UP Joins Korkoya’s U.S. Passport Fray?

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Nagbe (left), Chair Korkoya: “Chair Korkoya: “All those doubting my Liberian citizenship should take me to court”

Eugene Len Nagbe, chief scribe of the ruling Unity Party (UP), yesterday refuted claims by a radio station in Monrovia that the party is among those demanding the resignation of Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC).

Cllr. Korkoya is suspected of being an American citizen, a claim he is yet to deny, although he insists that he is “a Liberian”.  He has not out-rightly denied owning an American passport.

Yesterday, Truth FM 96.1 reported that the ongoing Korkoya passport saga was masterminded by the UP, a report the Information Minister has denied.

Nagbe told state radio ELBC that the call attributed to the UP for the resignation of Cllr. Korkoya is “untrue and that any such (demand) will be done officially, not by speculations as it has been reported in some quarters, because we don’t make hidden statements especially on issues that have the propensity to bring the party to public disrepute.”

Meanwhile, the NEC chair has in the wake of demands for his resignation called on those questioning his Liberian nationality to seek redress in court.

Korkoya said he is and remains “a Liberian,” adding, “Anyone holding contrary views should go to the court and present their evidence.”

Since the reports emerged of Korkoya holding passports from Liberia and the United States, thus making it, according to Liberian law, illegal for him to hold the position of NEC chair, he has continued to say he is a Liberian.

In what could have been termed as an official response on Wednesday, Joseph Nyesuah, acting director of communications at the NEC, issued a five-paragraph statement that dodged the question, and only briefly said, “Chairman Korkoya affirms he is a Liberian citizen.”

Raising more questions than answers, Nyesuah’s brief statement quoted Chairman Korkoya as saying that “The ongoing smear campaign is false, misleading, and an attempt to distract the Commission from carrying out its constitutional mandate of conducting free, fair, and transparent elections.”

Korkoya has constantly vowed to ensure that the controversial Code of Conduct, upheld by the Supreme Court, is held to the letter.  What instigates the argument about Korkoya’s alleged possession of a foreign passport is his own refusal to state emphatically that he is indeed not a U.S. citizen.

Nyesuah’s release quoted Chairman Korkoya, assuring the Liberian public that the NEC is committed to ensuring that electoral democracy under his watch is protected.

Perhaps, evading the ‘real’ issue may seem the easiest route to take, but many Liberians interviewed for this story in recent days indicated that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf should ensure that “every” Liberian is treated fairly under the laws of the land.

“Korkoya must not tell us he will ensure that the Code of Conduct is upheld when he has questions about his loyalty to the nation,” a female student of the University of Liberia, majoring in economics, said.

“Korkoya cannot throw dust into our eyes,” another student said. “If others may not be able to contest the elections because of the controversial Code of Conduct, then of course, those who hold two passports should also not be allowed to take charge of the process.”

Nyesuah’s release quoted Cllr. Korkoya calling on the public to support the NEC in achieving its mandate of delivering credible elections in October.

“Finally, the Commission assures the people of Liberia and all stakeholders and partners of its commitment to scrupulously uphold the Constitution, elections and other statutory laws, including the Code of Conduct,” the NEC release said.

It may be recalled that several dailies including the Daily Observer last week carried stories revealing dates of issuance and expiration of Cllr. Korkoya’s alleged American and Liberian passports which, if confirmed, violates the Liberian Constitution.

Human rights lawyer Tiawan Gongloe in an interview with the Voice of America (VOA) Daybreak Africa Program yesterday quoted Section 2.3 of the Elections Laws of Liberia which says “Every Commissioner shall be a Liberian citizen…” and added that if it is established that Cllr. Korkoya holds two passports, “then of course he may have committed perjury for lying during his confirmation hearing at the Legislature.”

Korkoya’s challenge was contained in an ELBC interview yesterday via mobile phone.

“I cannot comment on stories emerging from social media…I am so vexed with some of the comments coming from lawyers. I am not obligated to anyone because I am a Liberian,” he insisted.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. How can the Commission (NEC) assure the Liberian people of credible elections when, in fact, the
    credibility of its Chairman is in question? Either the Unity Party or the NEC are not interested in
    finding the truth of the matter. Then, how can the country go forward in good faith, especially the
    NEC?

