The Representative of Bomi County Distrist # 1, Rep S. Gayah Karmo has been disappointed after complaint filed against Montserrado County District # 6 Rep Edwin Melvin Snowe for contesting Bomi County District #1 has been squashed by the National Elections Commission (NEC) Bomi County Magistrate Washington Farmah.
Karmo recently filed a complaint questioning Snowe’s eligibility to run for the Bomi legislative seat in the upcoming elections in October, while a sitting representative of a district in a different county (Montserrado).
Snowe owes property in the hotly contested district, Senjeh, where he is cultivating an oil palm farm.
Meanwhile, Karmo has filed a motion rejecting the Bomi County NEC Magistrate’s ruling. The case may go to the Supreme Court.
Magistrate Washington Farmah in his ruling dismissed a complaint filed by Representative Karmo against Representative Snowe, but Karmo has taken an appeal and filed a bill of exception.
A bill of exception is a legal pleading filed to complain about appeal about a matter that would not otherwise appear on the record.
It is a statement of objection to the decision, or instructions of a judge in the trial of a dispute.
The Commission in its ruling said, after reviewing the submissions made by the parties and listening to the arguments, it observed that the law relied upon by the petitioner (Karmo) does not apply to the respondent (Snowe) under the circumstances of the case.
“The respondent can’t be barred from registering to vote outside of his district and at a location where he has established a residence.”
“Wherefore and in view of what I have narrated above, the petitioner’s petition objecting to the registration to Respondent at the Weakama Public school is hereby denied and dismissed,” NEC magistrate said.
Despite losing the case to Rep. Snowe, Rep. Karmo told reporters over the weekend in an interview over the weekend that he believes the case is far from being over as there is still a second phase to come.
Rep. Snowe said: “I knew that I wasn’t in violation of the law and I am happy that the NEC has come down with its ruling I am happy that there will be phase two, and as we go further I know that the hidden hands will come out but we will be prepared also.”
He claimed that Karmo wasn’t acting alone and that the case was only intended to confuse people of Bomi County that he is not legible to contest in the county.
“As I go to register the other hands will now come to challenge my domicile and at that time my lawyers will also come to prove that I am domicile in Senjeh,” Snowe added.
When asked what’s next for him? Karmo in an angry mood said; “No, no, no sub-judiciary I don’t talk I took appeal as he snubbed our microphone.”
In Garyah’s complaint, he claimed that it was a violation of the Fixed Threshold Act, for Snowe as a sitting representative in Montserrado County District number six to register in Bomi County.
During the hearing, the respondent’s legal counsel represented by former Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh filed a motion to dismiss the complaint contending that the ground cited in the complaint is not a ground for objection and also that the petitioner has not violated any election law and therefore the complaint must be dismissed.
Contrary to the respondent’s appeal for the motion to be denied magistrate Washington Farmah heard arguments on the motion and denied it, maintaining that in election contestation, the petitioner must be accorded a clear opportunity to prove what they allege.
Mr. Karmo represented himself during the hearing.
He presented to the Magistrate two witnesses and after their qualification provided testimonies. Kumba Karmo and Ernest Kamara took the stand and provided testimonies that they saw the photo of Snowe displayed as a registered voter in Bomi County during the voter exhibition process.
According to the NEC Magistrate, the respondent’s only witness is himself, Edwin Snowe who testified that he is a Liberian citizen above the age 18 and has the right to register and vote; and confirmed that he had registered at the Weakama Public School only and no other center as it is alleged by Karmo.