUBLIC -SPIRITED move by Miatta Fahnbulleh, Dr. Tipoteh, Cllr. Gongloe, Cllr. Supuwood, The NDC, and those other activists, is precisely what is meant by PATRIOTISM! Nothing more! Nothing less!

  13. The law is the law and let’s respect it as such. If the law says that the position should be occupied only by a Liberian citizen, and Korkoyah has US citizenship, then we have a problem and it means he owes no loyalty to Liberia. If I were Cllr. Korkoyah and I know I have a US citizenship, I’d honorably resign instead of getting dragged down. We all know that people take foreign citizenship for different reasons and that’s okay. What if it was established that Korkoyah was a naturalized Nigerian? There are other jobs in the government that he can have other than being election commission chair. And one last thing, I think this is a public forum and we all have a responsibility to be civil here. You can disagree with someone in a friendly and polite manner instead of using profanity. We expect every one posting a comment here to do so in a civil manner.

  14. By the way, despite my statement “we need citizen – activists in Liberia to join our cause”, I’m one of many Liberian green card holders who eagerly chose to embrace the push for dual citizenship. Because it would’ve been “unpatriotic” to remain neutral, trivialize, or resist such a win – win proposition for the very reasons briefly mentioned in my comment.

  15. The Power of citizen activists TO PROTECT our Constitutional Law and to even MAKE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW is provided by the very Constitution! But such moves should be geared towards such as trashing infidels to the Constitution (eg. Jerome Korkoya etc.), and constitutional advocacy towards treasured bonds of national Unity, and equality, and not advocacies in contravention to the letter and spirit of the noble Preamble of our SACRED CONSTITUTION!

  16. Dual citizenship is something that could benefit Liberia. But let’s not make the case using Ghana, Nigeria etc. as examples. Reason being, we Liberians do things differently from the rest of the world. Ghanaians are patriotic and so every day, they strive to develop and make their country better. But most of the time, we Liberians would rather engage in vices that carry our country backwards. We have seen government officials, for example, with dual citizenship embezzling our development money and sending it overseas. Most often, when people have dual citizenship, their most loyalty lie with the country from which they can get more economic benefits. In that case, consider a person with both Liberian and American citizenship, for example. I’m not against dual citizenship, matter of fact, there’re Liberians with foreign citizenship out there who have and are still contributing positively to Liberia’s development. I think this issue should be held with caution and there should be restrictions on which offices people with dual citizenship can hold or run for.

  17. You know, when you are lacking knowledge you will always protect bad ideas, that is the case with many Liberians who are in support to not respect the Liberia Constitution. We are discussing the rule of laws not individual get that clear you confused Liberians…..respect the Lwas of Liberia simple!

  18. People become sentimental and fail to discuss issues with facts to buttress their view of argument.
    The issue is a group of Liberians under the banner of Citizens for the Protection of the Constitution of Liberia have decided to protest and sue an alleged US citizen presiding over Liberians” elections.
    So, the question is, Is the chairman of the Liberia’s Elections Commission a US Citizen?
    Newspapers, internet information, periodicals have revealed that current chairman of the elections’ Commission in Libseria is a US Citizen and that he voted in US elections. These pieces of information shift the burden on the chairman of Liberia’ s NEC to provide every piece of evidence thereto his denial of not being a US citizen.
    Since public opinion is not a tribunal to obligate the NEC’s chair to prove his case, his accusers have decided a forum, the court in their attempt to dispose the matter. Hence, every Liberian should see this case as a defining moment of citizenship.
    The issue abide, May likely be between the chairman of the elections Commission and his accusers. Leaving this issue to question matters perceived to have been similar in nature, like a poster who said a senator from Nimba or George Weah is a US citizen. Such argument can not be in a brief. Meaning, it can not be a factor for a good argument.

    I have no doubt that there might have been or there is a US citizen other than the NEC’S chair who may have serve or is serving in the Liberian government. Does that vacate the issue raised, no!
    Assuming this issue is legitimate against the Chairman of the NEC, the honorable thing to do is to resign. It might be complicated for him if information is really against him. Because, returning to the US, where their laws are executed with no respect to person, perjury maybe a crime. But, assuming this is true, he needs legal minds and not frivolous advice that maybe more detrimental.
    His case May likely be a precedent that spark more fire for those who are also perceived to be in similar situation and a warning for those whobe officials after elections.
    There are legal processes of denouncing citizenship, acquiring one and revoking same. Assuming this has merit, and he didn’t do for himself what was proper and legal he is likely to suffer the lashes.
    In that light, why is Gongle and Mistta being condemned? Gongle position is to see a fair trial of the matter and I am sure, Miattta’s effort is likely to protect the Constitution of Liberia by allowing the court to decide the issue. This could be won by either the NEC’s chairman or his opponent with the strongest evidence.

  19. The argument that Korkoya should resign on constitutional ground because he is a US Citizenship has a double standard interpretation especially by those raising the allegation. It is therefore is weak and absurd because it seeks to also alienate natural born Liberians who are in the diaspora, and want to come home, but cannot come due to the lack of the implementation of the TRC and a pseudo constitutional government.

    The fact is, Liberia has been in a constitutional crisis since the importation of the war. This is a violation of Article 76 of the constitution, which states that anymore who collaborates and/or levied war against Liberia shall be charged with Treason. The framers of war that killed many people and forced citizens into the diaspora are now the sole beneficiaries of political power
    and none of these so-called lawyers is attempting to challenge the government on constitutional ground. In fact, some of the lawyers who are now litigating Korkoya, stood by Madam Sirleaf who unconstitutionally called for the destruction of Liberia and lied under oath. Members of ACDL, NPFL, MODEL, INPFL,ULIMO ect contravened the constitution, killed our people and destroy our land and forced most Liberians into exile. Without solving this critical problem through restorative or retributive justice, and encouraging victims to come home and forget the past, some idiots, completely naive and insensitive to the plight of group of citizens, are feeble-mindedly making the claim to exclude Liberians from the diaspora from the political process because they naturalized in other countries during the war.

    Let the perpetrators of war crimes be brought to justice, war victims get respiration and an inclusive government that will set the record straight.

  20. Simple thing, but the emotionally charged – especially, those who intentionally denounced Liberian citizenships under oath in the U.S. and countries, despite their so-called exposures, by their postings and discussions of issues such as dual citizenship and how persons like Mr. Korkoya, Hellen Cochran, and Madea Parker, for example, have done and are doing things to damage the issues of corruption and dual citizenship, they do not talk with sense. Dual citizenship is not and will never be above the Laws of Liberia! No one is denying them of their birth citizenship, they did when they voluntarily stood up in immigration courts and denounced their Liberian-citizenships. You can’t eat your cake and have it at the same time. We cannot force the issue of dual citizenship down the throat of Liberia especially when the U.S. does not recognize it. It is easier and best if all former Liberians who are now US citizens can organize themselves and take on projects in Liberia, since before the US knew them, Liberia breast-fed them, clothed them, fed them and took care of them before they saw-fit to abandoned and put slap in her face, nobody will stop them.

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