Liberia: Can Lofa County Senator-elect Samukai Pay US$191,276.05 To Take His Seat?


The fate of Lofa County Senator-elect, Brownie J. Samukai, Jr (along with his two colleagues), which was read-out in the mandate of the Supreme Court on 24 February 2021, arising from the verdict of the Supreme Court in the earlier criminal case against the above-named persons, now hingers on whether Senator-elect Samukai will pay his 50% share of USD383,552.10, which is equivalent to USD$191,276.05 before or by the end of the deadline on 25 August, 2021.  Everyone is watching whether Samukai and his supporters will meet up with this time-bound mandate to pay.

Even before the opening of the August Term of Criminal Court “C”, and without taking his seat, the new Judge ………, has already made a political brouhaha on Samukai’s head.  The new Judge of Criminal Court
“C” not waiting for any of the party litigants to file any BOI or query to the court, took upon himself and ordered the Clerk of Court of Criminal Court “C” on 5 August 2021 to issue Notice of Assignment for Samukai and his colleagues along with their lawyers to appear before him on August 26th 2021 at 11:00a.m. for what he called Post Trial Conference.  Our investigation shows that both the Government prosecuting lawyers and lawyers for defendant Samukai have denied filing anything to this Judge and to Criminal Court “C” to raise this issue of a posttrial conference.  The new Judge of Criminal Court “C” seem to be in a desperate hurry to become famous by such pre-emptive action.  It raises the question about the true intent of the Judge, whose action may be interpreted as continuation of targeted political witch-hunt against the Lofa County Senator-elect.

You may recall that after the mandate of the Supreme Court was read on 24 February 2021, the six-months clock for compliance of payment began to tick.  Friends of Samukai along with other prominent Lofa Citizens, and other Liberians in the diaspora, announced and began a fundraising campaign to raise the amount of USD$191,276.06 as the 50% portion for Senator-elect Samukai.   Subsequently, we have learned that two payment initiatives were publicly made when Friends of Samukai raised the amount of about USD$12,200.00 and presented the manager checks to Criminal Court “C” as initial payment for Senator-Elect Samukai.  Since then, very little has been heard of further payments.  The deadline is now fast approaching, August 25, 2021. 

There is very deep suspicion that the Supreme Court is linking the compliance of substantial payment or complete payment of USD$191,276.05 by defendant Senator-elect Samukai, to its final ruling in the writ of prohibition filed by Simeon Freeman of the MPC, and the Government of President Dr. George M. Weah, against the certification of Lofa County Senator-elect Brownie J. Samukai by the National Elections Commission.  This unstated linkage by the Supreme Court seems legally bizarre with deep political suspicion, because the final verdict of the Supreme Court did not disenfranchised Senator-elect Samukai from political activities, neither did the Supreme Court set any precondition for said certification.

The Supreme Court unanimous decision did not impose any restrain on Samukai and his co-defendants, neither did it set any precondition that went beyond the wordings of its mandate, which is pay 50% within six months, and the balance paid thru arrangements with the lower court.  Nothing in it set any precondition for certification. 

The visible and questionable delay of the final ruling of the Supreme Court on the writ of prohibition against the certification of Lofa County Senator-elect Samukai has raised eyebrows on the credibility of the dispensation of justice for the people of Lofa.   This action of wanton delay in this final ruling by the Supreme Court is once again evidence as to one of the reasons why our international partners have called out on this Supreme Court to be independent, impartial and void of political interference. 

It is clear as day light that the action by Justice Nagbe, as a single Justice in Chambers, has no legal basis absolutely whatsoever to issue a writ of prohibition stopping the implementation of the mandate of the majority opinion of the Supreme Court for the National Elections Commission to proceed – with the certification of Senator-elect Samukai.  This action by Justice Nagbe clearly shows what will happen in the Supreme Court, and the kind of opinion that will be coming out of the Supreme Court if and when Justice Nagbe is nominated to become Chief Justice after Justice Korkpor retires sometime next year.

 A single chamber justice cannot undo the majority opinion of the Supreme Court. To allow such action to stand can only be described as hogwash of justice. 

The creeping delay by the Supreme Court in its final ruling in the case of the Lofa County Senator Elect Brownie Samukai is once again bordering on a precedence that will set justice aside and allow political garbage for a single Justice (Justice Nagbe) to stop the implementation of the mandate of the majority opinion of the Supreme Court.  To allow such action will once again demonstrate the blatant miscarriage of justice, for which the Supreme Court will have exposed itself to suspicion of unequal justice and political interference.

Nevertheless, it is obvious that the clock is ticking and that some people within the Government and opponents of Samukai, who are hell bent on denying the people of Lofa County their Senator-Elect, are hoping, waiting and sweating that Senator-elect Brownie Samukai will default in meeting the 6 months mandate for payment. 

Equally so, Samukai and his supporters must note that failure to be in full compliance with the mandate of the Supreme Court to pay USD191,276.05 on or before 25 August, will put him in a precarious situation of possibly not taking his seat and subjecting himself to incarceration. 

What it means is that Lofa County Senator-elect Brownie J. Samukai, Jr., and all those who support him, including Friends of Samukai, supporters in Lofa County and elsewhere, and those who want to see this tough taking, no nonsense, longest serving former Minister of National Defense take his seat in the Senate, should now come up with the balance of USD179,076.05 to add up to reach the amount USD191,276.05 as his share of 50% payment before or by the deadline on August 25, 2021.  One may safely assume that the questionable delay by the Supreme Court to give its final ruling on the writ of prohibition against Lofa County Senator-Elect Brownie Samukai Certification by NEC, now hingers solely, squarely and preconditioned on compliance with full payment of USD$191,276.05, by defendant Senator-elect Brownie Samukai on or before 25 August 2021 at 16:00hrs.