Temple of Justice-October 1, 2021-WTVNEWS: Less than a month after J. Brownie Samukai was denied taking seat as senator elect of Lofa County due to his disability, some Lofians who participated in the December 8, 2020 special senatorial election in the county have filed a petition before the Justice-in-Chamber of the Supreme Court to declared the seat vacant.
In the petition filed, Vamuyan M. Kenneh, Kesselle Gayflor, Sengbe T. Kamala, Sumor Sannoh are pleading with Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe to issue an alternative writ of Mandamus on the House of Senate to rendered Samukai’s seat vacant and communicate with the National Elections Commission (NEC) to conduct a by-election to fill in the vacancy.
A writ of Mandamus is a court order compelling someone to execute a duty that they are legally obligated to complete.
They contended that since Samukai was declared winner, the County is yet to be represented in the Senate based on series of setbacks caused by the senator-elect as such, a by-election should be conducted so that the people of Lofa voice can be heard.
Based on that request, Justice Joseph N. Nagbe has issued an alternative writ of mandamus commanding Albert T. Chie, Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate and the entire House of Senate to filed their return on Thursday, October 4, 2021 at the hour of 9:00 am to show cause why the petitioners petition as prayed for should not be granted.
On August 20, 2021, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, Justice Yuoh andYussif Kaba also instructed the NEC not to certificate Brownie J. Samukai who was elected Senator for Lofa County during the Special Senatorial Election conducted on December 8, 2020, until the disability imposed on him by the court as a result of his conviction for a felony is removed.
According to the ruling, Samukai with his two former deputies, Joseph F. Johnson, former Deputy Minister for Administration, and J. Nyumah Dorkor, former Comptroller withdrewUS$1,147,665.35 from the pension fund belonging to soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) without any authorization.
When tried by the court, the court declared guilty verdict of multiple crimes including misuse of private funds and subsequently sentenced to two years in prison each into to restitute the money within a year by the Criminal Court ‘C’ if which the Highest Court confirmed and affirmed.
In the modification, the Supreme Court said it was suspending their prison term on grounds that, if they were to pay fifty percent (50) of the judgment amount of the US$1,147,665.35, which is $573,832.68, within six months period, which expired by August, 26, they would avoid Imprisonment.
Unfortunately, Samukai is the only person among the three who had paid US$173,276.05 against the
fifty percent, as demanded by the judgment of the Supreme Court that suspended the two years of prison term prescribed by the justices, until the fifty is completely paid.