NEC Plans To Certificate Samukai’s  Today Fails, As Justice Minister Calls For Halt

The certification of Brownie J. Samukai, Ex-Liberia’s Defense Minister who won the December 8, 2020 senatorial election in Lofa County has continue to drags, despite the Supreme Court of Liberia mandate to allow the National Elections Commission (NEC) to have Samukai certification to go ahead, has fallen to death ears as the Minister of Justice has asked the NEC not to do so.

Contrary to the Senate’s recent request to Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean to withdraw from the National Elections Commission Solicitor General Sayma Syrenius Cephus’s letter ordering that election body not to certificate Brownie J. Samukai, Senator-elect of Lofa County, Minister Dean has written the NEC reaffirming his support to the letter.

On Wednesday, February 17, Cllr. Cephus wrote the NEC, ordering that Samukai should not be certificated as Senator because he is a convicted criminal and has yet to satisfy the requirements under the law.

His letter to the NEC came after the Supreme Court, on February 8, upheld the Criminal Court “C” conviction of Samukai who served as former Defense Minister that under his stewardship over US$1 million of pension money belonging to members of the Armed Forces of Liberia was used contrary to the purpose for which it was intended. Samukai and his co-defendant, Joseph P. Johnson, former Deputy Defense Minister for Administration, and James Nyumah Dorkor, former comptroller of the Ministry of Defense are the convicts in this matter.

Cllr. Cephus’s action claimed the attention of the Senate, with Montserrado Senator, Darius Dillon, formally complaining to his colleagues in plenary that the Solicitor General’s action was against the law, citing that the NEC is independent of any influence from the Executive and as such, does not need any instruction from the Justice Ministry to act but the Supreme Court.

Both Cephus and his boss, Attorney General Musa Dean, appeared before the Plenary of the Senate and made their points known. Cephus relied on Section 3.23 of the New Elections Law for his action.

“We present our compliments, and consistent with Section 3.23 of the New Elections Law, herewith informs you of the attached final judgment of the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia, affirming the Judgment of Guilt against Messrs. J. Brownie Samukai, Joseph Johnson and Nyumah Dorkor, for the commission of the crimes of theft of property, misuse of public money and criminal conspiracy,” Justice Minister Dean’s letter said.

He added: “Further, may we inform you, that it is the law extant in our jurisdiction that any person convicted of a felony, committed in connection with his employment as a public servant, is disqualified from holding public office until the sentence is served and/or the satisfaction of any other penalty imposed.”

Cllr. Dean’s reliance was reposed in Penal Law, 41.CLR, title 26, section 50.12 (b) (1976) and 1986 Constitution of Liberia, Article 21 (j).

Senator-elect, Samukai declined to speak with the Daily Observer but referred us to his Lawyer only identified as Cllr. Fayiah, whose cell phone number remained off till press time.

However, River Gee County Senator, Conmany B. Wesseh, said the Coalition for Democratic Change’s (CDC) action is “deliberate and it is a targetted political action against Samukai and the people of Lofa.”

“Why is it the law they are using now was not in use ever since until now, after an election, won by a formidable opponent of the regime? I think this is unfair to our political system,” he said.

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About Cholo Brooks 14272 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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