Lofa Supt Rejects Petition From Samukai Supporters -Based on ‘Procedural Error’

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Lofa County Superintendent William Kamba has rejected a petition to President George Manneh Weah through his office craving the President to intervene in the matter preventing Lofa County Senator-elect Brownie J. Samukai from being seated at the Senate since his election last December.  The superintendent reportedly rejected the petition based on procedural error on the part of the Friends of Samukai.

The Lofa County Chief Executive Officer contended that the group- Friends of Samukai – should not have Carbon Copied him a copy of a letter intended for his boss, President Weah, adding that it is not ethical that a ‘CC’ Copy of a letter intended for a boss is tendered to a subordinate.

Supt. Kamba is quoted by our Lofa County Correspondent that such would constitute an act of insubordination on his part if he should accept a copy of the petition addressed to President Weah or even the Internal Affairs Minister.

According to the report, the Lofa County Superintendent informed the group that besides the insubordination factor, receiving such a petition at the time a planned visit by the President to Lofa would undermine the visit of the President to the county.

Our correspondent in Voinjama said Supt. Kamba however allowed the Friends of Samukai and supporters of the Senator-elect to read their petition before making his position known to them.

The Friends of Samukai and supporters on Monday, May 2, 2021 petitioned the President of Liberia Dr. George Weah to intervene so that Mr. Samukai would take his seat at the Senate

The Petition is the last of the dilemma surrounding the political future of Senator-elect Brownie Jeffrey Samukai when his supporters numbering 20,431 persons petitioned the President to instruct the Solicitor General of Liberia, Cllr. Cyrenius Sayma Cephus withdrew further legal action against Mr. Samukai so as to enable him take his seat in the Senate.

In their petition addressed to the President, dated April 30, 2021, Samukai supporters drew the attention of the President to their participation in the December 8, 2020 Senatorial election as an exercise to discharge their constitutional franchises and fundamental human rights spelled out in Chapter One of the Constitution of Liberia caused their keen interest in the resolution of the Samukai imbroglio.

“As you may be aware that since the 2020 Senatorial Elections which Senator-elect Brownie Jeffrey Samukai overwhelmingly won with twenty thousand four hundred thirty one votes, something that has never happened in Lofa County history, unfortunately we are yet to see our Senator seated like his colleagues” due to legal challenges put on his way, the Friends of Samukai stated in their petition letter.

They  said what is most interesting in the whole affairs is that both the electoral related matters and the criminal cases that were filed against Mr. Brownie J. Samukai were all ruled upon and the decision was reached by the Supreme Court of Liberia.

“Unfortunately, Mr. President, your Solicitor General has filed a writ of prohibition requesting the Supreme Court to undo the decision of the people of Lofa County”, the statement said.

The statement concluded: “We are therefore asking you, Mr. President, to use Article 59 of the Liberian Constitution to instruct the Solicitor General to withdraw the writ of prohibition filed against the seating of Senator Samukai, adding asking that the senator be allowed to take his seat for the will of the Lofa people to prevail.

This action, reminded the President, will also demonstrate your leadership and wisdom in fostering reconciliation.

The Friends of Samukai and supporters of the Senator-elect tried to submit a copy of the letter of petition to President Weah to Supt. Kamba, which the Superintendent rejected on grounds of “insubordination to the president” and an attempt to undermine the President’s visit to the County.

The Lofa County Senator-elect Brownie Samukai had breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday, February 24, 2021when the Supreme Court upheld the ruling from the National Elections Commission (NEC) declaring Mr. Samukai winner of the December 8 Special Senatorial elections.

The ruling of the Supreme Court came as a result of petition filed against the winner of the Lofa Senatorial race by Candidates James K. Marley, Hamet Kromah and Gayflor Tarnue had petitioned the Supreme Court to halt Samukai’s election, claiming election fraud and irregularities.

However, a three-member panel of the Supreme Court in its series of hearings and judgements delivered that Wednesday said candidates Tarnue, Marley and Kromah were unable to prove the allegations of fraud and irregularities, which they claimed marred the exercise in District#4 in Lofa County.

“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, the ruling of the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission which confirmed the ruling of the Hearing Officer is affirmed. The clerk of this court is ordered to send a mandate to the National Elections Commission to give effect to this judgement. Costs are ruled against the appellants. And it’s hereby so ordered,” the Supreme Court ruled then.

The ruling climaxed a turbulent two months of rigmarole for Samukai since his overwhelming victory on December 8, 2021, but another case involving US$ 1.4 million said to be misappropriated by the Lofa County Senator-elect and two others was adjudicated by the high court which also reaffirmed the verdict of a lower court convicting Mr. Samukai and another to restitute at least half of the amount or face two years imprisonment.

It’s against the Court’s decision that Liberia’s Solicitor General, Cllr Syrenius Cephas has asked the election body not to certificate Samukai because he hasn’t restituted the US$1.4 million.

“You will recall that prior to the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial elections, Mr Samukai was found guilty by the lower court along with his co-conspirators for the same crimes. But took an appeal to the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia, which automatically stayed the enforcement of the convicted judgement,” Cllr Cephas wrote to the NEC.

Continuing, he added: “Therefore, the recent judgement by the Supreme Court of Liberia is not a novelty, and didn’t depart from the holding of the lower court’s judgement; which means Samukai together with his co-conspirators has been felon from the date the lower rendered judgement.”

“Accordingly,” the Solicitor General furthered, “since the guilty judgement is the law controlling, and constitutes a finality of the matter, and by law is not appealable in this jurisdiction, it is considered my opinion that it will be inarguable allay any and all concerns that may arise, and you will therefore proceed not to certificate him.”

In contrast, the Minister of Justice Frank Musah Dean, at his Senate appearance, told the senators that he hasn’t seen the communication written by the Solicitor General but was informed about it on Facebook and has no idea about why the decision was made to write the Senate.

He opted not to comment on the matter when asked by Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon about whether he was aware of such a letter, but rather referred the Senate to the Solicitor General, who he said could better respond to such inquiry.

In the meantime, residents of Lofa county last week denounced the move by the Supreme Court to request Samukai restitute US$1.4 million USD as the “single greatest witch hunt of a politician” under the presidency of George Weah.

According to a group of Lofa residents under the banner Movement of Lofa Residents in Solidarity with Samukai, the aim of all this is intended to “disgrace, intimidate and dehumanize Samukai through a mere propaganda and sensational court case”.

“We are equally very disappointed and frustrated in the ruling handed down against Samukai. We, therefore, term this as politically-driven and a witch hunt against our leader,” the group said in a statement.

The citizens of Lofa were angry at the Supreme Court for the latest judgement, the target of most of the citizens’ anger was Liberia’s Supreme Court, which the group accused of being out to disgrace Samukai.

“The manner in which the Judiciary Branch of our Government has been dispensing Justice in recent years, especially under the Weah-led government, has made Liberians to question the neutrality and integrity of that body,” the group said.

“During the trial, the Defense argued that they were authorized by the former president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, then Commander-in-Chief of the AFL and presented an authorization letter to the effect. How then the former minister of defense was guilty of executing the order of the Commander-in Chief”?

“Let the word go forth that we, the thousands of Lofa citizens who believe in the Senator-elect and voted him overwhelmingly wish to inform the Supreme Court that we are against the ruling”.

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