Sen. Teahjay concedes, as Nwabudike fumbles over birth records
“Mr. witness, I think the Committee has heard enough, right now it is clear that there are issues that need to be further explained… and at this point, we will end the confirmation hearing; and Sergeant-at-arms, you may proceed to discharge the witness.”
That was how the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Autonomous Agencies and Commissions, Senator J. Milton Teahjay, abruptly ended the confirmation proceedings yesterday for the Chairman-designate of the National Elections Commission, Cllr. Ndubusi Nwabudike.
Senator Teahjay’s apparent abrupt decision to unprecedentedly end the confirmation hearing, came after the nominee admitted that he did not have the original copy of his naturalization document besides the faded photocopy that he retrieved from his files at the Supreme Court.
As if that was not enough bewilderment for the jam-packed hearing, Cllr. Nwabudike admitted to a finding by Senator Jonathan Kaipay that the Liberian passport he carries states his year of birth as 1963, while his academic records at the University of Liberia says he was born on October 2, 1965.
The nominee, however, tried to clarify that “what is written on the record at UL, I don’t have control over that, but I have my passport.”
Perhaps the straw that might have broken the camel’s back came when River Gee Senator Conmany B. Wesseh launched a historic lecture, recalling Liberia’s assistance to other Africans who later became leaders of their country, or held other prominent positions; he mentioned the late South Africa President Nelson Mandela, Namibia President Sam Nujoma who attended the University of Liberia and Nigerian President Namdi Azikwe and others.
“I stand to try to erase an impression that is being given in some quarters that this effort of questioning the nominee is a xenophobic attempt to deny somebody who is of African origin participating in our democratic process; the issue before us is whether or not the person has the credibility, beginning with the truth of his nationality,” Senator Wesseh declared before going into his historic lecture.
The Senator continued by informing the nominee that, “I just want our colleague and the world to know that this effort is not xenophobic. Liberians have been welcoming other nationals of negro descent; President Edward James Roye was of Igbo descent, but he was a freed [man of color] in the United States and came here, and through a DNA test, he was discovered to be an Igbo, just like our brother here.”
The Senator concluded by saying that the question was about a gentleman who claims to be a Liberian, “who, when he was fourteen years old he said he started the process of becoming a Liberian, and at seventeen, he took on Liberian citizenship, and our law does not provide for that to happen. This man is not telling us the truth and has deceived the President of our country, and we need to protect the President. He has deceived the Judiciary by allowing the Supreme Court to admit him as a lawyer, deceived our academic institutions, the University of Liberia giving him a degree when he went there as a Liberian student when he was not a Liberian.”
Senator Wesseh furthered that Cllr. Nwabudike deceived the Legislature, especially the Senate, which the same committee confirmed him as chairman of the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission, “and served illegally without being confirmed at the Governance Commission for almost a year; and deceived the Liberia National Bar Association. So with all of these deceptions, I think the honorable thing that my good friend can do, is to withdraw himself, save the country embarrassment, his family from embarrassment and save our President from embarrassment.”
A member of the Bar Association last night told the Daily Observer that Cllr Nwanbudike has been forwarded to that Association’s ethics committee for investigation.
The political leader of the Liberty Party, Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, has called for the prosecution of the NEC Chairman-designate for forgery and perjury after she claimed that he lied under oath before the Senate.
The Liberty Party leadership also yesterday rejected the confirmation recommendation by the Teahjay committee for another one of the NEC commissioner nominees, Floyd Sayor.
In a related development, it has been reported by an insider that the Senate yesterday voted for four of the five commissioners nominated, while a motion for reconsideration was filed against Floyd Sayor.
Those reportedly confirmed in an executive session include NEC Co-chair Davidetta Browne Lansanah, Josephine Kou Gaye, Cllr Ernestine Morgan-Awar, and Barsee Leo Kpangbai.