Monrovia - Two incumbent lawmakers from Nimba County District #s 4 and 8 respectively, have lost complaint of alleged election mal-practices filed before the hearing officer of the National Elections Commission (NEC).
The pair has announced an appeal to the NEC Board of Commissioners.
The appeal by the two lawmakers follows a dismissal of their respective complaints by NEC hearing officer, Cllr. John Wonsehleay, on Monday and Tuesday, December 11 and 12, 2017.
Larry Younquoi of Nimba County District #8 who complaint was dismissed by NEC hearing officer Wonsehleay on Monday had earlier complained to the Commission that he contested in the October 10th Presidential and Representatives elections.
Incumbent lawmaker Younquoi stated that due to an alleged mal-practiced carried out by supporters of his closest rivals representative-elect Saye Mianeh of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), Mianeh was able to secure an excess vote of 19 above him through manipulation.
The Nimba lawmaker continued that based on the discovery of this alleged mal-practice, he was able to challenge the result at the level of the election body which halted the announcement of the winner from a district until there could be a recount as required by the election law.
The law states that whenever a vote among two contesting representative candidates is less than 50 votes there should be an automatic recount.
He stated that during the recount he (Youn quoi) was able to secure a win of 17 votes over his closest rival Saye Mianeh but Mianeh protested the 17 votes over him stating that the action exhibited by NEC to have a recount was illegal as the 2011 referendum calls for simple majority for candidate with the highest votes over his rival.
In his ruling to dismiss Younquoi’s complaint Monday, NEC hearing officer Cllr. Wonsehleay indicated that it was the ruling of the hearing officer that recount on the part of NEC was illegal therefore he had no option but to dismiss Younquoi’s complaint.
“Having followed the procedure for complaint as stated in the guidelines of the election, the October 10th result for Nimba County District #8 of 19 votes for Saye Mianeh is upheld and restored and the process of re-count by NEC is considered null and void,” Cllr Wonsehleay said.
While in District #4 of the same county, Representative Yealu indicated that he also contested in the October 10th Representative elections on the ticket of the People’s Unification Party (PUP) and claimed to have won the election but the result was allegedly altered by the election magistrate Princeton Monmia in favor of his rival Gunpee Kargon.
Rep. Yealu stated that Kargon during the election day allegedly carried out open campaign in contravention of the election law and used his own machine to fix voters cards in which five persons were arrested by the police and investigated without the report been announced up to present coupled with several other reported mal-practices.
His rival, through his legal counsel, rejected his complaint and called on the hearing officer to dismiss it because the allegation lacks proof.
However, in his ruling on Yealu case, hearing officer Wonsehleay said that after the two parties have produced witnesses and rested with both oral and documentary evidence the complaint failed to prove his case through supported evidence.
“It is the ruling of this hearing officer that upon the parties having rested with the oral and documentary evidence the complainant failed to prove his allegation, therefore the result of the October 10 polls announced by NEC in favor of Gunpue Kargon is upheld and is hereby so ruled,” said Cllr. John Wonsehleay, but the legal counsel of Yealu (Cllr. Jallah Barbu) took exception to the ruling and announced an appeal to NEC Board of Commissioners bringing to two the number of appeals arising from Nimba County election cases to the NEC Board of Commissioners.