Liberia: Justice Ministry Sends Response to CPP's Cummings Over Violence Complaints

Monrovia — In a statement addressed to the leader of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Alexander Cummings, the Ministry of Justice has indicated that the politician would file complaints related to violence against persons within his political establishment but would show non-cooperative posture with authorities during official investigations despite being cited.

The series of complaints relate to the July 30, 2020 violence in Zwedru against Rep. Yekeh Kolubah, who was member of Cummings' delegation to the Southeast; the electoral violence that occurred on November 16, 2018 in Montserrado District #13 involving Madam Cornelia Kruah-Togba of the Unity Party and the members of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC); the one in District #15 on August 15, 2019, involving Ms. Telia Urey of the All Liberian Party and Abu Kamara of the CDC, as well as the other incident in District #10 on January 20, 2019 when Rep. Yekeh Kolubah hosted a children's party.

The Ministry quotes a letter from Mr. Cummings as alleging that "all of the incidents cited herein are yet to be addressed with the release of an official investigative report or penalties therefrom," and termed the announcement of investigation as "mere bluff to quiet the wave of condemnation every time these incidents occur."

But the Ministry said it was disappointed that the CPP leader would "decline invitations contained in Deputy Minister Nyenati Tuan's letter to participate in the investigation and aid the Board of Inquiry in the discharge of its mandate to establish the facts of the July 30, 2020 incident (in Zwedru)."

Consequently, the Ministry further stated in its response to the CPP leader's assertion that, "Under our law, an accused person is entitled to due process; and in criminal cases, his guilt must be established beyond all reasonable doubt.

"Merely broadcasting a message may be sufficient for public relations purposes, but definitely not for prosecution and conviction. The complainant must be willing to cooperate with the Police in the course of an investigation and gathering of evidence, and, where necessary, testify at the trial," the Ministry said in the letter to Mr. Cummings, dated August 31, 2020 and signed by Minister Frank Musa Dean.

The communication showed a chronological breakdown of the investigative or legal trends of said violent incidents that have been reported:

On the issue of the November 16, 2018 incident, the Ministry reminded Mr. Cummings that the two candidates in District 13--Cornelia Kruah-Togba of UP and John Weah OF CDC--failed to fully cooperate with the investigation and that the case file was 'accordingly' marked "EXHIBIT MOJ/1" with copies sent to all parties, including the National Elections Commission.

Concerning the Rep. Kulubah children's party, the Ministry referenced "a copy of the Special Bulletin Announcing the dismissal of (police) officers Toe, Kamara and Duo, dated April 2, 2019, and Inspector General Patrick Sudue's response to Mr. Yekeh Kolubah, dated April 11, 2019; letters of Invitation sent to Mr. Yekeh Kolubah, dated April 11, 2019 and December 20, 2019, and the letter closing the cased dated August 12, 2020.

"The files were attached in "bulk" and marked "EXIBIT MOJ2," the Justice Minister's letter indicated.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the District #15 incident of electoral violence, the Ministry also reminded Mr. Cummings that multiple criminal charges, including criminal mischief and criminal facilitation, were brought against four (4) individuals.

To this, the Ministry clarified that "Ms. Telai Urey declined several invitations to meet with prosecutors to prepare her court appearance and finally declared that she only wanted her iPad returned."

A report to the effect was made to the office of the Solicitor General on June10, 2020 by Montserrado County Attorney, Edwin K. Martin, according to the Ministry.

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