  2. The chairman of the Election Commission emphatically said that those who claimed that he is a United States citizen should go to court to prove their case. In one accusation, it was mentioned by Dr. Tipoteh that Cllr Kokoyah obtained his citizenship on December 12, 2007 in the city of Willingboro, New Jersey. To prove Dr. Tipoteh is wrong, there is no city in New Jersey called Willingboro.I know a Township of Willingboro in Burlington County, New Jersey. Secondly, there is no immigration office in the Township of Willingboro in New Jersey, because I have been around there for 31 years now, I challenge anyone to prove me wrong. Nobody should conclude on hear say story.

    • Township or city, I actually live in Willingboro, NJ 08046, so the hairsplitting doesn’t affect the issue whether Counselor Korkoya is a US citizen, or not.

    • This is why I against the Liberian ways analyzing things. Dr.Tipoteh. said this Kokoya obtained citizenship in the town ship of Willingboro, he’s did not say at the immigration office in Willingboro , this township falls under the city of Trenton new jersey and the immigration office is located within the city of Trenton, Mr.Kokoya have lived in Willingboro and there he became citizen of the US. I have lived in new Jersey since 2004 since I entered the US, I knew Willingboro my friend Aaron Harmon lived there. Why someone stupid wants to denied the existence of Willingboro in the US?

  3. EJS nominated Counselor Korkoya, and appointed him to the position after his confirmation by the Senate, so she can’t afford to be a member of the audience while her show has gone prime time. Put another way, the public would like an answer to the question, what is EJS doing about the uproar over the citizenship of an appointee expected to conduct the premier post – war presidential elections? For the fact of the matter is that should the accusation against him proven to be true, it means one of two things that don’t enhance her already buffeted credibility: She was either lied to, or knew he had an American passport, and didn’t care.

    But, perhaps, our Iron Lady doesn’t give a hoot about the accusation. After all, what is one more crisis to the cascading crises so emblematic of her almost dozen years of unaccountable authoritarianism.

  4. Liberians with US citizenship like big show, as soon as they get their US passport the first place they like to travel is Liberia. For starters, just check the Liberian embassy archives to see if he ever apply for Liberia visa before his appointment to head the NEC. We do have freedom of information act, don’t we?

  5. Korkoya is innocent until proven guilty. Go to Court, file your suit against Korkoya and show the evidence to the Judge and Jury. The burden of proof rests with the accuser old man Tipoteh who is known confusionist.

    • This is why we are not developing, because someone wants to know where a pelleh man is from. Our monies is good for those that live in Liberia, but when it come to job or helping the country develop than every body wants to know what kind of paper someone is carrying. People come to this hard country to learn and go back home to help, instead of welcoming people back home, we have people blocking them. Why? Most people tried by themselves by getting green card and citizenship to get help with schools and job, so why is it so hard for most Liberians to know or understand what is happening. Every Liberian that I know never want to desert Liberia, but it is because the hard time people go through when you come into this country(USA) without green card or citizenship it is hell for you to get by. The Chairman of the Election commission does not count votes in Nimba, Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, Cape Mount, or Loffa and he alone does not announce the counted votes, you have representatives from every party, so why people think that this man will change a vote that was counted and sign by each representatives from each of these counties. A Liberian man will prefer to have the Carter center counting votes than a Liberian man in charge of counting the votes. I hope Mr. Cllr. Korkoya will not resign. you got people in that country just want to stair the pot and make noise.Dr. Tipoteh was the person who told Dole government that the country had enough money for the army to raised their salaries, and what it lead us to today. so I for one who will not believe anything that come from his mouth, he is looking for notice.

  6. Korkoya only needs to continue to maintain his Liberian citizenship. He need not deny nor confirm any other citizenship he may or may not hold. That is for his accusers to establish beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, and not in the media. Because they refuse to go to court, I’m afraid all of their comments are being viewed as propaganda and must be judged as such.

  7. There is no town in NJ name, Willingboro. The name is actually ‘Yapawolo’ not too far from Trenton NJ. People get your fact right!

  8. Our people say, “When you pull rope, the rope will pull the bush”. What about the Senator from Nimba County who is a US citizen, what about all the numerous GOL officials who are US citizens? What about the some of the candidates who it is alleged are US Citizens. It doesn’t make it right if the Chairman is, but lets not pick on one person. When the papers published George Weah’s US passport, no body question it. Why has the CDC kept mute on this whole saga. They know what’s up.

    So those who are innocently discussing this issue, shutup. if you know the facts, go to court. The first Court case will effectively end the elections. Because more than half of the high profile candidates will be eliminated.

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