11 October 2017

Liberia: Nimba Rep. Candidate Arrested for 'Purchasing Voter Cards' On Election Day

Police authorities assigned with the National Elections Commission (NEC) have arrested a representative candidate of Nimba County Electoral District #1 for allegedly posing as an agent looking to purchase voter registration cards from voters in a queue.

Othello Deshield, a candidate on the ticket of the Liberia Restoration Party (LRP) of presidential candidate MacDella Cooper, was arrested at the Zokeseh polling center in Peace Community, Ganta while reportedly luring his voters with at least US$30 per card.

Police officers investigating Mr. Deshield at the Ganta Police Charge of Quarters told the Daily Observer that "the suspect was caught red-handed," adding that the pieces of evidence gathered from eyewitnesses so far were good enough to prosecute him.

Candidate Deshield's information sheet as given by NEC

According to the officers (who spoke on condition of anonymity), because of the severity of his alleged act, Mr. Deshield "will face the full weight of the law." At the time the officers were providing the information, the representative hopeful (Deshield) was writing a statement reportedly committing himself to the alleged crime. The officers revealed that several voter registration cards were found on the suspect.

Just a week to yesterday's polls, Deshield openly pledged his support to another independent candidate vying for the same seat. He told his supporters that he once lived at the home of rival independent candidate Samuel N. Brown's mother, which compelled him to bow out of the race. But despite dropping out of the race, Deshield, who was a money changer before trying his hand in politics, was still on the ballot.

Word of Deshield's arrest spread like wildfire as many voters and media personnel, after casting their ballots at the polls, gathered at the police detachment to catch a glimpse of him.

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