Liberia: Sen. Teahjay Wants Vru in Bomi and Cape Mount Cancelled

-- As three NEC Magistrates in Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Grand Gedeh Counties are called for investigation

Sinoe County Senator, J. Milton Teahjay, is calling for the cancellation of the Voter Roll Update in the epicenter of alleged massive voter trucking Counties of Bomi and Grand Cape Mount.

"This Legislature must take a decision; we must put our foot down to proceed in a way that will discourage future massive trucking of voters that was done in the clear view of the public," Senator addressed his colleagues on September 22.

He added: "The best way out of this nightmare is to put money in the NIR (National Identification Registry). I think we need to find money and put it in the NIR in this new budget so that they can take over the registration. Can you imagine, Pro-Temp, that in the southeastern region, people are still registering with ink pen and paper?"

He disclosed that in his community on Police Academy Road, children as young as 13 years were processed for registration by two female workers of the National Elections Commission (NEC) who were spearheading the registration of under age kids, but were later transferred to another area.

"I think we need to set examples on Bomi and Cape mount Counties by cancelling the registration process in those areas," Teahjay told his colleagues.

Earlier, Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Chie, briefing plenary on the Senate Leadership's recent meeting with the head of NEC and the Minister of Finance, informed his colleagues that NEC boss, Madam Davidetta Browne-Lansanah, has assured that though there has been a significant reduction in the allotment of the budget for the elections, it has not affected the Commission's ability to hold the midterm senatorial elections and referendum freely, fairly and transparently, provided that payments can be made on time.

Senate Pro-Temp Chie reported that of the current elections budget of US$13.6 million, the government of Liberia will pay SU$10.6 million, while partners will fund the balance US$3 million, and that, up to last Friday, September 18, government had disbursed US$4 million; while payment plan has been executed between the Ministry of Finance and the NEC.

"From now to October, the government will disburse an additional US$4 million, bringing the total to US$8 million, and I think with that amount and the balance three million, elections can be held freely and fairly. The balance two million, we understand, can come after the election, which will be mainly used to pay vendors and elections workers," Pro-Temp Chie said.

In a related development, Pro-Temp Chie yesterday informed plenary that the Senate on Monday received a communication from NEC, submitting a budget of US$390,214.32 representing the proposed budget for the conduct of by-elections in District #9 in Montserrado Country and District #2 in Sinoe County.

With respect to the reported massive voter roll update irregularities, the Pro-Tempore said NEC Chairperson, Davidetta Brown-Lasanna acknowledged that such reports are true, and admitted that the trucking of individuals to register outside their area of residence is against the elections law; and that she has already made public statements against it, warning current and former lawmakers and other aspirants to desist from that habit.

In fact, there are reports that elections magistrates in those troubled areas of Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Grand Gedeh Counties have been recalled and are currently being investigated.

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