17 April 2017

Liberia: Korkoya Lied?

A US-based news organ, New Dispensation, has revealed that the Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) did register to vote in the United States in the 2008 elections as an American citizen.

Quoting LibPolitics, an online news outlet about Liberia, New Dispensation reported that the NEC boss registered to vote in the US in 2008. LibPolitics has published the voting records from the United States 2008 election which confirm Chairman Korkoya is listed as a registered voter in the Township Williamsboro in the state of New Jersey.

The revelation contradicts Cllr. Korkoya' denial of last week that he is not a US citizen as reported in the Liberian media.

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Washington D.C- The Chairman of the National Elections Commission in Liberia Cllr. Jerome G. Korkoya, has come under huge criticism for his possession of United States Citizenship and serving in an important government position. The head of the NEC who has presided over only a single election has been facing a backlash from critics, some of whom have called for his resignation. Based upon these allegations, first made public by veteran Liberian politician Togba Nah Tipoteh, LibPolitics decided to launch its own research to verify the NEC's boss citizenship.

This is what we found. We found that the NEC boss was naturalized at a ceremony on December 21, 2007 in the city of Willingboro, New Jersey. Korkoya has gone on to vote in the 2008 election that saw Barrack Obama rise to power as the first black president of the United States. LiBPolitics also has access to Korkoya's naturalization certificate.

Chairman is originally from Bong County, born to Augustus W. Kokoya, former Superintendent of Bong County and Towhan Salee. The staunch Catholic holds a BA Degree in Political Science and LL.B Degree in Law from the University of Liberia. He also holds an LL.M Degree in Law from the University of Tulane University School Of New Orleans and a Juris Doctor from the Kansas School of Law.

The NEC boss also worked at the Brumskine Law Firm of current Presidential aspirant Charles Brumskine and the Dunbar and Dunbar Law Offices. He has also worked also with the State Government of New Jersey at the Department of Children and Family as a Family Services Specialist.

Responding to allegations that Korkoya owns a U.S passport, the NEC issued a statement vehemently denying the report. The NEC termed the report as a Smear campaign by detractors, maintaining that Korkoya is a Liberian citizen.

"Cllr. Korkoya says that the ongoing smear campaign is false, misleading and an attempt to distract the Commission from carrying out its constitutional mandate of conducting free, fair and transparent elections," a statement issued by NEC noted.

Korkoya and the NEC could have violated Section 2.3 of the Elections Laws of Liberia, which speaks of the qualifications of appointees to the commission, by denying his US citizenship. The law states that NEC and 'Every Commissioner shall be a Liberian citizen, be of age not less than 35, and shall be of good moral character'.

Korkoya is not the only person on the NEC that allegedly holds a U.S citizenship. It is also alleged that Commissioner Boakai A. Dukuly also holds a U.S citizenship.

Dr. Tipoteh's position

In the wake of the reports from the US, Liberian opposition politician, Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, has insisted that Cllr. Korkoya, is a citizen of the United States of America. Dr. Tipoteh has been the only single Liberian who has raised the bar concerning the issue of dual citizenship involving commissioners of the NEC.

In a statement issue Saturday, he said, "for more than two years now, Dr. Tipoteh continues to bring to the attention of the public the fact that NEC cannot perform free, fair and democratic elections because it does not operate according to the Constitution of Liberia.

Dr. Tipoteh, recalls that the Constitution calls for a citizen of Liberia to be a Commissioner of NEC, maintaining that as a United States citizen, Korkoya, cannot serve as a Commissioner of NEC, not to mention his serving as the Chairman of NEC.

Speaking last Friday, April 14th, in his continuing efforts at exercising patriotism by using knowledge to prevent violence, he realized that the refusal by the government to use knowledge to prevent violence led to the violence of April 14, 1979.

In terms of relevant evidence, Dr. Tipoteh presents the U.S.Naturalization Number of Mr. Korkoya as follows: 30628201, having been sworn in on December 21, 2007 in the State of New Jersey, United States of America.

Dr. Tipoteh presents the evidence about Mr. Korkoya' s U.S. citizenship immediately following NEC's Press Statement to the effect that Mr. Korkoya is a Liberian citizen and that the numerous indications about Mr. Korkoya's U.S. citizenship are all "distractions".

With the evidence presented about Mr. Korkoya's U.S. citizenship, Dr. Tipoteh calls it "truthtelling" and not "distractions". "In the face of this evidence on the U.S. citizenship of Mr. Korkoya, the President of Liberia should now call upon Mr. Korkoya to resign from NEC and stand trial for the criminal offence of having dual citizenship, U.S. and Liberia, which is a crime under the Constitution of Liberia," he said.

"The President should terminate Mr. Korkoya's service at NEC immediately were he to refuse to resign." "With the backing of Mr. Korkoya by NEC, the President of Liberia should call upon the other NEC Commissioners to resign immediately or the President should terminate their services at NEC immediately were they to refuse to resign."

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