Liberia: Senate Mandates Justice Minister to Withdraw Letter to NEC Halting the Certification of Lofa County Senator-Elect Brownie Samukai

Monrovia — The Liberian Senate has ordered the Minister of Justice to withdraw a communication served the National Elections Commission (NEC) by Solicitor General Sayma Syrenius Cephas which instructed the NEC not to certificate Mr. J. Brownie Samukai, Lofa County Senator-elect.

The Senate decision came after the Minister of Justice backtracked on earlier statement that he had no knowledge about the Cllr. Cephus' communication to the NEC.

On Tuesday, Minister Musa Dean told Senators he had no knowledge about the communication. However, on Thursday the minister told Senators that he approved the communication.

He told the Senate on Thursday that the Solicitor General acted within the context of law and that he did nothing wrong and that the letter was intended to serve as information and not a mandate.

In his own defense, Cllr. Cephus told the Senate that he did what he did out of expediency and while the Minister was out of town. "I acted in pursuant to the Liberia Code of Law Revise penal code title 26: chapter 50.1.2."

However, Senators informed the Solicitor General that the provision quoted by him didn't give him the authority to implement and that power is only vested in the Supreme Court. And that chapter 3 of the same law gives the Justice Minister the power to inform the NEC every December the list of people of indicted and charged and not the Solicitor General.

On Friday, February 19, Solicitor General Sayma Syrenius Cephus wrote the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC) instructing her not to certificate Lofa County Senator-elect J. Brownie Samukai whose conviction by the lower court was recently affirmed by the Supreme Court.

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