MONROVIA: Counselor Tiawan Saye Gongloe says the defunct rebel group, Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) strongman, and Nimba County Senator, Prince Yeduo Johnson, must be prosecuted by all cost by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
He said there is nothing one can or will do to get Johnson off the hook for not standing trial for killing people and showing no remorse but continued to boast for taking their precious lives.
Gongloe, President of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) comment were contained in his final rest of the alleged fraud and irregularities case before the National Elections Commission (NEC) hearing officer on Saturday, 13 February in Monrovia.
Though, Gongloe was not specific with the date when Johnson would be arrested, charged and arraigned before the court, but said at any moment Liberians in particular, and the world in general, will get the news about Johnson’s arrest.
“General Johnson killed John Bartuah, Edwin Vaye, Edward Gblozou Towah, and many others who are nameable but when the time comes, the world will get to know,” he told reporters Saturday in the premises of the National Elections Commission.
The veteran human rights activist said Johnson divisive politics is not only harming Nimba County in particular, but Liberia and Liberians in general.
“He must and will account for his past as crimes cannot and will never get rotten whenever you committed it and those charges of human rights violations are clear evidence available,” Gongloe noted.
But the LNBA’s boss statement stirred up the audience mainly those supporting the candidature of Jeremiah Kpan Koung of the MDR, and were in the James M. Fromayan Hall in the premises of the National Elections Commission or NEC.
The situation became tense and almost resulted into fist-fight after hearing officer or fact-finder, Counselor Boakai P. Harris, adjourned the summary presentation which lasted for just 2 hours in total as each party both the defense and complainant were allotted an hour.
In NEC’s compound, both young and old mostly those who are supporting CPP’s candidate, Edith Gongloe-Weh on one side, and those supporting candidate Jeremiah Kpan Koung on the other including two elderly women almost went into a physical fight but were restrained by bystanders.
Young people supporting both sides were not left of the confusion at NEC’s premises Saturday as the Commission’s own security guards were called to arrest the situation before it gets out of hand.
General Johnson, according to the True and Reconciliation Commission or TRC findings is being charged with the following crimes: killing, extortion, massacre, destruction of property, force recruitment, assault, abduction, torture, forced labor and rape.
About the electoral process itself in Nimba County, Gongloe and team said Johnson intimidated voters on Election Day by allegedly “wearing military uniform” and his pronouncement of having 150 militants under his control violated section 10.5 of the new electoral law.
Section 10.5 under the Undue Influence states: “Any person who, in connection with any election commits or attempts to commit any of the following acts is guilty of an election offense and punishable by a find of not more than One Thousand ($1, 000. 00) Dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one (1) year or both. Threatens any person or persons, officers, procures, suggests, and uses or caused to be used any violence, or inflicts, or caused to be inflicted any injury, corporal punishment, damages, losses or disadvantage on any person or persons in support of a political party or a candidate; or Publishes by spoken, written, or printed words, or by signing whatever form or any matter intended or tending to prevent any person or persons from free exercise of their franchise or such acts which threaten, or suggest any damage, loss or disadvantage either in the present or in the future, or on account of a political party or his political opinion; or
Publishes or exposes or caused to be published or exposed to public view, at any time between the issuance of an election writ and the close of the poll thereon, any document written or printed, matter containing any untrue statement defamatory of any candidate and calculated to influence the vote of any voter.
In addition to the forgoing penalty, anyone guilty of aforementioned acts shall be disqualified from holding any elective public office in the republic, or from voting in any election held under this law for a period of seven years.”
They said the act of Johnson during electioneering of Tuesday 08 December, 2020, midterm senatorial poll was a violation of the new electoral law, and also benefitted senatorial candidate, Jeremiah Kpan Koung of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction or MDR, organized by Senator Johnson.
Gongloe is the lead counsel for complainant Edith Gongloe-Weh of the Collaborating Political Parties or CPP versus the National Elections Commission, and that of the senatorial candidate, Jeremiah Kpan Koung of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction or MDR for alleged “frauds and irregularities.”
He has been assisted for almost two months during the hearing of the case by two retired Supreme Court’s Chief Justices, Frances Johnson-Allison, and Gloria Musu- Scott.
Other lawyers included Momolu Kandakai, Augustine Fayiah, Kuku Dorbor, Bobby Livingstone, Philip Y. Gongloe and Lawrence Tomah. They been making case for recount of ballots and rerun in some electoral district in Nimba County.
Gongloe-Weh in her complaint, dated Saturday, 12 December, and 16 Wednesday, December, 2020, senatorial candidate for Nimba County in the Special Election held Tuesday, 08 December, complained to the National Elections Commission, through its Upper Nimba Magistrate, Blehdoh Flomo about alleged irregularities and suspected fraud during the electoral process.
The complaint then pointed out concerns that there was exchange of the complainant’s vote count of 137 with 7 votes of candidates Garrison Yealue in the Airfield Zone 2, polling place 2, Sanniquellie City, Electoral District #2 by the data entry personnel.
That 70 votes for candidate Jeremiah Koung from Martha Tubman Campus polling place, Sanniquellie, Electoral District #2, instead of his 37 votes obtained at that polling place.
That there were 11 ballots boxes found with broken seals of the tally Tees and inappropriately placed within the boxes with only copies of those Tees found.
The precincts with these irregularities were 33010, 33080, 33250, and 33069 at this precinct; the tees of two polling places were missing.
Gongloe argument is evidenced of witness #8, Jackson Geugbeh testimonies. Geugbeh testified that while listening to the radio during course of the election Johnson threatened to carry 150 men or militants from Monrovia to Nimba County.
He went further to explain that Senator Johnson actually carried 150 militants to Mahdeaplay to deal with people who went against him and those who did that, one of them was wounded with cutlass.
Geugbeh then displayed a picture of Johnson wearing a militant outfit and carrying 150 men which got residents in their community afraid and did not go to vote. In his presence, he said an elder was quoted to have said if anybody not fears Prince Johnson should go and vote.
“This is the actual photo I sent with Prince Johnson in military uniform in military outfit gearing to militarize the election that was held as well as the young man who falls prey to Johnson military gangs,” Geugbeh testimonies stated.
Meanwhile, NEC’s hearing officer or fact-finder, Counselor Boakai P. Harris, has reserved ruling as notice will be issue to both as to when the final ruling will be made.