LIBERIA: Lofa County Lawmaker, Francis Nyumalin Falls Into Trouble With National Security Agency

Lofa County District Number One Representative, Francis Sakila Nyumalin Sr., has been invited by the National Security Agency (NSA) for reportedly making threatening statement against the state.

Speaking in an interview on the OK FM on Monday, Rep. Nyumalin said there are sinister motives being orchestrated by the Executive Branch of government within the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the Judiciary to ensure that Mr. Samukai does not take seat as Senator of Lofa County.

“There are plans to determine that the Lofa County seat cannot be occupied by Brownie Samukai – meaning that the decision of the Lofa people will be nullified,” he said.

He added, “Let me say this with no regrets, I owe apology to nobody that an attempt to determine the Lofa County seat should be declared vacant, all other seats from the presidency, vice presidency, to all other elected seats would be declared vacant.”

Rep. Nyumalin’s statement is apparently not being taken lightly by the nation’s security agencies, especially in the wake of two recent arson attacks on the home of Justice Joseph Nagbe of the Supreme Court and on the headquarters of the National Elections Commission.

The arson attack on the NEC occurred the night hours of March 15 leading to the complete burning of pickup truck and the partial burning of the garage. The devastation has been valued at US$45,000.

The Liberian Senate on Wednesday condemned the attacks, saying that it is an attack on the nation’s democracy.

The Senate described the attacks as barbaric, evil, undemocratic, cowardly and unpatriotic. The Senate further stated that the attacks are an attempt to intimidate the NEC and the Judiciary to fairly dispose of cases originating and/or associated with the December 8, 2020 Senatorial elections.

Speaking to journalists immediately after it was announced that he would be invited by the NSA on Wednesday, Rep. Nyumalin said he is consulting his lawyers to determine whether he should honor the invitation or not.

In his OK FM interview, he said “any attempt to declare the Lofa County seat would be the beginning of a negotiation for an interim government”.

Rep. Nyumalin has be adamant on his belief that there are maneuverings from the Office of the President, the Minister of State which has now, according to him, brought the credibility of the Judiciary to questioning.

The Supreme Court on February 8 affirmed the verdict of the lower court convicting Lofa County Senator-elect, Brownie Samukai, and others to two years imprisonment or the restitution of US$1.4 million.

Mr. Samukai, Liberia’s longest serving Defense Minister along with Joseph F. Johnson, former Deputy Minister for Administration and J. Nyumah Dorkor, former Comptroller were all found guilty in March 2020 but took an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Criminal Court ‘C’ Judge Yamie Gbeisay sentenced Samukai and his deputy to two years imprisonment but with a condition to restitute US$1.3 million over a one-year period.

A summary of the prosecution argument is that defendant Samukai and his co-defendants had no authority to use the AFL pension funds; that in fact said funds were private funds although they charged Samukai for using public funds; and that the defendants issued checks in their own names for personal benefits.

The Solicitor General and the Minister of Justice have both written the NEC instructing the independent electoral body to not to certificate Samukai on the basis of his conviction.

On March 8, the Supreme Court halted his certification by the National Election Commission (NEC).

The nation’s highest court’s decision against Samukai, of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), was trigged by a Writ of Prohibition filed March 2,2021, by O’Neil Passewe, chair of the Movement for Progressive Change.

Passewe asked the court to halt the certification of Samukai because he has been convicted by the Supreme Court for the crime of money laundering.

Samukai 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.

Samukai has experienced mixed rulings with the Supreme Court since he won the senatorial seat in Lofa.

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.

Coming in defense of Samukai, Rep. Nyumalin said the people of Lofa are convinced beyond all reasonable doubts that Samuakai is not a criminal but they are prepared to honor the conviction of the Court.

“We are convinced beyond all doubts that our son is not a criminal so on the basis of that we will help him pay the money.”

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