JNB Debunks Framework Document As “Photocopy” -Testimony Outlines Discrepancies; But Legal Pundits Say Otherwise

At long last, former Vice President and Political Leader of the Unity Party, Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai, mounted the witness stand yesterday Monday at the Monrovia City to provide insight about the much-talked-about CPP framework document alteration allegation levied against ANC Standard Bearer Alexander B. Cummings and others. Under oath, Ambassador Boakai informed the court that the framework document that he signed was the original and not the photocopy that is currently before court.

Ambassador Boakai further clarified that Senator Danial Nateehn was not Chairman of the CPP as indicated in the photocopy document that was presented to the National Elections Commission, rather he was Chairman of the Alternative National Congress.

With regards to the signature page of the CPP framework document, Ambassador Boakai said that the photocopy document represents the original, but maintained that the document handed him in court by prosecuting lawyers during the direct examination was not the original one that he signed on May 19, 2020.

He disclosed that under the leadership of ANC political leader Alexander Cummings, the CPP framework document was filed at the National Elections Commission, noting that the original documents were five copies – four of the copies were intended for the Collaborating Political Parties and one for National Election Commission (NEC).

Ambassador Boakai further stated in his testimony that the CPP was formed with the intent to reduce competition among political parties and to form a formidable opposition, thus giving rise to the CPP framework document.

He said the framework document was signed on May 19, 2020 under the signatures of Joseph Boakai and Isaac Mannah, then Chairman of the Unity Party; Alexander Cummings and Senator Denial Nateehn of the Alternative National Congress; Benoni Urey and Theodore Momo of the All Liberia Party; and Liberty Party Political Leader, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence who was Chairperson of the LP.

The former Vice President was the fourth subpoenaed witness for government lawyers in the ongoing trial against ANC Political Leader Alexander Cummings, ANC Secretary General Aloysius Toe, and Senator Daniel Nateeehn on allegation of forgery and criminal conspiracy regarding the altering of the CPP framework document.

Meanwhile, legal pundits who witnessed the Monday trial have opined that Ambassador Boakai actually acknowledged changes done in CPP framework document that was sanctioned by all of the constituent political parties.

According to a prominent lawyer who spoke with this paper immediately after the hearing, former Vice President Joseph Boakai said during the hearing that a team of lawyers constituted by the four Political Parties Leaders made changes to the framework document of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) ceremonially signed on Zoom on May 19, 2020.

The acclaimed constitutional lawyer who asked to remain anonymous for this publication said Ambassador Boakai confirmed that five original copies of the CPP framework document were signed with a copy for each of the four constituent parties and one forwarded to the National Elections Commission (NEC).

“Boakai said after the Zoom signing of the CPP framework document, there were issues raised over job distributions, which warranted the review by the Lawyers who proposed and made the changes in the framework document. He said the amended changes in the CPP framework document were also forwarded to a Validation Committee, but, he had since not seen the document, even though, he served as a member of the CPP National Advisory Committee,” the legal pundit stated, wondering how was it possible for Ambassador Boakai, being a member of the CPP National Advisory Committee, to be denied copy of the amended framework document that contained changes made by the lawyers who were hired by the CPP leadership to work on the framework document.

“His confirmation of his signature as genuine on the framework document presented in count somehow validates the defense position that this trial is politically motivated,” the legal pundit averred.

In agreement with the legal pundit’s assertion, Liberty Party Chairman Musa Hassan Bility believes Ambassador Boakai’s testimony is a plus for Mr. Cummings and others accused for tampering with the CPP framework document.

“Now that JNB has confirmed that the FD was turned over to the lawyers, and that the lawyers revised it and submitted the same to the CPP, he has therefore squashed the argument that what was signed in May 2019 is the same document submitted to NEC. This also confirms that the May 19 document was never submitted to NEC as the lawyers’ revision happened in June: almost a month after the Zoom signing on May 19, 2020. Truth crushed to earth shall rise again,” Bility said Monday in a social media post right after the court hearing

Continuance of the case has been assigned for today, May 17, although defense lawyers have requested for brief voluntary leave of court for the ANC Political Leader and a week leave based on doctor’s advice for Senator Naatehn.

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