The NEC Independent Hearing Chambers, headed by Cllr. Muana Ville, has ordered a rerun in the six precincts, which amounts to 20 polling places, in the contentious by-election for the Montserrado County District 15 representative seat.
Cllr. Ville read the ruling on behalf of his colleagues on Wednesday, August 14 at the close of adjudication hearings into the dispute over alleged irregularities claimed by candidates Telia Urey and Bishop Siebo Frank (petitioners) against the NEC, which the petitioners claimed amounted to fraud. However, in his ruling, Cllr. Ville said the petitioners, led by lead Counsel Lavela Supuwood, failed to prove their allegations against the Commission.
However, according to a post-hearing press release from the NEC, Cllr. Ville said the Hearing Chambers believes that the quarantined ballots in the possession of the Commission could have been tampered with, considering that the Director of the NEC Data Center failed to give exact time and date the ballots were quarantined and how the total number of votes accrued to candidate Abu Kamara's got reduced.
Audience at the Montserrado County District 15 electoral dispute adjudication ruling at the NEC headquarters
"The Hearing Chamber thinks the ballots are believed to have been tampered with at the NEC Headquarters after or before they were ordered quarantined by the NEC," the Hearing Officer said. He therefore called for a rerun and not a recount of the affected places within 10 days as of August 14, the date of his ruling.
Meanwhile, co-respondents and interveners for Candidate Abu Kamara and his party, the CDC, accepted the part of the ruling that said the petitioners failed to prove their case, but took exception to the second part that calls for a rerun of the affected polling places.
The intervening party (Abu Kamara/CDC) has an opportunity to appeal to the Board of Commissioners of the NEC if they deem it fit.