“Outgoing Pres. Weah, Others Won’t Leave Liberia Until Audited” -Dillon Says JNB Commitment a Done Deal…But

Article 61 of the Revised Liberian Constitution (1986) is very clear on who in an outgoing government enjoys immunity from prosecution for acts he/she might have committed as an official of the outgoing regime. According to Article 61, the President shall be immune from any suits, actions or proceedings judicial or otherwise, and from arrest, detention or other actions on account of any act done by him/her while President of Liberia pursuant to any provision of this Constitution or any other laws of the Republic. The President shall not, however, be immune from prosecution upon removal from office for the commission of any criminal act done while President.

But in apparent contravention of Article 61, legal pundits are confounded as to why Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon would say he has brokered a commitment from Presidential Aspirant Joseph Nyumah Boakai when he wins the 2023 presidential elections to stop outgoing President George M. Weah from leaving the country pending the outcome of an audit.

“When Joseph Boakai wins this election, in keeping with his commitment he has already given to us, there will be a line in his inaugural speech; as he’s closing his speech, he’s going to announce that no official of the outgoing government –and I want him to turn around to the outgoing President to include him, that no official of the outgoing government, including the outgoing President will be allowed to leave the country pending the outcome of an audit of the outgoing government for accountability,” Senator Dillon stated Sunday, May 29, 2022 during a social media podcast.

Senator Dillon said he is confident that Ambassador Boakai will live up to his commitment when he becomes President in 2023, this is why he (Dillon) has gone public with his pronouncement.

“I said that to Ambassador Joseph Boakai in private, I am beginning to make it public. I made it public yesterday at that gathering. He heard it, and he has consented. He’s given his consent that it is the way to go. When that inaugural speech is being delivered in January, holding all things constant and by the grace of God, my President, Joseph Nyuma Boakai whom I support, (will deliver) that line in that speech instructing that no official of the outgoing government will be allowed to leave the country pending an outcome of an audit of the outgoing government for accountability. And we will ensure that,” Senator Dillon remarked forcefully.

But in quick reaction to Senator Dillon’s request for “President Joseph Nyumah Boakai” to stop outgoing President Weah and others from leaving the country pending the outcome of an audit, the ex-Chief of Office Staff to ANC Standard Bearer Alexander B. Cummings, Attorney Moriah Yeakula, says what Senator Dillon is suggesting is not only illegal but reeks of outright dictatorship.

In her reactionary social post entitled: “The Emerging Dangers of Dillon’s Support for a JNB Presidency”, Attorney Yeakula argued that the statement from Dillon is appalling because it is a gross violation of constitutional freedom of movement.

“To proudly utter that statement is either willful ignorance or mere vindictiveness which borders on dictatorship. This is why you all don’t support Cummings but rather Boakai. You cannot tell Cummings to put that illegal declaration in his inaugural speech and he agrees with you. Granted CDC loses in 2023 and Boakai unfortunately wins, how can you stop former officials of CDC government including the former President from traveling until audit results are out? Do you understand the magnitude of that statement? To restrict their constitutional freedom of movement with no probable cause? That means you will be seizing their passports and in some cases, issuing baseless Nea Exit Republicas. Is this the kind of President you all want JNB to be- a vicious dictator? One that makes illegal decisions at the whims and caprices of you guys?” Atty. Yeakula wondered.

“Yes, we know this CDC government is corrupt. Yes, they need to be audited but you cannot prematurely declare that they won’t travel until audit is done. As Mr. Cummings has always said, he will announce an audit on Day 1 but will only prosecute where the evidence leads; not out of emotions or vindictiveness.  How do we move this country forward when we continue to go after each other without any shred of evidence? Out of hate, grudge and angst? What does that make you, to violate the constitutional rights of all former CDC officials without any evidence of wrongdoing?” Yeakula stated.

The young legal practitioner who recently bagged a Masters Law degree from the United States said the statement from Senator Dillon is not just appalling but sad, especially coming from a lawmaker.

“I don’t care about CDC but we must care about the rights of every citizen. No citizen deserves to have their constitutional rights violated because they worked in government. Do the audit first and if certain people including the President are found liable, take them to court and then restrict their freedom of movement. That’s how it’s done in civilized and law-abiding societies.

“All this tells us, is the danger of electing Amb. Boakai with the likes of you around him. This is how you all intend to run circles around him and have him do your bidding to get back at CDC. I will even bet, some of us are in your gun range as well. CDC started with a black list and it seems UP and its supporters like you have already decided yours. We are tired of this vicious cycle. Liberians deserve better. We are one people albeit with different political orientations. We cannot continue to do the same things over and over and expect a different result. I hope you can take that statement back because it is illegal, wrong, unconstitutional, divisive, dictatorial and despicable!” Moriah Yeakula vented.

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