MONROVIA – Tensions flared at the National Elections Commission headquarters on Tuesday as the ongoing electoral dispute between Representative-elect Anthony F. Williams and outgoing Speaker Bhofal Chambers took another twist. The dispute, which centers around the outcome of the recent elections in Electoral District 2, Pleebo Sodoken District, reached a pivotal point as Speaker Bhofal Chambers continues to pull strings in his fight to have the result overturned.
Speaker Chambers, represented by a team of lawyers led by the Global Magnitsky sanctioned lawyer, Cllr. Syrena Cephus, filed several motions and requested an amendment to the proceedings. The motions presented were as follows:
A motion requesting the magistrate’s recusal from the case.
A motion to relocate the proceedings from Pleebo, citing concerns about the location’s conduciveness and potential prejudice from local citizens.
A motion to amend the existing case to include additional arguments and pieces of evidence.
In response, Rep-elect Williams’ legal team argued the following points:
They challenged the motion for the magistrate’s recusal, asserting that Chambers failed to present any conflict of interest that would warrant such a request.
Williams’ legal team accepted the motion for relocation, given that the case was already being heard at the NEC headquarters, and rejected the claims of an unconducive environment and prejudiced citizens.
They contested the motion to amend the complaint, citing Section 8.1(a) of the 2023 Hearing Regulations and Procedures, which allows amendments only before the commencement of the hearing or investigation.
The NEC’s magistrate subsequently ruled on these motions:
The motion to recuse the hearing officer was denied due to the absence of any cited conflict of interest, and because the hearing had already commenced when it was prematurely filed in Pleebo, Maryland County.
The motion for relocation was granted since the proceedings had already been moved to the NEC headquarters. The relocation was not based on the complainant’s reasons related to the conduciveness of the location or citizen prejudice.
The motion to amend the pleading was denied in accordance with Section 8.1(a) of the 2023 Hearing Regulations and Procedures, which limits amendments to before the commencement of the hearing or investigation.
Following these rulings, the magistrate instructed the complainant to provide witnesses for the next hearing scheduled for November 8, 2023, at 1 pm. These witnesses were required to speak on separate accounts of what they know regarding the electoral process. The complainant’s legal team agreed to provide eight witnesses for the upcoming hearing, along with a detailed list of the topics each witness would cover during their testimonies.