The National Elections Commission has swiftly reacted to a purported internal email published by a local news outlet, FrontpageAfrica regarding acknowledgement of alleged scandal in the voter roll and NEC is calling on the Liberia National Police (LNP) to launch a forensic investigation.
“The Commission clarifies that the alleged email was never written nor circulated by the Chairman of the Commission, Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya and the contents therein are false and only designed to cause confusion in the country,” a NEC statement read by its Commissions Director Henry Flomo said on Monday.
The emergence of the purported email on voter roll fraud comes just few days before Liberia’s Supreme Court is due to rule in the Liberty Party, Unity Party vs NEC’s case in which the two parties have alleged massive fraud and irregularities in the October 10, 2017 presidential and legislative elections.
The alleged email: (‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ as its source while the recipient is Jerome Korkoya (email@example.com), was illegally generated and has been circulated to harm the reputation and credibility of the electoral process, Flomo said.
The FrontpageAfrica report said the alleged email was sent to NEC Chairman Korkoya on Wednesday, July 28, 2017, at 9:19 p.m., with the subject, “Unknown Database Changes”.
The paper said before it went to press it contacted NEC to get its reaction but the electoral body declined to comment but said it would address the media later.
The alleged email reads:
“Good morning, chairman, I hope all is well with you. Last night while backing up the system database and folders, I noticed that there are changes and additions being made to the parent folder of the final voter roster. The most significant changes of concern to me is the creation of new voters file with same exact name as the previous, and the addition of numbers that were not included on the listing we all signed on a few weeks ago.
“Most interestingly, the new folder being created mimics some of the same information in the initial parent folder listing. Going through the new folder, the names, ages, location, sex and location of voters have changed. Furthermore, the pictures of voters on the new listing do not match what is on the compiled final file of those that registered to vote. I am looking through this more and will provide you with additional information.”
A subsequent email, which was later alleged to have come from Cllr. Korkoya, was dated Thursday, November 9, 2017, at 9:33 a.m. and addressed to all members of the Board of Commissioners, allegedly concluding and admonishing all of its recipients not to speak to the media or anyone concerning fingerprint inaccuracy.
“I have not seen this from any of the complainants as part of their evidence and we need to make no mention of that. We will discuss this in our emergency meeting later today,” it read.
But the Director of Communications at NEC described the email as false, because the senders used, firstname.lastname@example.org, which does not exist on NEC’s server.
“For all official mails, internal and external, the NEC uses the first letter of first names and then the last names plus the domain address. Therefore, the sender is fake,” he stated.
He added that the voter roll database is strictly controlled by the NEC Data Center and not the IT section at the NEC.
“The IT section does not control infrastructure, is not able to comment on database changes as mentioned in the concocted email and the NEC uses Microsoft Outlook for all official mails, internal and external,” Flomo told Journalists.
James Dogbey, the head of NEC’s IT section also said his department has no knowledge of such email and that it has verified it as fake from an unidentified source.
NEC denied having fingerprint folders as contained in the alleged email. It said all documents are not saved in folders but in NEC’s database and not in folders.
“The fake email from Chairman Korkoya to fellow commissioners, regarding the subject, does not exist on our mail server. It is not just strange but fake and in fact, the Chairman in particular normally uses his AOL account for email purposes,” the Communication Director of NEC said.