Home Governance UP Withdraws Case Against Speaker Koffa

UP Withdraws Case Against Speaker Koffa

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By: Frank P. Martin

MONROVIA: Unity Party (UP), of President-elect, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, yesterday withdrew its petition for Declaratory Judgment against the newly elected Speaker of the 55th Legislature, Cllr. Jonathon Fonati Koffa.

In a petition proffered before the Sixth Judicial Civil Law Court of Montserrado County yesterday, January 17, 2024, the party, through its Lawyers including Cllrs. Benedict K. Sagbeh, Neto Z. Lighe, Moiffle Kanneh, and J. Cole Bangalu, UP prayed for withdrawal of the case against Speaker Koffa, who is also top official of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

“Mr. Clerk, you will please take judicial notice and spread upon the records of this Honorable Court that Petition in the above-entitled cause of action, has on this day and date withdrew its Petition for Declaration Judgment with reservation,” the UP prayed before the Court.

Yesterday’s petition by the UP followed its previous petition for a declaratory judgment to the Civil Law Court, challenging the Liberian nationality of the newly elected Speaker of the 55th Legislature, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa.

The party, in its previous petition, contended that Rep. Koffa is ineligible for the House Speakership due to claims that he holds United States (US) citizenship.

The previous petition which was filed by the Unity Party (UP), through its National Chairman, Rev. J. Luther Tarpeh; and National Secretary-General, Amos Tweh, asserted that Cllr. Koffa’s election as the Representative of Electoral District #2 of Grand Kru County should be nullified based on his alleged failure to comply with Article 4 Section 1 of the Act To Amend And / Or Nullify Certain Provisions of The Aliens and Nationality Law Relating To Citizenship.

According to the Unity Party, Cllr. Koffa allegedly misrepresented his citizenship status during the October 10, 2023, Presidential and Legislative elections.

At the time, the Unity Party claimed that Cllr. Koffa failed to renounce his alleged United States citizenship at least one year before applying to the National Elections Commission, as required by law.

The Unity Party’s legal team pleaded with the court through their petition that Cllr. Koffa’s certification should be nullified, and he should subsequently be disqualified as a member of the 55th Legislature.
The Alien and Nationality Law of 1973 stipulates that the Attorney General is charged with the duty of administering the provisions of all laws relating to immigration and naturalization and shall have full power to accomplish effectively its aims and objectives, except that the Secretary of State [Foreign Minister] shall be charged with the administration and enforcement of the provisions of this title relating to the powers, duties, and functions of diplomatic and consular officers, and shall perform such other duties as are expressly assigned to him by this title.
In 2019, the Liberian Supreme Court ruled that the statutory provision for automatic loss of Liberian citizenship in case of acquisition of another citizenship was unconstitutional.
“…Section 22.2 of the Aliens and Nationality Law, to the extent that it provides for the loss of citizenship solely on account of the performance by a citizen of acts or fulfillment of the conditions specified in Section 22.1 without the institution by the Government of any proceedings to nullify or cancel citizenship in violation of the due process clause under Article 209(a) of the 1986 Constitution, is hereby null and void without any force and effect of law,” the Supreme Court ruled in the Teage Jalloh Vs. The Government of Liberia in September 2019 when he challenged the Liberian Embassy in Washington for denying him a Liberian passport.

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