UP Sues Speaker Koffa -For Dual Citizenship, Wants Him out of Legislature

MONROVIA: No sooner the news of the election of Speaker Fonati Jonathan Koffa reached wider audience in the country, the Executive Committee of the incoming governing Unity Party (UP) by and through its National Chairman Rev. J. Luther Tarpeh and National Secretary General Amos Tweh yesterday filed a petition for ‘Declaratory Judgment’ against the National Election Commission seeking to nullify the election of Jonathan Fonati Koffa as a Representative of Grand Kru County, thereby removing him from the national legislature.

In its petition before the Assigned Circuit Judge of the Civil Law Court for the Sixth Judicial Circuit at the Temple of Justice, Her Honor, Golda Bonah-Elliott, the Unity Party among others, petitioned the Honorable Court to declare that the 2nd Respondent in those Proceedings, Cllr. Koffa was not qualified to occupy an elected position under the laws of Liberia for various reasons.

According to court precepts available to The Analyst, the petitioner party submitted that it is a political party that won the Presidential Election and the incoming government with legislative agenda to be pursued, and that its National Executive Committee, by a Resolution, has authorized the National Chairman and the Secretary General to institute this legal and other legal recourse to nullify the 2nd Respondent Koffa’s election as Representative of Electoral District #2 of Grand Kru County.

Submitting an attached marked as Petitioner Exhibit P/1 which is a copy of the Resolution of the National Executive Committee of the Petitioner to form a cogent part of this Petition, the Unity Party through its leadership pointed out that 1st Respondent National Elections Commission(NEC), in keeping with the constitution of Liberia, conducted the Presidential and General Elections as the result of which 2nd respondent was duly elected and certificated by the National Election Commission which is 1st Respondent in the suit.

“2d Respondent is the elected and certificated Representative of electoral district # two (2) of Grand Kru County,” the Unity Party told the Civil Law Court of Montserrado County, stating that Chapter 43 of ILCL Revised Section 43.1 provides that “Courts of Records within the respective jurisdictions shall have the power to declare rights, status, and other legal relations whether or not further relief is or could be claimed…”

The party petitioned also that section 43.2 of the Civil Procedure Law provides that “any person interested under a deed, will, written contact, or other writing constituting a contract, or whose rights, status, or other legal relations are affected by a statute, municipal ordinance, contract, or franchise, may have determined any question of construction or validity arising under the instrument, statute, ordinance, contract, or franchise and obtain a declaration of rights status, or other legal relations thereunder.

The court precepts quoted Petitioner as saying that Article 4 Section 1 of the Act To Amend And/Or Nullify Certain Provisions of The Aliens and Nationality Law Relating To Citizenship and Restoring The Citizenship Rights Lost As a Consequence of those Provision provides that: “A Liberian citizen who holds the citizenship of another country shall not be eligible for any elective public office while still a citizen of another country.

In its petition, the Unity Party further argued that should such person desire to contest for elective public office, the person must renounce the citizenship of the other country at least one (1) year prior to applying to the National Elections Commission to contest for an elective public office and such documentary evidence of such renunciation of citizenship of the other country shall be filed with a circuit court in Liberia and with the National Elections Commission at least one (1) year before application to the National Elections Commission to contest for the elective public office.”

Accordingly, the party attached thereto and marked as Petitioner’s Exhibit P/2 which is a copy of the Amended Aliens and Nationality Law to support this averment as evidence.

The Party then divulged and submitted to the court that 2nd Respondent Koffa is a citizen of the United States of America holding passport number 489973788 issued on February 13, 2012 amongst others, requesting the nullification of his election as a representative in the Legislature of Liberia.

Consequent to the UP’s petition, the Court yesterday, 15th instant of January, commanded its Sheriff, Captain Humphrey Seequeh or his Deputy to summon the National Election Commission, 1st Respondent and Cllr. Jonathan Koffa, 2nd Respondent before the civil law court in its December Term,

“You are hereby commanded to summon the respondents in the above title cause of action to appear 2023, to answer petitioner’s petition in the above titled cause of action and to notify the respondents that upon their failure to appear judgment by default will be rendered against them,” a writ given the Sheriff said. .

The writ further commanded the Sheriff to notify the said respondents to file former appearance or returns of the petition in Her Honor’s office on or before the 25th day of January, AD, 2024.

Meanwhile the writ signed by the Clerk of the Court under the seal of the Court requested the Sheriff to make official returns endorsed on the back of this writ of summons, as the manner of service on or before the 25th day of January, AD, 2024.

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