By Randall George, GNN Legislative Reporter|
The NEC Board of Commissioners has reaffirmed the ruling of its Hearing Officer, declaring Mr. Simeon B. Taylor of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) winner of the December 8, 2020, Special Senatorial Election conducted in Grand Cape Mount County.
The Board, through its Chairperson, Madam Davidetta Browne Lansanah following the ruling, mandated the Certification Committee, with immediate effect, to go further with all necessary formalities leading to the certification of Simeon Taylor as Senator-Elect of Grand Cape Mount County.
After the ruling by NEC’s Board Of Commissioners, the legal team of Taylor’s closest rival Victor Watson, of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change(CDC), led by Cllr. Sheik Salibu Sesay took exception to the ruling and announced an appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberia.
In the board of commissioners ruling read by Commissioner Cllr. Ernestine Morgan Awar, the Administrative Court said, complainant Victor Watson failed to provide evidence that the allegations of double registration and voting, pre-marked ballots, stopping of his party agents by mobs of Simeon Taylor from entering voting centers, and the forging of signatures of his party agents on the record of the count.
Also, the board of commissioners through Commissioner Morgan Awar said, Hearing Officer Atty. Fumba Swaray did not err to dismiss and deny the action of the appeal of fraud and irregularity filed by the CDC candidate, whose witnesses failed to identify any record of the count that signatures of their party agents were forged or did any witness testify to the issue of pre-marked ballots as alleged during the hearing.
Regarding allegations that Simeon Taylor did double registration and voted in Lofa Bridge and Tawh Polling places, and that relatives of Mr. Taylor listed in the Final Registration Roll, FRR were the same that were listed in the FRR in Tawh, Cllr. Morgan Awar said the Board of Commissioners agrees with the Hearing Officer that the plaintiff failed to produce sufficient evidence to overturn the result in the Grand Cape Mount Election.
The case grew out of the action of an appeal, electoral fraud, and irregularity filed by Watson, candidate of CDC, as Complainant versus the National Elections Commission, first respondent, and Mr. Simeon B. Taylor of the CPP as the second respondent.
All seven members of the Board of Commissioners heard the Grand Cape Mount County appeal case, except the Co-Chairperson of NEC, Cllr. P. Teplah Reeves did not sign the ruling.
In a related development, citizens of Lofa County have threatened a nationwide protest action against the National Elections Commission (NEC) for its alleged failure to certificate Senator-elect Brownie Samukai whose certification as winner of the December 8 senatorial election in the county was suspended for his involvement in the alleged misapplication of monies intended for members of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) when he served as Minister of National Defense.
According to the citizens, a seven day ultimatum has been given the NEC to certificate their Senator-elect, or else a brutal protest will take place following the failure of the Commission to certificate their Senator.