Open Letter To The Supreme Court of Liberia

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Mr. Chief Justice,

I will first thank the Chief Justice Korpor that he has recently underscored the rights of the citizens of Liberia to the expression of their views in cases heard at the Supreme Court, as he puts it void of politics.

I have chosen this medium in frustration that some Lawyers, (especially young Lawyers) are intimidated by the so-called legal infallibility of the Court that representation of their clients are often sacrificed on the altar of legal fines and fear.  Others are just lumpen legal practitioners (with the exception of few) awaiting the first opportunity for a marriage to the ruling establishment.

The Supreme Court can now censure me, because I will express my opinion as an astute politician, diplomat and law maker. This is a punishment I am willing to take, though to the contrary, I am protected by the Constitution of Liberia, Article 15(a).

                                                My Case

   Part I.                                 The National Election Commission

On July 20, 2020

We filed with the NEC a petition for Declaratory Judgement. 

  1. The reason we went to the Nation Elections Commission was to ensure the respect for the frame work document known as the Coalition Agreement and an interpretation in Article 7(g) an incumbency clause that gives to Constituent Political Party the right to nomination of seats.

On August 7, 2020

After a lengthy hearing, the Hearing Officers at NEC to whom the case was assigned ruled in Our Favor to wit:

“The Petitioner’s petition for Declaratory Judgement and for the Interpretation and its Enforcement of a Provision of the Coalition Agreement are hereby upheld as per our holdings contained herein…”

Coalition announced an appeal to the Board of Commissioners.

On August 31, 2020

Again, the BOC ruled in our Favor stating thus:

“That the agreement of the political parties filed with and, the NEC in connection with their request for coalition status constitutes a binding agreement and, in order to ascertain compliance, the NEC has authority to hear a matter arising out of or relating to the said agreement:

“That having alleged facts in his petition to demonstrate he has a tangible interest at stake in this matter, Senator H. Dan Morais, a member of the NPP, legal capacity/standing to sue in this matter, and:

“December 8, 2020 special senatorial election in Maryland County on the Coalition’s ticket belongs solely to the National Patriotic Party (NPP), using its internal party rules/procedures….”

Coalition Announced An  Appeal to the Supreme Court

 This means obviously, that this matter has left the jurisdiction of the NEC after August 31, 2020.

On September 1, 2020

The Key Electoral Dates  was published by NEC that announced the commencement of Candidates Nomination Period.

                      These were dates which are extremely significant for Analysis:

  • The CDC (Coalition) on September 1, 2020 went at the NEC and collected the 2020 Senatorial Electoral Package of the NPP, Maryland County.
  • On September 8, 2020, I personally appeared before the NEC’s Political Officer, Mr. Ignatius Wesseh and requested my package since indeed I was given the Green Light by NEC’s ruling. I was told that the Coalition had the documents.
  • On September 2020, the NPP wrote the chairman of the Coalition to return the NPP’s Maryland County Package (attached as exhibit # 2)
  • On Friday, September 19, 2020, one working day before the announced date of the period of Nomination ending, finding no immediate solution in sight I opted to meet the deadline of September 21, 2020 by initiating the process of Independent Candidate on the Provisional Listing.
  • On Monday, September 21, 2020, Minister of State, Nathaniel McGill appeared personally at NEC to influence the name of James Pobee Biney being placed on the list
  • On September 21, 2020 the Nomination Period for Candidates Closed without the Supreme Court Opinion on the Appeal of the CDC.
  • On September 22, 2020 the Provisional List of Candidates was published by NEC. The surprise was to see Mr. James Pobee Biney name was published as the CDC candidate and my name as an independent candidate  (see attachment Marked exhibit #3).

Part II.       The Supreme Court of Liberia

On September 28, 2020

The Supreme Court heard the case. These were my disbeliefs:

  • The Supreme Court prides itself as a Constitutional Court; Law and Procedures. The basis of CDC appeal was received and docketed for hearing meaning the issues for contestation was established by both sides. That there could be no other issues except that which were before them.
  • On the day of the hearing, we were ambushed by a submission from the CDC that they wanted to spread a so-called document they got from the Clerk of the NEC that I had registered as an Independent candidate
  • The acceptance of that document by a Supreme Court that does not take evidence opened a Pandora Box.
  • The Supreme Court knowing the route to Legal submission of information which of course is a properly filed Bill of Information through the Clerk of the Supreme, decided then and there it would set aside the rule. (I was warned by Legal luminaries if that was successful my case was dead.)
  • The certificate presented in open court was dated September 25, 2020 and the hearing was scheduled for September 28, 2020. The CDC Legal counsel had enough time to file a Bill of Information with the Clerk of Court. This action was deliberate and in concert with some members of the Supreme Court Bench.

On October 10, 2020       

Final List of Certificated candidate was published. Mr. James Pobee Biney of the NPP name was listed as a certificated candidate of the CDC. On the same date Campaign was officially opened.

  • Interestingly, this decision was made by NEC while the Supreme Court had not ruled.

