MONROVIA – The planned induction ceremony of the Press Union of Liberia earlier slated for Friday, December 23, 2022 has suffered a setback after the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court sitting in Gbarnga City, Bong County placed a stay order until a declaratory judgment is rendered in the pending case arising as the result of the last elections whose validity is being challenged by Team Julius Karnubah against Team Daniel Nyakornah.
The order which was issued on Thursday, December 15, 2022 by Judge J. Boima Kontoe of the said court after he had read the mandate from the Supreme Court of Liberia instructing him to resume jurisdiction of the matter after the contending parties failed to reach an amicable resolution of the crisis as was suggested by the apex court through Justice in Chambers, Cllr. Yusuf Kaba.
“By directive of His Honor J. Boima Kontoe, Resident Court Judge of the 9th Judicial Circuit Court, you are hereby ordered to inform the respondents in the above entitled , cause of action that the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia having mandated His Honor J. Boima Kontoe Resident Circuit Court Judge of the 9th Judicial Circuit Court to resume jurisdiction and proceed in keeping with law and this court now having resumed jurisdiction hereby grants the submission of the petitioners that all proceedings including the induction of officers of the Press Union of Liberia are hereby ordered stayed pending the outcome of the petition for declaratory judgment before the 9th Judicial Circuit Court”, the stay order read.
The petitioners according to the ruling included, D. Edward Clarke, Weemon Jallah Cole, Titus Tokpa, Romeo Togbah, Festus Poquoi, Beatrice Sieh, Langstone Wilson, Michael Wroh, Cassano Wesseh and Prosper Gray.
On the other hand, the respondents included the administration of the Press Union of Liberia, its membership and congress committees and the subcommittee on elections and inauguration of the union under Charles Coffey, Daniel Nyakonoh, Musa Kenneh, Akoi Baysay, Carolyn Myers Zoduah, Melody Mezay-Ketter, Atty Ade Wede Kerkulah, Ebine Kwiah, Eddie Harmon, Bobby Livingstone, Atty Al Varney, Henry Page, etc all of the City of Monrovia
The stay order arose from the request of the legal team representing Team Kanubah who had challenged the action of the current PUL leadership to conduct the election and the outcome of the exercise, claiming that whole situation posed a threat to the Union by their decision to conduct elections and plan induction, meant to undermine the outcome of the proceedings into the Petition for Declaratory Judgment.
In the petition filed with the court, Team Kanubah criticized the conduct of the PUL 2022 elections because of several violations of the Union’s Constitution in relation to the Membership Register.
The violations, Team Kanubah insisted, amounted to acts of electoral fraud, because the PUL Full Membership Register (Voter Roll) was not published on time and disaggregated as required under Article 10 Section 7 of the PUL Constitution.
It further stated that the Full Membership Register (Voter Roll) was flooded “with non-journalists and ineligible members (voters) including interns, cub-reporters, criminals, and high school students”.
Team Kanubah is of the view that the stay order marks the beginning of a significant step in the pursuit of justice and electoral integrity in the PUL after back-to-back cases of voter roll fraud under former President Charles Coffey and former Vice President Daniel Nyakonah.
“We will work to ensure that those bent on hijacking the leadership of the PUL are legally exposed and brought to book in a bid to restore credibility, integrity and dignity to our Union which was built upon the principles of democracy”, a release from Team Karnubah said shortly after the court had ruled in its favor.