‘NEC Tampered With Results, Not Me’ – Nimba County Magistrate
Monrovia – Princeton Monmia, Nimba County Elections Magistrate shocked many observers Tuesday, December 4, at the headquarters of the National Elections Commission (NEC) during an on-going hearing into complaint of alleged electoral mal-practices in Nimba County District #4.
Report by Kennedy L. Yangian, [email protected]
Testifying Tuesday, December 5, as one of two witnesses, Monmia, who has been in the center of the allegation, stated that at no time he ever changed any election results in the district’s representative election.
According to him, the result was changed at the headquarters of the National Elections Commission (NEC).
Monmia further said that after the elections were held in the district and votes counted, he posted all the results in the open and his deputy he didn’t name, scanned his observation report and forwarded it to the Office of the NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome G. Korkoyah, after he had requested for the report.
“I did not change any election result in the district, the votes were cast, the election results were released and later sent to Monrovia upon the instruction of Chairman Korkoyah. It was in Monrovia the result was changed but not in the district,” said Monmia during cross-examination by the petitioner’s lawyer Cllr. Jallah Barbu.
The Nimba County Election magistrate stated that the reports he placed on the board was quiet different from the one announced by the National Elections Commission (NEC) for the district’s representative seat in which representative candidate Gunpue Kargon was announced by NEC as a winner defeating incumbent lawmaker Garrison Yealue, which NEC initial election report from the district had placed as winner.
According to NEC final representative election result from Electoral District #4 in Nimba County, among 19 representative candidates, Kargon got 6,320 of the total votes representing 24.3% over the incumbent Harrison Yealu, who got 6,153 also of the total votes cast representing 23.8% the result the incumbent lawmaker Yealue has termed as fraudulent and challenged it before the National Election Commission (NEC).
Incumbent lawmaker Yealu said to NEC in his complaint that he was a representative candidate on the ticket of the People’s Unification Party (PUP) to contest for the Representative for Nimba County District #4 out of 19 candidates in the just-ended October 10 polls.
Lawmaker Yealue continued that as per NEC design, there were four polling centers in Precinct #33019 but on the day of voting there were ballot boxes for only three voting places in an orderly fashion until at about 4:30 p.m when one of the representative candidates, Rufus Zarlee, disrupted the entire process on ground that one of the polling boxes that was for the fourth center was not brought to the center.
According to Yealu, candidate Zarlee was arrested by the police for disrupting the electoral process interrogated, subsequently charged and sent to the Sanniquellie Magistrate Court with the matter now pending.
Representative candidate Yealue also stated in his complaint that NEC Magistrate Monmia was involved with altering election results especially in Precinct # 33019 in Bongarplay Town in Nimba County along with several other acts grossly inconsistent with the election laws, code of conduct and procedures of NEC.
The Nimba County District Representative Candidate further stated that three persons were arrested by the Liberia National Police (LNP) and during interrogation admitted that Gunpue had a machine that produced voting cards which was illegal and were used in the voting process and that the act on the part of Gunpue was sufficient not only to bar him (Gunpue) from the process but to have him prosecuted under the laws but all attempts by NEC officer to take this stand failed hereby allowing the perpetrator of the crime to be allowed to participate in the voting process.
“In view of the content of this complaint, we most respectfully indulge the NEC to order an investigation and order the three ballot boxes sealed and reserved for continuation of the voting on October 10 be considered or in the alternative grant the request,” said Cllr. Peter Howard, legal counsel for the petitioner.
However, the hearing officer at NEC Cllr. John Wonsehleah, announced final argument in the case on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 indicating that all parties in the case have rested with the production of both oral and documentary evidence.