The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs has for the first time reacted to speculations and criticisms from some quarters of the society that the government is behind the delay in the certification of Lofa County Senator-elect Brownie J. Samukai.
Speaking Monday, March 15, 2021 to Bana FM at his residence along the RIA highway, Nathaniel Farlo McGill terms as foolishness and bullshit those accusing the government of manipulating the non-certification of Samukai.
Minister McGill said the law that is now preventing Samukai from being certificated was never crafted during the administration of President Dr. George Manneh Weah, but crafted in 1976.
He said it is complete foolishness for anyone to insinuate that the government is preventing Samukai from being certificated.
McGill said Samukai's certification is placed on hold because of the 1976 law that prevent a convict from taking elected post and has nothing to do with this government as being speculated.
Asked whether the president ever committed himself to paying the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) pension money during a meeting with former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, McGill said at no time did President Weah promise to pay the soldiers' money.
He explained that the government took the initiative to begin paying the AFL money in order to ensure that the soldiers do not stage mutiny, adding that it was not their negligent.
"We paid some because we are the government; the army worked for this country and if someone used their money and is no longer in government; we are the government; we can't say let the people go after him... we intervened and hold the people accountable... now the court says he should pay so he has to pay... " McGill stated.
Continuing, McGill asked "... that the president wrote the law? The law is plain and simple... for anybody to say that, that's complete foolishness and bullshit; you can get up and say the president is running behind someone... he was not the one that wrote the law; that law can even prevent me or anyone tomorrow; Samukai has to pay the money... "
He disclosed that the government negotiated with Samukai prior to going to court for him to pay the money, but he chose to go to court and he was found guilty, so he has to pay.
McGill wondered why the government at the time did not take money from the budget but chose to take the AFL money which was not meant for the purpose it was used?
He further said it is unacceptable for officials to hide behind the instruction of the president to do things that are wrong.
Recently, Justice Minister Frank Musah Dean wrote the National Elections Commission (NEC) informing it about the conviction of Samukai and the law that prevents him from being certificated. Cllr. Dean writes: "We presents our compliments, and consistent with section 3.23 of the New Election Law, herewith inform of the attached final Judgment of the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia, affirming the Judgment of Guilt against Messrs. J. Brownie Samukai, Joseph H. Johnson and Nyumah Dorgbor, for the commission of the crimes of theft of property, misuse of public money and criminal conspiracy."
"Further, may we inform you, it is the law extant in our jurisdiction that any person convicted of a felony, committed in connection with his employment as a public servant is disqualified from holding public office until the sentence is served and/or the satisfaction of any other penalty imposed. For reliance, please see: Penal law, 4LCLR, title 26, Section 50.12 (b) (1976) and 1986 Constitution of Liberia, Article 21(j)," he concluded.
It can be recalled that the Supreme Court of Liberia last month confirmed and affirmed the ruling of Criminal Court "C" convicting Samukai along with two of his deputies for stealing over one million United States dollars from AFL personal account.
Delivering the ruling, Associate Justice Yusiff D. Kaba said the trial of the then Judge of Criminal Court "C" Judge Yamie Qui-qui Gbeisay was affirmed with modifications that Samukai, Joseph P. Johnson and Nyumah Dorgbor are to serve two years in a common jail.
Justice Kaba however, suspended the sentence of the three convicts provided they restitute the amount of US$1,147,656.35 or pay 50% within the period of six months and thereafter enter appropriate arrangements to pay the remaining portion in one calendar year.
He said if Samukai along with his deputies fails or refuses to restitute the amount, then they shall be incarcerated until the full amount is paid as provided by law.