24 November 2017

Liberia: Korkoya's Recusal 'Bell Rings', But...

The opposition Liberty Party (complainant) and the Unity Party (co-complainant) have rang a recusal bell by filing a motion for the chairman of the National Elections Commission Cllr. Jerome Korkoya to recuse himself from presiding over the appeal pending final determination before the Board of Commissioners of the electoral body.

While the Unity Party (UP), and Liberty Party (LP) appeal was pending to be heard before the Board of Commissioners on Thursday, November 23, 2017 both parties filed a motion for the Chairman Korkoya to recuse himself from the final ruling of the Board of Commissioners.

Both complainant, LP) and co-intervenient complainant, UP, asserted that Cllr. Korkoya has already made statement which according to them, is prejudicial, bias and unfair, therefore; he (Korkoya) cannot sit or have a say over their appeal currently before the NEC.

The parties alleged that during one of the NEC recent press conferences, Chairman Korkoya stated that the complainant, Liberty Party and co-intervenient complainant Unity Party rather have no case but were only intending to delay the process.

But, arguing on behalf of the Board, NEC lead lawyer Cllr Musa Dean argued that the parties claim has no iota of truth and it is against section 2.4 of the New Elections Law which constitutes quorum to vote.

Section 2.5 of the New Elections Law states that "only five members, including the Chairman shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business of the Commission; they shall decide any question before it, and said decision shall be binding on the Commission," he added.

Cllr. Deam further added that the burden of proof rests on the party who alleges, citing the Civil Procedure Law, 1LCL Reverse Title 1 Section 42.6 page (1973).

Cllr. Dean told the Board that the Supreme Court has held that in an election case, where the results are challenged, the burden is on the challenger to overcome the presumption in favor of the validity of the election process and results, citing Sando Dazoe Johnson versus the National Elections Commission and all, and the case Kuku Dorbor, David Flomo and Solo Gbardyu versus the NEC.

However, the Board of Commissioners denied the complainant and co-intervenient complainant's application on grounds that the removal or recusal of the NEC chairman to hear the appeal filed by both Unity Party and the Liberty Party lacks legal basic in law.

The Board of Commissioners stated that the law governing the National Elections Commission requires that Chairman Korkoya be the chief judge in any electoral matter and as such granting such motion would be in total violation of the Election Law and the constitution of Liberia as well.

Predicated upon that, the NEC proceeded with the argument for the appeal after the both parties announced an appeal at the Supreme Court of Liberia.

In the argument before the Board of Commissioners, the two parties argued separately, the Unity Party after pleading its argument prayed that if the NEC determines that the irregularities and fraud do not rise to the level to cause a cancellation of the presidential elections, cancel the re-run of the presidential election on November 7, 2107 and institute corrective measures in compliance with law and internationally acceptable standards acceptable to intervener (UP) such as but not limited to publication of a final voter registration roll and correction of all irregularities identified and described in their complaint.

For the Liberty Party, it prayed for a re-run of the October 10, 2017 elections and cautioned the Board to take inconsideration the interest of the country.

Meanwhile, the Board of Commissioners is expected to hand down judgment in the Liberty Party and Unity Party appeal currently before it.


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