An application seeking to declare the Senatorial Seat of Lofa County vacant has surfaced before the Supreme Court of Liberia for determination.
Some citizens of Lofa County have filed a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus before the Justice Presiding in Chamber at the Supreme Court consistent with Chapter 16, Section 16.21 of the Civil Procedure Law of Liberia.
This follows the High Court’s August 20, Judgment which mandated the National Elections Commission not to certificate ex-defense Minister Brownie Samukai as Senator of Lofa County until his disability penalty is removed by the dictate of the law.
The petitioners’ lawyers led by two former Attorney Generals, Cllr. Kobo Johnson and Cllr. Laveli Supuwood pleaded with Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe to compel Senate Pro Tempore, Albert Chea, and the entire House of Senate to declare the Senate seat in Lofa County vacant.
The petitioners’ lawyers said that the seat in question has been vacant for seven months due to Samukai’s inability to remove his disability penalty following his conviction for theft, which according to them clearly violates Article 37 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
Our Judicial Correspondent further revealed that the petitioners’ lawyers’ application to the Court led to Justice Nagbe citing both parties for a legal conference.
Following his legal conference, the Clerk of the Supreme Court was ordered to issue the Alternative Wirt of Mandamus against Senate Pro Tempore, Albert Chea, and the entire House of Senate surrounding the matter.
Justice Nagbe’s order further instructed the Senate Leadership to file their return on or before October 4, 2021, to show cause while the petitioners’ application should not be granted, consistent with Chapter 16, Section 16.22 (3) of the Civil Procedure Law of Liberia.
In February of this year, the Supreme Court confirmed the Subordinate Court’s conviction verdict against the ex-defense Minister and his two deputies, Joseph Johnson and Nyumah Dorbor for misapplying AFL Soldiers’ pension money and ordered to restitute the Soldiers’ money.
In another development, a group under the banner Friends of Brownie Samukai have petitioned the Press Union of Liberia over the under-representation of the County at the level of the Senate.
The group in the petition statement delivered to PUL President Charles Coffey said Lofa County one of the largest Counties in the Country is underrepresented in the Senate, where debates are ongoing to tackle the many issues confronting the County.
The group said such state of affairs is a violation of the rights of the citizens of Lofa County to full constitutional representation as enshrined in the Constitution which state that each county is represented in the House of Senate by two representatives duly elected by the people as clearly spelled out in Article 45.
The Friends of Brownie Samukai in the petition further that the National Elections Commission, the constitutionally independent structure of the government charged with exercising the laws governing Liberia elections issued the list of qualified candidates to the people of Lofa County to stand for the midterm election of December 2020.
They said the people of Lofa County went to the poll on December 8, 2020, and made a choice, with the National Elections Commission making a public declaration of the election by proclaiming Brownie Samukai as the winner, a decision affirmed by the supreme court of Liberia, but Lofa County is yet to be fully represented in the Liberia Senate.
The Friends of Brownie Samukai in the petition statement delivered to the Press Union of Liberia President said as watchdogs and one of the most important pillars of democracy, the media remains their hope in addressing this injustice and disregard for the aspirations of the people of Lofa.