Liberia: 'Blatant Lies'

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims & Petitions, Cllr. Varney Sherman, has vehemently refuted statement by the National Elections Commission Chairman-designate that he (Sherman) gave him any recommendation to any school and has described Nwabudike utterances/claims as blatant lies.

"All what he said about me is a blatant, blatant lie, I never gave him any recommendation to any school; you see when he presented his credentials he put the letter of recommendation from Chief Justice, he did not put any letter of recommendation from me; so he is sitting over there quoting a letter of recommendation. Let him show a letter of recommendation from me."

Grand Cape Mount County Senator Cllr H. Varney Sherman made the clarification yesterday in the Joint Chambers of the Legislature when the NEC Chairman-designate, Cllr Ndubusi Nwabudike, appearing before the Senate for confirmation hearings, intimated that the Senator several years ago wrote a letter of recommendation that enabled him to attend a renowned international institution, as a Liberian.

The embattled nominee further recalled that he worked along with Senator Sherman at the Law Reform Commission, and also claims Sherman taught him while he was a law student, a claim again Senator Sherman the erudite lawyer denied.

"I was never a member of a committee to set up the Law Reform Committee, I have nothing to do with that; Cllr Felicia Coleman can confirm that, Henry Reed Cooper can also confirm that; I absolutely have nothing to do with that, he and I have never ever worked together before," Senator Sherman told Legislative reporters.

"If you are not a Liberian citizen and you are allowed to go to the National Elections Commission, our democracy is at risk," Cllr Sherman warned.

The counter-statement between the two came about when Senator Sherman openly expressed doubt over the manner in which Cllr. Nwanbudike claimed he gained naturalization at the time he was about four years shy of the constitutionally prescribed age of twenty-one (21) age requirement for naturalization.

The controversy over the NEC Chairman-designate's naturalization became the centerpiece of the hearing, when former Senate Pro Tempore Senator Armah Jallah, who is member of the Autonomous Agencies and Commission committee, observed that Cllr Nwabudike's naturalization documents were not among papers he submitted to that committee.

Nwabudike argued that it was based on his papers of naturalization that the Supreme Court of Liberia granted his membership to the Bar Association.

But the unsatisfied Senator Jallah proffered a motion calling for postponement of the hearing until the nominee's naturalization papers were submitted to the committee. Following minutes of consultations among the committee members, Chairman J. Milton Teahjay announced that the hearing would continue, while the naturalization papers were pending.

It was at this juncture of continuing the hearing that Senator Sherman insisted and wondered whether Mr. Nwabudike in fact obtained the age that qualified his citizenship, when in fact, he was born in 1965 in Delta State to both a Nigerian mother and father.

However, minutes later, Cllr Nwabudike, who is the current head of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, submitted a piece of paper which he claimed was a naturalization paper brought in by an interested person who he said might have been watching the live hearing.

In a related development, Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon has decried what he says is the "President's poor leadership sensitivity to the times that we are in; his poor leadership has caused this country to be divided between fighting coronavirus disease and looking for a Nigerian man. If it were not this (nominating Cllr Nwanbudike), we wouldn't be here wearing masks, but somewhere looking for money and means to fight this virus.

Further, he described in an interview with journalists that President George Weah is "very insensitive, his leadership style is very poor, including his judgment."

The hearing continues this afternoon, after the Senate's session in the Joint Chambers.

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