Justice Nagbe Disaffirmed Brownie Samukai’s Certification

Justice Nagbe Disaffirmed Brownie Samukai’s Certification

Justice Nagbe

The Presiding Justice in Chambers has granted the government of Liberia petition for the writ of prohibition to disallow the National Election Commission to certificate CPP Senator-elect of Lofa County.

Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe said the petition for the writ of prohibition being properly applied for and taking into consideration the controlling laws cite is hereby granted.

Justice Nagbe ordered the clerk of the court to issue the peremptory writ of prohibition, send a mandate to the first respondent, NEC, disallowing the certification of the second respondent J. Brownie Samukai, Jr., until his disability imposed on him by his conviction is removed according to law.

And is hereby ordered.

The government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice filed a writ of prohibition on March 29, 2021, to prevent Senator-Elect of Lofa County, J. Brownie Samukai Jr. from being certificated by the National Elections Commission.

The government prays that Samukai is a judicially disenfranchised citizen and a convicted felon.

However, the Former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai is having a string of challenges to have his certification ceremony as the winner of the December 8, 2020, midterm senatorial election conducted by the National Elections Commission in Lofa County that is mixed with politics and legality, the debates are everywhere in the country and on social media: what should have or what should not.

Before his participation in the senatorial election, the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice charged Samukai with the crime of corruption amounting to embezzlement. The government said Mr. Samukai misappropriated funds belonging to the Armed Force of Liberia while serving as Minister of Defense during the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led administration.

When the case finally reached the Law Courts on Capitol Hill, Monrovia, Samukai, argued that it was former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that instructed him to withdraw the money; as a result, he cannot be held guilty for a crime he did not commit. Some critics have also pondered why Madame Sirleaf, if true indeed did instruct Mr. Samukai has been left untouched during this whole process, that has seen her former defense minister under fire and indicted both in the courts of public opinion and of law.

Reports indicate the former Defense Minister, together with two others including Joseph P. Johnson, former Deputy Minister for Administration, and James Nyumah Dorkor, former Comptroller, were pronounced guilty by Criminal Court ‘C’ in 2020 and mandated to restitute the amount of US$1,147,656.35. The money in question was withdrawn from the soldiers’ Pension Savings Account.

Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay in his ruling said when Mr. Samukai was indicted proclaimed: “The defendants (appellants) are hereby sentenced to serve a term of two years each in a common jail.” The court ruled. “The sentence should be suspended provided the said appellants shall restitute the full amount of US$1,147,656.35 or fifty percent (US$573,828.175).” According to sources Samukai and his co-defendants rejected the lower court’s judgment and subsequently announced an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The fact that Mr. Samukai contested on the ticket of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), when he was indicted by the court has also drawn condemnations from many circles. The Former Defense Minister’s troubles have compounded since the ruling. Few days after the National Election Commission (NEC) declared him the winner of the highly contested December 8 Special Senatorial election in Lofa County, the Supreme in a unanimous opinion (judgment), affirmed the ruling from Criminal Court C, which declared Samukai and co-defendants guilty of illegally withdrawing money from Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) pension funds. The Supreme Court however affirmed the ruling of the lower court with some modifications.

What has left many wondering is why the Former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, after being convicted of economic sabotage, was allowed to contest December 8, 2020, Senatorial Election in Lofa County? Also, surprising was the court Court’s decision to deny an earlier petition filed against Mr. Samukai’s registration to have contested the election in the first place, by Korvah Jorgbor, seeking the Supreme Court to have barred him, or declared him ineligible for the Lofa County senatorial election due to his conviction by the lower court.

It can be recalled in March 2021, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor reading out the Bench’s opinion on the matter stated that having carefully reviewed the records heard the arguments and reasons advanced by the counsels representing the parties considered the laws cited and relied upon, it was adjudged that NEC is an autonomous regulatory body of government charged with the responsibility to conduct public elections in the Republic of Liberia. Meanwhile, the Justice Ministry and the National Elections Commission in a twist have come down hard on Mr. Samukai since the High Court ruling, Samukai it seems will not be allowed to take his privileged seat as a senator which the case hanging over his head.

Source: SNL

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About Cholo Brooks 13046 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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