Liberia: Pres. Weah Turns Down Plea to Intervene in Samukai’s Case; Says He Can’t Interfere with The Law
FOYA DISTRICT, Lofa County – President George Mannah Weah has said the ongoing case involving Brownie Samukai is a legal matter and any attempt by him to Interfere with the workings of the judiciary branch would be a bad precedence for his government.
“The judiciary is a separate branch of government, so, we should allow it carry out its functions. Dictating to the judiciary would be a violation of the rule of law and I’m prepared to do that,” President Weah said.
“Brownie Samukai and I have come a very long way. We consider each other as ‘brothers’. I pity the situation he finds himself, but there is nothing I can do about it”.
President Weah added: “Before the ruling of the Supreme Court Samukai and I met and discussed, and he said he was going to address whatever comes out of the Supreme Court ruling”.
President Weah was responding to an appeal made to him by members of the Lofa County Legislative Caucus, about using his influence to prevail on the judiciary branch to allow the National Election Commission certificate Samukai.
Speaking on behalf of the caucus, District One lawmaker Francis Nyumali said the county has been under represented at the Liberian Senate, a situation he said stalling developments in the county.
He said the certification of Samukai would bring joy to the county. “This has been a burning situation for residents of Lofa County and we thought this was the perfect time we bring this to your attention. So many of us feel hurt that our county hasn’t been fully represented at the Liberian Senate; against that we want to appeal to you in this public manner to use your influence to ensure our senator is certificated,” he said.
Samukai received the most votes in the December 8, 2020 senatorial elections. Of the 11 candidates who vied for the Lofa County senatorial seat, Samukai received 20, 431 votes, followed by Independent candidate Cllr Joseph Jallah with 13,968 votes.
Samukai has received mixed rulings with the Supreme Court since he won the senatorial seat in Lofa. Recently, the Supreme Court reserved ruling in the ongoing case involving Samukai and the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC).
The court’s decision comes after lawyers representing Samukai filed an appeal to the full bench, stating that Judge Joseph Nagbe’s ruling was bias.
Samukai’s lawyers prayed for the Supreme Court to deny the Writ of Prohibition and allow the certification of Samukai. In the ruling, Judge Nagbe noted that at no time did the Supreme Court order the National Elections Commission to certificate Samukai, but to rather announce the final results of the December 8, 2020 elections.
On February 24, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Samukai in an electoral dispute case filed by three of his rivals, claiming irregularities and fraud in Lofa County District 4.
On February 8, 2021, the Criminal Court ‘C’ found Samukai, former deputy minister for administrator Joseph F. Johnson and former Comptroller of the Ministry of National Defense, J. Nyumah Dorkor guilty of misappropriating US$ 1.3 million from the Armed Forces of Liberia Compulsory Contributing that was deposited at Eco Bank Liberia.
Samukai and his lawyers appealed the case. Judge Yarmie Gbeisay said the government didn’t produce evidence to convict Samukai and his two former deputy ministers of money laundering and economic sabotage.
But the Supreme Court in its decision upholding the lower court’s guilty verdict said all public officials and employees shall obey all unlawful instructions issued to them by their supervisors and they shall be held responsible for acts of commission or omission as in the case of the corruption verdict.
The court found: “That the defendant is guilty of misuse of public funds when he disposes, use, or transfer any interest or property which is entrusted to him as of. That there is unrefuted evidence gathered from the record of the case”.
Samukai and co-defendants represented by Cllr G. Wiefuah Alfred Saye, Cllr J. Augustine Toe and Ruth Jappah pleaded not guilty to the indictment charges.