On October 15, 2020

The case was decided and the Opinion of the Court Delivered by Madam Justice Youh:

            “During the hearing of this case, a submission was made by the counsel representing the appellant bringing to our attention that the appellant has registered with the NEC as an independent senatorial candidate for Maryland County. The appellant’s counsel presented in open court a certificate dated September 25, 2020 purporting to be proof of the appellee’s registration with the NEC. The obvious intent of the submission of the appellant’s counsel was to consider this case moot, if it is established that the appellee has registered as an independent candidate and is no longer a candidate of the NPP.

            “The counsel representing the appellee, in response to the submission made by the counsel for the appellant, denied knowledge of the allegation and the purported certificate, showing that the appellee had registered as an Independent Candidate of the NPP.

            “On this issue, we say that the NEC, being the custodian of all records, documents, certificates, and other paraphernalia pertaining to elections throughout the bailiwick of the Republic is better situated to establish the veracity of the submission. This means that in the event that the NEC records show that the appellee has indeed registered as an independent candidate and no longer a candidate of the NPP, then and in that case, this matter becomes. And, if the contrary is established then the NEC shall proceed to conduct an investigation in keeping with this Opinion.

“WHEREFORE AND IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the ruling of the Board of Commissioners of the NEC, which affirmed the ruling of its Hearing Panel, is reversed, and the case is remanded to the NEC to conduct an investigation into the appellee’s complaint and the returns thereto in keeping with the holdings contained in this Opinion. The Clerk of this Court is ordered to send a mandate to the National Elections Commission to give effect to this Opinion. AND IT IS HEREBY SO ORDERED.        Case Remanded.”

               The Case Is Remanded To The NEC

Mr. Chief Justice, the Oxford and Merriam-Webster define REMANDED as: “to order back: such as

  1. : to send back (a case) to another court or agency for further action
  2. :  to return to custody pending trial or for further determination

The Constitution of Liberia, Article 66 states that “the Supreme Court is final arbiter of Constitutional issues and exercise final appellate jurisdiction in all cases………”

I need not be a Lawyer to understand that the Supreme Court has been conspicuously silent on the execution of a mandate by the NEC and thereby not exercising final appellate jurisdiction in my case.

                                          The Irony

  1. “…The NEC to conduct an investigation into the appellee’s complaint and the returns thereto in keeping with the holdings contained in this Opinion.”
  2. The NEC invited our Lawyers for the Reading of the Mandate and were told that they will be informed of the investigation in keeping with the Opinion. This was never done to date.
  3. …….. Registered as an Independent Candidate And No Longer A Candidate of the NPP, then and in this Case, this matter becomes moot.
  4. The Complainant, H. Dan Morais, was never registered as A Candidate of the NPP for the ensuing Special Senatorial Election 2020
  5. As matter of fact this was the complaint brought before the NEC seeking the right to be the NPP candidate and subsequently that of the CDC using the Coalition Agreement, 7(g) and Article XXX
  • Though the Hearing Panel and The Board of Commissioners ruled consequently to that effect, but the announcement of an Appeal before the Supreme Court by the CDC meant a stay order.
  • Consequently, the appellee was denied nomination documents by the NEC and subsequently denied by the CDC
  • Yet the Election Fraud went on to the participation of one James Pobee Biney on the ticket of the CDC in the 2020 Senatorial Election.
  • It is worth Noting that the Case at the Supreme Court was not taken there by the appellee

CONCLUSION

Mr. Supreme Court, you knew exactly what you were doing by finding ambiguity in the ruling of the NEC’s BOC where there was none for the following reasons:

  • The issue of intra party dispute was never before the Supreme Court brought by the CDC who took flight to the Court on Appeal
  • The Ruling Panel and BOC could not investigate further what was not asked for by CDC. What was prayed for was sufficiently dealt with as per my complaint – the interpretation of 7(g) and Article XXX by the Hearing Panel and the BOC (Board of Commissioners).

BOC further expanded this by citing in its decision: “December 8, 2020 special senatorial election in Maryland County on the Coalition’s ticket belongs solely to the National Patriotic Party (NPP), using its internal party rules/procedures….”

In your reference to mootness, you were fully aware that Mr. James Pobee Biney, Acting Chairman of the NPP had unilaterally (see all NEC and NPP documents with the commission) placed himself on the NPP ticket thereby claiming the right to the NPP’s CDC nomination. This was the crux of my request for interpretation at the NEC, therefore, I could not have been on the NPP’s ticket 2020 Senatorial Elections. You closed your eyes to that reality and requested an investigation in my complaint.  Justice would have been for both parties to be treated equally.

Mr. Supreme Court, your Mandate to the National Election Commission to “investigate my complaint” has not been fully executed and this has further injured me by the participation of a foreign agent in the 2020 Senatorial Election.

Beware of the “Isle of March” for the “Hands of God” (Emmett Harmon, Chairman of the Election Commission – former) is looming on the horizon.

As a politician, this is how we do ours,

Sincerely yours,

Sen Ambassador H. Dan Morais

Complainant

February 10, 2021

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