Samukai Trouble Deepens

MONROVIA-The “political” legal fight between Lofa County County Senator-elect Brownie Samukai and the Liberian government has deepened to the point that Supreme Court Justice in Chambers, Joseph Nagbe has ordered his certification process halted.
Justice Nagbe order says until the former Defense Minister and others restitute more than One Million United States Dollars misappropriated from the Armed Forces of Liberia salaries account, his certification should be on hold.
The Justice in Chambers instructed the Supreme Court Clerk to Communicate with the National Elections Commission not to certificate Mr. Samukai until he and the other defendants can pay the AFL embezzled funds.
The Associate Justice handed-down the ruling Tuesday, May 4,2021 when he responded to statements from the National Elections Commission.
The Elections Commission in its statements to the Supreme Court Justice in Chambers maintained that the Petitioner Movement for Progressive Change did not have the legal authority to file a writ of Prohibition, and for a single Justice to overturn the full bench decision which initially instructed NEC to proceed with the Certification process following a case that was filed by some Lofa citizens.
The petitioner further explained that the respondent Samukai being convicted by the first Judicial Circuit for Montserrado County, Criminal Court ‘C’ for the Crimes of theft of Property, Criminal Conspiracy and misused of public funds, which final ruling the Supreme Court Affirmed in the court’s opinion had on February 8, following an appeal filed before the court.
” He is a convicted felon whose civil liberties are ceased for committing the Crimes as charged; hence, he cannot occupy and serve in a public office as Senator- elect of Lofa county until the disability is removed; that is, by serving the sentence and certifying the penalty imposed by the trial court and subsequently affirmed by the Supreme Court,” the petitioners added.
Upon the filing of the petition, justice Nagbe issued a stay order on the NEC and cited the parties to a conference on March 9.
Following the conference, Justice Nagbe ordered the alternative writ for prohibition issued against the Respondents herein and further ordered the clerk of the court to notify said respondents to file their respective return on or before March 16.
Justice Nagbe explained that if the NEC were to proceed to certificate Samukai as senator- elect for Lofa county, he would be seated as senator who was convicted by the court and which conviction has imposed upon him a disability that can be removed by serving the sentence and fully satisfying the penalty, therefore suspended sentence by operation of law does not vitiate the Crime so committed.
Justice Nagbe noted that the statutory law on disqualification or forfeiture contained in the penal code and the 1986 constitution already cited supra are intended to punish crimes so committed.
He furthered that,” in this case, the law provides specifically in section 50.12 and Articles 21(j) of the constitution that Samukai must forfeit the holding of a public office until the sentence is full satisfied the amount of US$ 1,147,656.35 is fully restituted.”
The Associate also said that the law extant require that any official of government, whether in the Legislature, executive or Judiciary must take oath before taking upon the duties of the office to which he/ she is be elected or appointed.

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