The NEC Independent Hearing Chambers has ruled in the post-election case involving 20 polling places in District 15, in Montserrado County.
The Head of the Chambers, Mauna Ville, reading the ruling on behalf of his colleagues Wednesday order a rerun of the six precincts in the District, which amounts to 20 polling places.
Petitioners Telia Urey and Bishop Siebo Frank, after the District’s By-election on July 29, filed complaints against NEC for “several irregularities”, they claimed amounted to “fraud”. However, in his ruling, Cllr. Ville said the petitioners, led by lead Counsel Lavala Superwood, failed to prove their allegations against the Commission.
However, Cllr. Ville said the Hearing Chambers believes that the quarantined ballots in the possession of the Commission could have been tempered with considering that the Director of the NEC Data Center failed to give exact time and date the ballots where quarantined and how did candidate Abu Kamara’s total number of votes got reduced. The Hearing Chamber thinks the ballots are believed to have been tempered with at the NEC Headquarters after or before they were ordered quarantined by the NEC.
The Hearing Officer therefore called for a rerun and not a recount of the affected places within 10 days as of the date of his ruling.
Meanwhile, co-respondents and interveners for Candidate Abu Kamara and CDC accepted the part of the ruling that said the petitioners failed to prove their case except the second part that calls for a rerun of the affected polling places.
The intervening party (Abu Kamara/CDC) has an opportunity to appeal to the Board of Commissioners of the NEC if they deem it fit.
In a related development, while NEC is yet to announce a date for the rerun in the quarantined precincts, Telia Urey’s Campaign Team and Candidate Bishop Slehbo Frank are said to agree with NEC and accept its final rulings. Team Urey said justice has been dispensed in this matter and it is fully prepared for a rerun. Lawyers representing Candidate Abu Kamara said they ‘somewhat’ accept the ruling and they believe that their client is prepared for a rerun.