Supreme Court Rules in Team Kanubah’s Favor

MONROVIA: The Supreme Court of Liberia has ruled in favor of the National Campaign Management Team of Julius Kanubah in a case seeking to overturn a controversial mandate by Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe.

In a verdict delivered on Tuesday, 19th December 2023, the Supreme Court ruled that Justice Nagbe was in error to have ordered the lifting of a Stay Order placed on all activities of the former administration of the Press Union of Liberia including a so–called induction of officers–elect.

The Supreme Court found that in mandating the reversal of the Stay Order, Justice Nagbe failed to issue an alternative writ, thereby denying the right of the Kanubah Campaign Team to due process.

“It was, therefore, an error on the part of the Justice in Chambers to have ordered the trial judge to set aside his stay order imposed without issuing the alternative writ and determining the information filed before him. We, therefore, answer the first issue that our colleague inadvertently erred,” declares the Supreme Court in a five page ruling.

The Court added that, “The order of the Justice in Chambers to the judge in the court below to set aside the stay order on the induction of the officers-elect of the Press Union of Liberia, absent the issuance of the alternative writ, is hereby reversed.”

The Stay Order was imposed on 15 December 2022 by the Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in Bong County, J. Boimah Kontoe, pending a legal determination into a Petition for Declaratory Judgment filed by the Kanubah Campaign Team on 18 November 2022.

In its ruling read by Associate Justice Yussif D. Kabba, the Supreme Court ordered the Clerk of Court to send a mandate to the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court, ordering the presiding Judge to resume jurisdiction and proceed in keeping with law regarding Team Kanubah’s Petition for Declaratory Judgment.

The verdict by the Supreme Court is a major victory for the Kanubah Campaign Team as it effectively reinforces and further strengthens the Judge’s Stay Order, restraining Charles Coffey, Daniel Nyakonah, Musa Kenneh, and Akoi Baysah and their collaborators from conducting the affairs of the PUL.

Tuesday’s verdict was signed by Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh, Associate Justice Jamesetta Howard Wolokolie, and Associate Justice Yussif D. Kaba. The two other Associate Justices Joseph N. Nagbe and Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay, Sr., did not sign because they recused themselves from the case during a hearing on 02 May 2023 to avoid conflict of interest.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the verdict, the National Campaign Management Team of Julius Kanubah and Beatrice Sieh for the leadership of the PUL will officially hold a major press conference on Wednesday, 20 December 2023, in Monrovia.

Team Kanubah again thanks its supporters and members of the PUL and the sympathizers for the overwhelming support and patience as it seeks justice and accountability amid acts of fraud by the former PUL administration of Charles Coffey, Daniel Nyakonah, Musa Kenneh, Akoi Baysah, and their collaborators, a release by National Campaign Team Chairman for the Julius Kanubah for PUL presidency, Mr. Raymond K. Zarbay has said.

It can be recalled that Candidate Julius Kanubah and his team challenged the victory of his rival Daniel Nyakonah, the incumbent Vice President of the Press Union of Liberia who contested against Kanubah in a PUL election held November of 2022, and who ran with the backing of officials from the state media outlet, Liberia Broadcasting System to the Court for redress, rejecting the outcome of the PUL elections for being “bogus and utterly shameful.”

At the end of polling which was reportedly done under the cover of darkness, incumbent Vice President and Presidential candidate Nyakonah received 333 votes, while Kanubah, who boycotted the elections, obtained 15 votes, with only 2 invalid votes.

The PUL, which was founded on September 30, 1964, to defend press freedom and free speech had also elected at its 5th elective Congress in Gbarnga Bong County  Bettie Johnson-Mbayo, Vice President; Akoi M. Baysay, Secretary General; and Julius M. Konton, Assistant Secretary for the Union.

Kanubah, who at the start of the electoral process, had raised concern about the PUL election voter roll, later filed a writ of prohibition, claiming that the union and all other parties to the case failed to look into his concern even in the face of an injunction which is a clear violation of his campaign rights to a “free and fair election.”

A defeated presidential candidate in PUL filed a challenge with the country’s Supreme Court against election results that saw him filed a suit against the incumbent party on November 22, prayed the high court to undo and cancel the results of the “unconstitutional elections held by the PUL in Gbarnga, Bong County.”

He accused the PUL’s election commission and membership committee of being biased and refused to subject his campaign to any internal investigation regarding his claim. Yet, he demanded an independent panel to investigate the voter roll claim of being infested with fraudulent voters.

The writ, which was filed before Chamber Justice Yussif M. Kaba, named the PUL administration and the election commissioners as well as the Resident Circuit Judge of the 9th Judicial Circuit Court, J. Bioma Kontoe — as respondents to the case.

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