-As Supreme Court Resolves Election Disputes
By R Joyclyn Wea
The Supreme Court of Liberia had finally put to rest the long-standing district #4, Nimba county electoral saga by confirming and affirming NEC’s decision declaring Gunpue Kargon as the winner of that district.
The high court finally ruled in favor of Gunpue Kargon, one of those contestants against former representative Garrison Yealue and also a major contender in the 2017 district #4 Nimba county representative elections.
This judgment by the high court had finally brought to an end, the electoral crisis.
Reading the court’s judgment, Associate Justice Philip A. Z. Banks noted that the Supreme Court has reviewed the records of the consolidated bill of information and appeal cases and the facts and circumstances presented therein, listened to arguments and contentions advanced by the parties and examined the laws controlling; being satisfied that the 1st co-appellee NEC did not err in executing the mandate of the Supreme Court.
The court in its February 9, 2018 ruling directed the NEC to conduct a reexamination of the raw data tally sheets signed by the parties and their representatives, something Yealue’s contested was not adhere to by the NEC and sees it as disrespect on the part of the commission.
Accordingly, the ex-representative filed two separate complaints (appeal and bill of information) with the high court informing that body among other things that its mandate was not properly carriedout by the NEC as instructed in its February 9, 2018, verdict.
As a result, the court again summoned the parties in the legal proceedings to appear and answer to the informant bill of information and appeal and following that ruling was reserved for April 12, 2018
Based upon the arguments from all parties, the single issue the court raised determinative of the matter is “whether or not NEC erred in carrying out the mandate of the court; the court answered in the negative.
The court stated that its mandate was clear in its face. the court said that the magistrate erred in effecting the change without the presence of Yealue and it was based upon this that the court called for the reexamination of the raw data sheet to be compared with the computer printout.
The court judgment further added no one complaint about the conduct of elections in Kpaglay polling place #1 and that if NEC has had a recount in that polling place, it would have been a violation of the court’s mandate.
The court added that the parties role was to participate and the board’s mandate of recount was contained in its citation was an error which was alluded to by NEC in its brief.
The court also holds that its mandate was misread by the informant or appellant and that there was nowhere in the records that NEC improperly executed the court’s mandate as contested by the informant.
Justice Banks further indicated that the case filed by Garrison Yealue against the National Elections Commission and his rival Gunpue Kargon for elections malpractices and protest against the final result lacks legal basic and does not have any merit.
that the ruling by the board of commissioners of the NEC affirming the report of the reexamination of the raw data tally sheet and declaring Gunpue Kargon as winner in the representative elections of district #4 Nimba county is affirmed; therefore, the bill of information filed and the appeal taken from the final ruling of the NEC being without merit are denied and dismissed.”
Meanwhile, the district #4 winners is expected to be certificated on today Monday, April 16, 2018, at the conference hall of the National Election Commission (NEC) on 9th street in Sinkor.
This follows an instruction from Associate Justice Banks that the NEC precedes with the certification of Gunpue Kargon as the winner of the 2017 representative election in district #4 Nimba County.
“the certification shall be retroactive to the date Gunpue should have been sworn in office as member of the House of Representatives, entitling him to receive and enjoy all rights and privileges inclusive of salary, allowances, emoluments, and other benefits as of the date he should have been seared and assumed said office, but for the pendency of the instant proceedings,” the SC said.