Liberia: Supreme Court Denies, Sen. Karnga-Lawrence, Others, Prohibition on Bility’s Chairmanship of Liberty Party

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MONROVIA – The Justice-In-Chambers of the Supreme Court of Liberia Sien-Nye Yuoh, has denied a petition filed against the embattled Liberty Party National Chairman and Secretary-General by the party’s Political Leader Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence and other former executives over the alteration of the constitution of the LP.

It can be recalled that in February of this year, Senator Lawrence filed a lawsuit against Mr.  Bility and Martin Kollah over the alleged altering of the LP’s constitution.

Bility, Kollah as well as the National Elections Commission (NEC) were facing criminal charges for alleged forgery, criminal conspiracy, and criminal facilitation.

The complainants, including former officials of the Liberty Party, Sen. Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, Sen. Steve Zargo, and Mr. Jacob Smith alleged that the defendants connived and conspired as well as purposely, criminally and intentionally alter the constitution of the Liberty Party, following its convention and submitting said document to the National Elections Commission.

But at a conference held on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, the Justice-In-Chambers denied the petitioners’ request.

Justice Yuoh informed the parties that in the review of the claims presented by the Petitioners, she had reviewed the case file with all evidence presented by the Petitioners and conferred with Justice Jemima Wolokollie, the original Supreme Court Justice having jurisdiction over the case before she (Yuoh) took over as Justice in Chambers.

She also listened to information provided by legal counsel for both parties.

Justice Yuoh stated that the major question before her was whether or not the petitioners had met the legal requirement for requesting a prohibition against the defendants as the answer to this question would inform the Court whether or not the matter merited hearing or action at the Supreme Court level.

The Justice’s opinion was based on an examination of the case file and oral explanations given by all parties, that prohibition did not lie.

According to Justice Youh, the NEC has committed no errors in its handling of the LP case(s), and the multiple NEC rulings that the LP Constitution was valid pending an amendment through the LP procedures or unappealable ruling from a court of law were in line with established and know Political Party procedures.

She emphasized that the commission is not required to enforce the LP Farmington MOU, agreed to by both Parties, but rather to receive an amended Constitution from LP, reflecting that the agreements reached in the MOU had been implemented by the Parties themselves.

She ruled that the claim by the Petitioners that the NEC “facilitated” actions by the Defendants did not have merit.

Justice Youh maintained that since there was a pending case at NEC, which was still in testimony phase, there was no legal basis to bring an open matter to the Supreme Court nor to issue a prohibition against the parties.

Based on the above, Justice Yuoh informed the Parties that the Supreme Court was undivided in its opinion and that she was in agreement with Justice Wolokollie’s assessment of the Petitioners’ claims and found that the prayers in the petition were “non- justifiable”, meaning that the claims put forth were not capable of being decided by legal principles and therefore “no cognizable”, meaning that, as a result, the Supreme Court was not the rightful authority to hear such cases.

Justice Yuoh therefore suspended the case, putting an end to any further pursuance of the matter at the Supreme Court level.

The latest decision brings to a legal end the many claims that Senator Karnga and her supporters have brought regarding claims against the LP Constitution and leadership elected in January 2021.

It remains unclear whether or not the latest decision would mend the broken pieces and unite the LP ahead of the 2023 general and presidential elections in the country.

Already, the party is split over who to support in the pending elections.

The Senator Lawrence –faction of the party endorsed and supports the presidential ambition of the Standard Bearer of the former ruling Unity Party (UP), Joseph Nyuma Boakai while the Musa Bility-faction has endorsed the candidacy of the Political Leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Mr. Alexander Cummings.

The situation prompted the dissolution of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).

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