“Declare All Acts and Actions on LP Null And Void” -Liberty Party Lawyers Urges NEC

Team of Lawyers representing the interest of the Senator Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence led faction of the embattled Liberty Party under the aegis of the Liberty Party Legal Team has written to the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission(NEC)  to  request the immediate revocation of the communication validating the 2021 constitution of the party that was adopted at the Special Convention held in Gbarnga, Bong County with immediate effect and that Mr. Musa Bility be enjoined from performing any act under the Umbrella of the Liberty Party for what the team called Legal and factual reasons.

In the letter dated December 15, 2021 and addressed to the Chairman and members of the Board of Commissioners under the signature of Counselor Gloria Musu-Scott the lawyers cited several reasons to substantiate their claims including the Farmington Agreement which lawyers said was executed by Senator Nyonblee Karnga- Lawrence as political leader and Mr. Musa Bility as the National Chairman and attested to by members of the National Advisory Committee (NAC) – the internal mechanism agreed by the parties to be the final arbiter. As such, the Parties committed themselves to abide by the decision of the Committee.

While attaching copies of the MOU signed by the party political leader and its National Chairman and report of the NAC which according to the legal team specifically states that the constitution as filed at NEC by Bility and Martin Kollah, Secretary General of the party respectively did not reflect what transpired at the Special National Convention, the lawyers said taking the totality of the Bility circumstances surrounding the filing of the 2021 Constitution filed at the NEC, it became imperative that the Constitution be withdrawn to effect the necessary changes – a prerogative of the leadership of Liberty Party.

“To do otherwise would have been operating not only under a tampered Constitution, but one which had been filed in violation of NEC own regulations governing the submission of post national convention reports.

“The Constitution was therefore withdrawn to effect the necessary changes and NEC was accordingly informed”, they said.

The second reason provided by the lawyers has to do with the petition filed by Partisan Emmanuel Azango against the Convenors of the Special National Convention. The team said against the backdrop of a Complaint filed by Partisan Emmanuel Azango against the Convenors of the 22-24 January 2021 Special National Convention held in Gbarnga, Bong County – the forum where the 2021 Constitution was adopted and the election of the present corps of officers was held. “The Complaint essentially alleged the absence of a quorum and by way of an alternative argument, the violation of Article XIV of the 2021 Constitution, adopted at the Special Convention, governing the transition period which requires that within 150 days a special Convention shall be convened to elect the Chairperson, members of the National Executive Committee and members of the Secretariat amongst others”, the lawyers said.

The lawyers said pursuant to an Opinion rendered by the full Board of Commissioners of NEC rendered on 13 October 2021, a Special Investigating Committee was appointed by the Political Leader and Presiding Chairman of the Special Convention to determine the validity of Partisan  Azango’s Complaint. They said the  Committee found the Azango Complaint to be valid on several grounds, one of them being the absence of a quorum where the projected population of accredited delegates based on the constitution is a minimum of 197.

“Article V.c of the 2015 Constitution requires a majority of the accredited delegates representing a majority of the counties in the country.

“Accordingly, a minimum of ninety-nine accredited delegates is the required number needed to constitute a quorum at the Convention and not 250 as claimed by Azango.

“The presumptive fifty-six accredited delegates registered at the Special National Convention falls short of this number.   For these reasons and several other reasons, a Quorum did not exist”, the legal practitioners said.

The second reason provided was an alleged violation of Article XIV of the 2021 Constitution. “The new Constitution which immediately came into force would have invalidated the election in accordance with Article XIV governing the transition period which requires that within 150 days a Special Convention shall be convened to elect the national officers.

The lawyers further said that the report from the special investigative panel was submitted on 9 December 2021 with copies served on the party’s leadership. A copy was forwarded to NEC on 13th December, 2021 with the description that the special convention of 22 -24 held in Gbarnga is annulled; that the Liberty Party reverts to the status quo ante under the Chairmanship of its immediate past National Chairman Steve JH Zargo and of plans to convene a special national convention for the amendment of the 2015 constitution and the election of county and national officers.

“This declaration is based primarily on the universal principle of law including the norms of any association, that a quorum is required for the transaction of any business. It is because of a want of a quorum, the hosting of a special convention and all decisions emanating therefrom, including but not limited to the adoption of the constitution and the election of officers became null and void”, the legal team said.

The team also cited the lack of due process exhibited by NEC and stated that the so-called decision indicated the letter of the Co-chair of NEC did not accord the Liberty Party due process, stressing that Neither the party nor its political leader is aware of a subsequent complaint against the decision of the special investigating committee if there existed any. It said that as such, there was no due process accorded under elections law and the constitution of Liberia. “Letter of 13th December 2021 is effectively a decision without the sitting of the Board of Commissioners sitting in its judicial review capacity. We submit that Commissioner Reeves lacks the authority to make such a decision without the participation of the other six members of the commission”, the lawyers stated.

Going further the lawyers also stated the fourth reason has to do with what it called an illegal letter from the Co-Chair of the commission. It said because Cllr. Reeves’ illegal letter and if not recalled will effectively undermine the judicial character and capacity of the NEC to exude cool impartiality, fairness and transparency. It said that additionally, the public confidence in the work of NEC will dissipate and the credibility of the commission will be shredded as a result of one commissioner and failure of the Board of the Commission to take corrective action.

“Distinguished commissioners, it is for these reasons and several others to be advanced that we respectfully request that this honorable Board of Commissioners timely act on this communication due to the character and nature of this matter”, they noted.

The lawyers concluded their letter with three demands, among them, recall, revoke and declare null and void and of no effect, the letter signed by Commissioner Reeves, that all acts and actions conducted in the name of the Liberty Party relying on the said letter of December 13, 2021, including Mr. Musa Bility are null and void ab initio and grant unto Liberty Party and its political leader all that is just and legal.

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