Despite publicly defending her action of spending over US$1,909,876.50 to provide 200 vehicles for the Voters Roll-Update process, the Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) Jerome G. Korkoya has openly bowed to pressure coming from the Legislature. Cllr. Korkoya apologized yesterday in open session after it was discovered that all of his prior legal defence statics employed were faulty to constitutional requirement, and as such, further damaged his quest to defeat the Legislature as he (Korkoya) claimed to be a “professional lawyer”. Korkoya clearly admitted that his assertions that “there is separation of power” neglecting legislative oversight, was “unpleasant and he takes responsibility.” The NEC was invited based on claims by the Legislature that the Commission did not have any legal instrument to finalize the agreement. Cllr. Korkoya made an earlier assertion to members of the House of Representatives inquiry on providing in-depth information on the contract— a copy of which was provided by the Chairman and submitted in the absence of the Ministers of Finance and Justice’s signatures. He said: The demand violates the doctrine of separation of powers, it amounts to undue interference into the Commission’s constitutional and statutory functions, and has the propensity to erode and compromise the independence, neutrality, and autonomy of the Commission, contrary to the expression of the Constitution and New Elections Law of Liberia. “As you may be aware Madam Chief Clerk of the House, the Commission was established by the Constitution as an autonomous agency, and is by statue, independent of any of the branches of government. The Commission wishes to state that it remains committed to accounting for resources entrusted to it as an electoral management body. In view of foregoing Madam Chief Clerk, we respectfully inform the Joint Committee that the Commission is legally unable to comply with its request.” After said response was read from the NEC, lawmakers attempted asking the Commission further questions about previous comments made on the radio about legality. The NEC boss— who appeared in chambers with joy and enthusiasm— eventually became silent, and eventually apologized to lawmakers because he previously defied their legality over his institution. Based on his open apology and in the spirit of cooperation in government, Speaker J. Alex Tyler said, “Cllr. Korkoya you are discharged, go on and sin no more.” The Commission was later fined over four thousands Liberian Dollars and ordered to write an open apology letter to the Legislature through the use of the mediums of radio stations and internet used by the Commission to earlier denigrate the Legislature. Montserrado County lawmaker Munah Youngblood’s motion to dismiss Cllr. Korkoya from the witness stand further enhanced the capacity of the Public Accounts and Judiciary committees of the House to investigate reasons behind the agreement.
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