Whistleblower Liberia

Whistleblower Liberia

NEC Suffers Arson Attack Amidst Disputed Results

By Julu Johnson

The headquarters of the National Elections Commission (NEC) has suffered an arson attack with less than a week since Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe experienced similarly situation at his residence last week.

According to NEC authorities, the petro bomb was thrown within the headquarters at 10:30PM on Monday, March 15, 2021.

Meanwhile, suspects of the two arson attacks are yet to be apprehended while the motives are unknown in the wake of unresolved cases since the holding of the December 8, 2020 senatorial election.  

The news of the attack emerged few days after Associate Justice Nagbe, who happens to be the Justice in Chambers, granted a Writ of Prohibition on the certification of former Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai, as Lofa County Senator-elect based on request from the opposition political party Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) through its Chairman O’Neill Passewe.

Associate Justice Nagbe, having issued the writ, had planned a conference in the justice chambers for 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, 2021, to discuss the case.

On February 24, 2021, the Supreme Court of Liberia ruled in Samukai’s favor in the electoral dispute case filed by three of his rivals, claiming irregularities and fraud in Lofa County District Number Four.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Samukai and mandated to the NEC to proceed with the matter.

On February 8, 2021, the Supreme Court upheld a criminal court’s verdict in the corruption case involving Samukai and a former deputy minister and the former Comptroller at the Ministry of Defense.

On March 24, 2020, the Criminal Court “C’’ found Samukai, Joseph F. Johnson and former Deputy Minister for Administration and J. Nyumah Dorkor, former Comptroller of the Ministry of Defense guilty of misappropriating US$1.3 million from the Armed Forces compulsory contributing fund that was deposited at Ecobank Liberia.

Samukai and his lawyers appealed the case. In his ruling issued, Judge Yamie Gbeisay said the government did not produce sufficient evidence to convict Samukai and the other two of money laundering and economic sabotage.

But the Supreme Court in its decision upholding the lower court’s guilty verdict said all public officials and employees shall obey all lawful instructions issued to them by their supervisors and they shall be held liable and responsible for acts of commission or omission as in the case of the corruption verdict.

Meanwhile, following the attack on his residence, OK FM reported that Justice Nagbe, in a leaked audio recording, confirmed that petrol bombs were thrown in his home, but there was no casualty as a result of the situation.

Associate Justice Nagbe is quoted as saying in the leaked audio that although he doesn’t know the intent of the individuals who committed the act, “some Liberians just hate to hear the truth.”

Justice Nagbe, while serving as Senator of Sinoe County, was nominated on August 8, 2018 to replace retired Associate Justice Philip AZ Banks by President George Manneh Weah. He was later commissioned in fulfillment of the 1986 Constitution. The colorful ceremony took place at the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, August 27, 2018.

President Weah said he did not appoint Cllr. Nagbe on the basis of friendship but in keeping with his hard work and understanding of the law.

In a very compendious remark, the Liberian President expressed hope in Cllr. Nagbe’s ability to justify the confidence reposed in him, describing him as great man.

President Weah said: “I have the privilege and honor to be here for this program in honor of a father and brother who has been given the opportunity to serve our country.”

“I want to thank Chief Justice, Francis Korkpor for accepting that our son joins the Supreme Court Bench. Honorable Nagbe, I know you can do the job.” 

Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, Associate Justice Nagbe used the occasion to thank President Weah for giving him the opportunity to serve his country. He however pledged to do his best to interpret the law into context. 

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