MONROVIA-The Supreme Court of Liberia has put to rest the long standing electoral dispute emanating from the conduct of the December 8, 2020 election in Gbarma district, Gbarpolu County.
The High Court on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 ruled and mandated the National Elections Commission to proceed to pronounce the results of the December 8 election in the county.
On February 24, 2021 the Board of Commissioners of NEC ruled in a complaint filed by Alfred Koiwood of electoral violence against his female counterpart Botoe Kanneh of installing in the just ended election calling for a re-recount in 13 polling places in Gbarma District.
In the verdict, the board ruled against its Magistrate’s decision to dismiss Koiwood complain thereby calling for a full scale investigation to establish causes .
This ruling was objected to by Kanneh thereby taking an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Reading the opinion on behalf of the Supreme Court, Associate Justice Jamesatte Wolokollie agreed with the Gbarpolu County female Senator-elect legal team that the NEC lacks jurisdiction to preside over the alleged election violence in the area as it borders on criminality and that the Ministry of Justice had already taken cease of the matter.
She said: “NEC having invited the Ministry of Justice to take ceased of the matter, it should have dismissed the case on keeping with section 2.9(g) of the new election law especially where it border on criminality.”
Justice Wolokollie noted that only the Ministry of Justice had authority or power to probe into issue of violence and that the MOJ is yet to make any pronouncement of those suspected of the December 8 violence in the Nomadatuon Town.
“With the exception of the Nomadatuon Town in Gbarma District, there is no complain by the CDC Senatoral candidate Alfred Koiwood of electoral violence and irregularities in other areas within the district where the election was held,” she stated.
The Associate Justice said that the dismissal of Koiwood’s complaint by the NEC Magistrate does not in any way violate his right.
On the other hand, the high Court, ruled that there is no record of the Town Chief of Gbarma District filing a complaint with the election Magistrate in the district and that assuming the Town Chief had filed a formal complaint Alfred Koiwood is not in the position to raise any issue to that effect.
The court further holds that Koiwood filed no complain on behalf of the Town Chief.