Supreme Court Rules Out Fraud in Sinoe County District 2 By-election

Temple of Justice, Monrovia — The Supreme Court has ruled out electoral fraud in the complaint filed by Othello Doe Nagbe in the December 8 by-election for District 2 in Sinoe County.

The high court said the complaint alleging electoral fraud and irregularities is a mere allegation.

The high court made judgement in the case on Thursday, March 29, 2021.

The Court then ordered the National Elections Commission to resume jurisdiction over the matter.

Mr. Nagbe contested on the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) ticket in the Sinoe County’s District#2 by-election that was held in December 2020 to fill the vacancy left behind by the late Rep. J. Nagbe Sloh.

Late Rep. J. Nagbe Sloh died on June 30, 2020 at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital after a brief illness.

Reading the Supreme Court’s judgement, Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh said candidate Nagbe complaint filed to the high court alleging fraud and irregularities is a mere allegation.

Associate Justice Yuoh said the appellant (Nagbe) had no standing to seek legal remedy on behalf of voters who were allegedly disenfranchised as a result of the late opening of polls in the district election.

Associate Justice Yuoh also added that appellant Nagbe showed no evidence to substantiate his allegations of fraud and irregularities.

“That the appellant had no standing to seek legal remedy on behalf of voters allegedly disenfranchised as a result the late opening, absent proof of authorization; and that the appellant has shown no evidence of his allegation of disenfranchised voters in his ‘Stronghold’. Therefore, same is speculative, doubtful, and uncertain and has no factual or legal basis.”

Associate Justice Yuoh adds: “Wherefore and in view of the forgoing, the ruling of the Board of Commissioners of the NEC, which confirmed the ruling of the Elections Magistrate regarding the by-election conducted in District#2, Sinoe County dismissing the appellant’s complaint is hereby affirmed. The Clerk of this court is ordered to send a mandate to the NEC to resume jurisdiction over this case and give effect to this judgment.”

 The Supreme Court judgment grew out of a complaint filed to the high court on December 9, 2020 by MOVEE’s representative candidate Othello Doe Nagbe against the NEC and the CDC’s representative candidate Sampson Q. Wiah.

In the complaint, Nagbe alleged that there were several fraud and irregularities during the conduct of the election in the Sinoe county District#2 voting precincts Nana Kru, Tuczon Burg and others area in the district.

Based on the alleged fraud and irregularities, candidate Nagbe requested the Election Magistrate in the county to conduct a re-run in the entire district.

But the election magistrate denied his request, thereby prompting him to take an appeal to the NEC Board of commissioner during which time his appeal was also denied, thereby seeking the high court intervention of the high court.

Nagbe also alleged that ballot boxes were placed in isolation; voters were denied of voting due to the late arrival of ballot boxes and the late opening of polling precincts during conduct of the election which is in violation of sections 4.8.2, 5.9 and 4.11 of the new Elections law of Liberia as well as article 77(b) of the 1986 Constitution.

But in the high court judgment, Associate justice Yuoh said the late opening of polls do not amount to election irregularities and warrant a re-run.

“While the New Elections Law mandates that polls shall open from 8am-6pm, it is a known fact that the electoral process in Liberia is fraught with problems of inadequate resources and logistics. Hence, the late opening of the polling places in district#2, Sinoe County beyond 8am by no means impacted the outcome of the election.”

She added: that the overriding objective of the Elections Law is a secured, transparent, and accurate determination of the results of the election. In order to achieve this objective, voters must be allowed to exercise their right to vote and be disenfranchised. Hence, the polls remaining opened beyond 6 pm affording voters the opportunity to cast their votes due to the late opening of the polls do not amount to election irregularities to warrant a re-run.”

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