NEC Hearing Officer Accused of Shielding Nimba County Dist-4 Election Magistrate

NEC Hearing Officer Accused of Shielding Nimba County Dist-4 Election Magistrate

Monrovia - The row over the result of Nimba County District #4 Representative election is far from over as the National Elections Commission (NEC) Hearing Officer, Cllr. John Wonsehleay, has been accused of committing a reversible error after ruling into complaint of malpractices.

Report by Kennedy L. Yangian This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The accusation was contained in a 21-count Bill of Exception filed to the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC) by Nimba County District #4 Representative candidate and current lawmaker of the District, Rep. Garrison Yealue, against the ruling of Cllr. Wonsehleay. The NEC Board of Commissioners is set to hear in due course.

Lawmaker Yealue stated in his complaint to the election body hearing officer that he had contested the Nimba County District #4 Representative seat as an incumbent lawmaker in the October 10 polls on the ticket of the People’s Unification Party (PUP) and emerged as winner from the initial result posted by NEC local magistrate office in the district.

But the result was allegedly altered by the Election Magistrate in the district, Princeton Monmia, in favor of representative candidate Gunpue Kargon.

Magistrate Monmia, testifying before the hearing officer, denied ever altering election result of the district but rather told the hearing officer during his testimony that he discovered fraud in the election result from the district and informed NEC Chairman Korkoyah, who instructed him to scan the result and forward it to him which he did by the instruction of his boss.

“I discovered fraud in the election result of the district and was advised by my boss to scan the result and sent it to him and it was my boss Korkoyah, who changed the result and declared Gunpue winner of Nimba County District #4,” said Magistrate Monmia.

The Nimba lawmaker, through his legal counsel, also accused supporters of his opponent of violating elections campaign rules as to the ban on all elections, coupled with several other reported alleged countless discrepancies and violations relating to the conduct of the recount in Nimba District #4.

In his ruling after the hearing of the complaint, NEC Hearing Officer Cllr. John Wonsehley stated that complainant Yealue did not provide the quantum of evidence to prove the truthfulness of the allegations contain in his 18-count complaint in keeping with the New Elections Law regulations, procedures and rules.

“The final result announced by Chairman Jerome Korkoyah of the National Elections Commission on December 19, 2107 declaring and naming candidate Gunpue Kargon as the winner of the contest aforesaid is hereby upheld,” said Cllr. Wonsehleay.

In his Bill of Exception to the ruling, Yealue’s lawyer, Cllr. Peter Howard, and Jallah Barbu stated that NEC hearing officer allegedly committed  a reversible error when he denied appellant’s application for the writ of subpoena to compel the NEC tally staff named by co-defendant Kargon’s witness in person of Caroline Nimley so that said witness would rebut the testimony of witness Monmia that she willfully and criminally inflated complainant Garrison Yealue’s votes in polling place #1, Kpaglay Public School and conversely reduced the votes received by co-defendant Gunpue Kargon.

“Appelant avers and contends that hearing officer John Wonsehley committed reversible error when he dismissed the entire complaint of appellant despite the failure of NEC to defend its case as required under the laws of Liberia and its own regulations controlling the adjudication of  election disputes,” Cllrs. Howard and Barbu said.