Liberia: Supreme Court Denies former Defense Minister from Taking Elected Senate Seat

Supporters of former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai address the news media Friday after the Supreme Court came down with a ruling deny the Lofa County Senator-elect from taking his seat.

Monrovia – The Supreme Court of Liberia has ruled in favor of the Ministry of Justice in its petition filed against the certification of former Defense Minister Samukai, who was recently elected Senator of vote-rich Lofa County.

This means that based on the petition filed by the government, the minister is a convict who is due to pay AFL pension money and should not be certificated.

Late Thursday, some prominent citizens of Lofa, Nimba, and others from the southeast in the Diaspora, as well as some Liberian business persons contributed nearly USD$182,000 and presented same to the Friends of Lofa County-Senator-Elect Brownie J. Samukai.

The amount represented the former defense minister’s share of 50% required by the court (USD$191,276.05).

FrontPageAfrica reported Monday the former Defense Minister’s fate, along with his two colleagues, which was read-out in the mandate of the Supreme Court on February 24, 2021.

The matter arose 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.

FrontPageAfrica early Friday morning observed the presence of riot police officers in the compound of the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, as the Supreme Court is expected to give a final ruling in the case, Movement for Progress Change, by and through Simeon Freeman versus National Election Commission and J. Brownie Samukai.

Judicial reporters said it is not a normal phenomena to see the huge presence of riot police officers during such a case. According to reporters, only when crucial decisions is being taken that you observe the presence of riot police at the court.

Earlier, a constitutional argument filed by the Movement for Progressive Change(MPC) on grounds that Samukai is a convict and most not be certificate to serve at the National Legislature, was denied by the court.

Samukai and others indicted by the court were requested to pay 50 percent of the US1.3 Million, but the former Defense Minister personally paid US$174 Thousand.

According to Judicial analysts, Samukai is not exempted from the remaining amount slated to be paid on the 26 of August or face a jail sentence.