As President Weah Reassures Lofa County Of his Love, Will This Love Relax Charges Against Brownie Samukai?
In continuation of his nationwide tour which is climaxing in Lofe County with an impressive rousing welcome from the people of Lofa County, reassuring them that he is a son of Lofa County, adding, “I am your brother. I am your leader. Let’s work together for the benefit of Lofa and Liberia at large,” will this assurance by the Liberian leader, President George Manneh Weah relax charges against Brownie Samukai by the Supreme Court of Liberia.
The Supreme Court of Liberia has halted the certification of the Former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai by the National Elections Commission (NEC) after a writ of prohibition was filed early this year by the Chairman of the opposition Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), O’Neil Passewe, asking the Court to halt the certification of Samukai because he has been convicted by the Supreme Court for the crime of money laundering.
Some Liberians who spoke to the GNN in an exclusive interview urged the Liberian leader to use his executive power to prevail on the Supreme Court of Liberia to allow the former Defense Minister to be certificated by the NEC and allow him to be seated as one of those who were elected to the Liberian Senate.
“As the Liberian leader is currently in the County, he should use his connection to prevail of the entire bench to allow Samukai take his seat at the Senate, and be compel to pay back the money he allegedly took intended for the use of the ex-soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL)
Samukai during the last senatorial elections received the most votes in the December 8, 2020 Senatorial election. Of the 11 candidates who vied for the Lofa County senatorial seat, Samukai received 20, 431 votes, followed by Independent candidate Cllr. Joseph Jallah with 13,968 votes.
On February 24, 2021, the Supreme Court of Liberia ruled in Samukai’s favor in the electoral dispute case filed by three of his rivals, claiming irregularities and fraud in Lofa County District No. 4.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Samukai and mandated to the NEC to proceed with the matter.
On February 8, 2021, the Supreme Court upheld a criminal court’s verdict in the corruption case involving Samukai and a former deputy minister and the former Comptroller at the Ministry of Defense.
On March 24, 2020, the Criminal Court “C’’ found Samukai, Joseph F. Johnson and former Deputy Minister for Administration and J. Nyumah Dorkor, former Comptroller of the Ministry of Defense guilty of misappropriating US$1.3 million from the Armed Forces compulsory contributing fund that was deposited at Ecobank Liberia.
The Supreme Court ruled that the sentence will be suspended if the defendants shall restitute the full amount of USD 1,147,456.35 or 50% thereof within the period of six months and plan with the court to pay the remaining portion in one year.
Failure to pay will result in the defendants’ incarceration in the common jail and there in until the full amount is paid or liquidated at the rate of 25 USD per month as provided by law, the Supreme Court ruled.
“We are calling on the President to use his office not to overturn the ruling of the Court, but to appeal to that body to allow his brother, since he declared that he is a son of Lofa County to allow him that freedom by taking his seat at the Senate, his visit to Lofa County must make history by given Mr. Samukai that freedom,” another citizen in a chat with the GNN added.
The Liberian Chief Executive, Dr. George Manneh Weah, has calmed nerves and shown leadership perhaps to the disappointment of naysayers who were insinuating bad blood between him and the people of Lofa County.
Continuing his nationwide tour in the county, and speaking at a jam-packed town hall meeting in the capital Voinjama on Friday and Saturday, June 4-5, the President said: “There are some misguided voices that say that I am angry with Lofa county for the way they voted during the 2017 elections. The fact is the chunk of votes Lofa gave me was enough, and it contributed to my victory. Let me tell you today, Lofans, I thank you for your votes. You are a lovely and peaceful people. I am a son of Lofa; I am your brother. I am your leader. Let’s work together for the benefit of Lofa and Liberia at large.”
The President said Lofa’s relatively unimpressive vote in 2017 for him was expected since a prominent citizen of the county who was then a sitting vice president during the elections was in the race.
“You had your father who also was a sitting vice president contesting. Anyone can understand that. But right now, I am the President. And I am your son and brother. I love Lofa because you are a resilient people. We have something in common—Liberia. So, we must work together to improve Lofa County and Liberia.
In a show of love for his people, the President stepped out of his convoy, and along with residents of Voinjama who had congregated at the entrance of the town, trekked through the throngs of citizens to the William V.S. Tubman County Hall for citizens’ interaction engagement.
The President, in remarks, thanked citizens of Voinjama for the warm reception accorded him.
President Weah told Lofans that their county is fully captured in the government’s national development agenda including the upgrading of community roads and the pavement of its major highway, which is the heartbeat of all Lofans.
To achieve holistic development in Lofa, President Weah called for the cooperation of the county’s Legislative Caucus, saying that they, as lawmakers, have enormous powers to make things work developmentally.
The Liberian Leader said the Caucus of Lofa would have to do their side of the bargain by making sure that budgets for developments are passed and enacted upon.
As President, he told jubilating Lofans, that it was time that he played his part to prove other detractors wrong, referring to the people of Lofa as “my brothers and sisters.”
The President acknowledged challenges along the national drive for transformation, but noted that they are surmountable and that development of Lofa, like other counties of Liberia, is achievable.
Dr. Weah again stressed the need to change the paradigm in the administration and operationalization of the county development fund.
Instead of only using the money on building town halls, President Weah emphasized that such money should go towards social service infrastructure and programs, such as building of roads and equipping schools and hospitals.
In a statement read by a female student, the citizens of Lofa thanked the President for the development strides he is making.
They equally appealed to him to give consideration to many development projects including the completion of the abandoned city hall started by former President William R. Tolbert.