Liberia: NEC Submits US$1 million Budget to Legislature for Lofa County Senatorial By-election

MONROVIA – The National Elections Commission (NEC) on Friday submitted a budget of one million, nine hundred thirty-four thousand, seven hundred twenty dollars and 80 cents to the National Legislature for the conduct of the Lofa County senatorial by-election.

This follows the 16 February 2022 notification to the NEC of the existence of a vacancy in the Liberian Senate for a seat for Lofa County.

The Commission has scheduled the by-election for May 10, 2022.

The Commission is acting upon the notification of a vacancy in the Senate pursuant to Article 37 which states “that in the event of a vacancy in the Legislature, caused by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days notify the National Elections Commission thereof.

 “The National Elections Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter cause a by election to be held; provided that where such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the holding of general elections, the filling of the vacancy shall await the holding of such general elections”.   

Meanwhile, a Steering Committee for the Lofa senatorial by-election has been setup to coordinate activities of the by-election.

Commissioner Ernestine Morgan Awar will head the Lofa senatorial by-election steering committee.

The former Minister of Defense had faced hurdle in taking his seat as Lofa County’s senator-elect after the Supreme Court halted his certification by the National Election Commission (NEC).

The nation’s highest court’s decision against Samukai, of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), was trigged by a Writ of Prohibition filed March 2,2021, by O’Neil Passewe, chair of the Movement for Progressive Change.

Passewe asked the court to halt the certification of Samukai because he has been convicted by the Supreme Court for the crime of money laundering. Associate Justice Joseph N. Nagbe, who issued the writ, has planned a conference in the justice chambers for 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, 2021, to discuss the case.

Samukai received the most votes in the December 8, 2020 special senatorial election. Of the 11 candidates who vied for the Lofa County senatorial seat, Samukai received 20, 431 votes, followed by independent candidate Cllr. Joseph Jallah with 13,968 votes. Samukai has experienced mixed rulings with the Supreme Court since he won the senatorial seat in Lofa.

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