LIBERIA: Elections Commission Upholds Sherman, Saytumah Senatorial Wins

The Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC) has reaffirmed the Election of Cllr. Varney G. Sherman and Morris Saytumah as Senators of Grand Cape Mount and Bomi Counties respectively during the December 20, 2014 Special Senatorial Election.

The Board took the decision in a ruling handed down Friday at the Commission’s headquarters in Monrovia.

The ruling in the Grand Cape Mount County case was rendered from an appeal case filed before the NEC Board of Commissioners by Senatorial Candidate, Dr. Foday Kromah, who complained of  “Electoral Irregularities and Fraud” in the county during the December 20 polls.

On December 29, 2014, Dr. Foday Kromah, candidate of the Congress for Democratic Change, filed a two-page protest letter to the Elections Magistrate of Grand Cape Mount County in which he alleged irregularities and fraud in the conduct of the election.

On the basis of this complaint, Dr. Kromah recommended that the NEC conduct a recount of the ballots.

After hearing the case, the Elections Magistrate of Grand Cape Mount County ruled that Dr. Kromah did not prove the allegations contained in his protest and therefore the case was dismissed.

Dr. Kromah then announced an appeal before the Board of Commissioners of the NEC.

The ruling read by Chairman Jerome G. Korkoya stated that the Board noted that a recount of the ballots from the election in Grand Cape Mount County is not a remedy that could prove any of the allegations stated in the Appellant’s complaint of December 29, 2014.

Chairman Korkoya therefore stated that a recount of the ballots would amount to an exercise in futility.

In its ruling in the Bomi County case filed by the National Patriotic Party (NPP) against the NEC and Morris Saytumah, the Board said the appellant (NPP) failed to take an appeal from the Hearing Officer’s decision concerning a recount on December 24, 2014.

The Board also ruled that in the instant case, where counsel for NPP requested continuance on account of engagement at the Supreme Court, the Counsel was required to attach evidence in support.

The Board’s Ruling, which was read by Co-Chairman Sarah Toe, said the NPP request for continuance was unsupported by law and that the documents attached to the Counsel’s request actually required the respondents and not the petitioner (NPP), to file their returns before the Supreme Court on or before January 9, 2015.

 “Accordingly, we agree with the Hearing Officer for denying same because the NPP Counsel was not due to physically appear before the Supreme Court as claimed,” the ruling noted.

The Commission indicated that the issues of irregularities and fraud raised in the NPP’s previous complaint of December 22, 2014 were the same issues raised in the NPP complaints of December 31, 2014.

That the allegations of irregularities led to the NEC conducting a recount on December 24, 2014 of the votes cast in Tulaymu; and that the issue of fraud was referred to the police for investigation.

“Therefore, we agree with the Hearing Officer that the issues in the NPP’s December 31, 2014 complaint, having already been heard and finally determined based on the NPP December 22, 2014 complaint, same can only be review by a higher tribunal, not the hearing officer.

“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, the final ruling of the hearing officer of January 9, 2015, is hereby confirmed, appellant’s Appeal is denied and dismissed,” the Ruling concluded.
LINA

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