15 June 2017

Liberia: NEC Chairman Wants Court to Dismiss Dual Citizenship Lawsuit

Photo: VOA
Jerome Kokoya, the head of Liberia's National Elections Commission

Monrovia — Claims by a group of concerned Liberians now before the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice for adjudication that the Chairman of the National Election Commission Jerome Korkoya is an American citizen, Wednesday took another dimension when the NEC boss asked the court to dismiss the claims.

Chairman Korkoya's call came through his legal counsel during legal arguments in his motion filed by him to the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice to dismiss the claims against him which was rejected by lawyers representing the aggrieved concerned Liberians.

In his motion for dismissal, Cllr. Cooper Kruah counter argued that under the Civil Procedure Law Chapter I I, Section II.2(a) states that a party may at any time of service of his responsive pleading move for judgment dismissing the complaint on grounds that the court lacks the jurisdiction over the case.

"That the honorable Supreme Court has held in numerous opinions that jurisdiction is conferred by statute and that a judgment rendered without jurisdiction is absolutely void", said Kruah.

Krauh, continued that the petitioners claimed that Korkoya violated the Alien and Nationalization law, perjured himself before the Liberian Senate and obtained his diplomatic passport through fraudulent means but same are allegations of criminality for which the civil law court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear and therefore the petition should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

"Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, movant prays court to dismiss the respondent petition entire petition for declaratory judgment and grant unto the movant" Kruah's petition said.

Earlier, Cllr Lavela Supuwood argued that it is true that Jerome Korkoya was born on December 24,1961 in Gbarnga , Bong County and was a Liberian citizen and owed his duty of allegiance to Liberia, however voluntarily and without duress on December 2007 renounced his duty and allegiance to Liberia and assumed citizenship of the United States thereby obtained a US passport number #46708002 dated March 16, 2010 hereby renouncing his Liberian citizenship in keeping with Article 22.1 of the Alien and Naturalization Law.

Cllr, Supuwood furthered that in evidence of Korkoya's American citizenship, he voted in a number of Americaelections as a member of the Democratic Party having first registered to vote in that country on July 1, 2008;

"Wherefore, petitioners prayed the judgment granting this petition as prayed for and grant unto petitioners such other relief as may be deemed just and equitable" said Cllr. Supuwood.

However, the Presiding Judge, Boima Kontoe has reserved ruling on the motion and its counter resistance from the petitioners' lawyer to give a ruling at an unannounced date based on a notice of assignment.

A group of Liberians under the banner of the National Democratic Coalition represented by and through its chairman, vice chairman and secretary along with all other authorized representatives and that of the Concerned Citizens to Protect the Constitution headed by its Executive Directress Miatta Fahbulleh in May 2017 have petitioned the court for a declaratory judgment based on the alleged constitutional violations of the NEC boss.

In the petition, the two groups have claimed that they were legally registered entities operating in the country and that the essence of their petitions was that Jerome Korkoya is an American citizen.

The concerned Liberians say that Korkoya was not a Liberian citizen and that he allegedly used his dubious means to secure his appointment and confirmation as Chairman of the National Election Commission (NEC).

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